There and back with Tommy Porter – Part II

by Brian Robbins

MARBLEHEAD, MA – Our cover story in the January 2016 CFN was veteran fisherman Tommy Porter, sharing tales of growing up in Marblehead, MA; the early days of offshore lobstering on Georges Bank with his brother Manny; his years fishing the Atlantic from one end to the other with the late Bob Brown – the good and the bad, with no punches pulled.

Tommy gutting a swordfish aboard the Hannah Boden. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Porter)

Tommy gutting a swordfish aboard the Hannah Boden. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Porter)

Tommy left home for the first time when he was 14: his mother sent him to the store for a can of tuna fish; he returned a few weeks later (having been to California and back) and handed her a can of tuna fish.

Tommy’s stories will take you from the Grand Banks down to South America; sometimes they’re funny; sometimes they’re grim.

But that’s life – and Tommy Porter’s lived a lot of life in his 66 years.

When we last sat down with Tommy, he was lobstering out of Gloucester with his 38′ Susan & Kimberly, splitting his weeks up between “the old homestead” in Marblehead and a home that he and his wife Susan bought up in Maine.

Since then, Tommy’s shortened his commute: he’s currently lobstering with Andrew Gove out of Stonington, ME.  Andrew, whom you may know from the Maine lobster boat race circuit as the skipper of Uncle’s UFO, turns 86 this year.

“Hey – you’re back to being the youngest guy on the boat,” says Tommy’s grandson Benjamin.

“Don’t be a wiseass,” says Tommy.

We’ve had a lot of response from readers since that feature ran – and most folks have asked, “When are you going to sit down with Tommy again?”

So we did.



In our first conversation with Tommy, he told us about lobstering on Georges Bank with his brother Manny on the 50′ wooden Donna Marie – “A hell of a boat” – built by Benny Beal up in Maine.  We sat in on that horrible night when the Donna almost sank in a no’theast snowstorm: “That night it was three of us in a wet …



To get the rest of this story and much more – you’ll need the MAY 2016 issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

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