This month The First Coast joined us for our Fisherman Friday interview. The First Coast is “a mobile studio/exhibition space that will travel to year-round coastal communities in Maine during the off-season. Through collaborations and workshops, residents will engage in conversation about their community’s working maritime identity and personal perspective of place.” So, if you enjoy reading this blog, you can look forward to hearing Leroy speak his story with The First Coast! Follow the Airstream as The First Coast makes its way along the coast of Maine! Additional thanks to Jenny Nelson of Wylde Photography for taking gorgeous photos throughout the interview!
Leroy Weed Sr has been fishing for the last 68 years, since he was just eight years old. He used to go out lobstering as a boy with his father on a 16’ peapod and they’d row all day, or occasionally sail around Deer Isle, hand-hauling 80-100 half-round wooden traps. In those days, they’d find an old telephone poll and fashion new buoys, using a broom handle as a spindle and a glass bottle as a float. Nothing was synthetic, basically everything was handmade, and you were lucky if you got a “cold bean sandwich on a homemade biscuit” said Leroy.
Over the years, Leroy went clamming, harvested seaweed, and raked mussels in addition to lobstering (as well as plenty of caretaking). “Raking mussels put my daughter through college” Leroy recalled.
Leroy’s first boat was a 20’ Oregon Dory with a square stern and low sides, 8’ in width with a 40-horsepower outboard. Next came the first F/V: Jacob Lewis, a 28’ wooden hull built by Gardner Gross. After 8 years, then came the second F/V: Jacob Lewis, a 32’ fiberglass boat that Leroy bought from his son, Leroy Weed Jr.
These days Leroy can be found on F/V: Endurance, named so because he’s survived two heart attacks, and wants to keep going, fishing included.
Over the years, Leroy has used his lobster license for more than just lobstering, he’s used his boat, license and gear as an educational opportunity. He’s taken many groups of kids and adults out to haul gear, explain the laws, and experience the industry first hand. Piles of handwritten ‘thank yous’ show how much the experience meant to so many!
If you know Leroy, you know he manages to mix some humor in amongst the work!
When asked if Leroy likes to eat lobster, he responded, “occasionally” and he’s not too fussy about how it’s prepared either. Growing up one out of 10 children, he learned to not be too picky! His family hails from Little Deer Isle, and before that from Nova Scotia. Now Leroy lives in Oceanville with his wife of 55 years, Dorothy, in the very home that he grew up in!
He was kind enough to show us around his shop as well.
Overall, when it comes to fishing Leroy believes “there’s smart and dumb.” Smart means you fish every day possible, work hard, save your money, and respect the sea. Dumb means you slack off and find yourself broke in the winter.
Beyond working hard, “there’s a rule in fishin’ and that is that you mind your own business” chuckled Leroy. He loves being his own boss, being “outside doing what you like, hopefully making a living.”
Additional thanks to Leroy Sr for making time for our interview and providing photos from his archive and to Jenny Nelson for photographing throughout the interview. Follow the magic that is Coastal Maine heritage, and enjoy more beautiful photographs, by following the journey of The First Coast on social media!