National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

If you're lucky, you find your passion for what you want to do in life at an early age. I think a lot of fishermen are lucky that way. Tyler Bourg, the subject of our August cover story that starts on page 24, is lucky that way, too. 

Tyler, 11, fishes for shrimp out of Dulac, La., aboard a 28-foot boat that's named after him — the Lil T. It's his boat in all but the title; boat payments come out of his share of the shrimping proceeds he's earning.

NF August14 TylerBourgYoungShrimper300pxHe can't operate the vessel solo yet; his dad, Kyle, a part-time shrimper, accompanies him on shrimping trips and Tyler's mom, Mitzi, often does, too. Nor can Tyler have a gear license in his name until he's 18.

But Tyler lets you know in no uncertain terms that he is very clear on his identity.

"I am a shrimper," he told NF correspondent John DeSantis, senior staff writer at the Tri-Parish Times in Houma, La. "The boat never leaves without me on it, and I am the one driving it the most."

Tyler's story is one that will resonate with fishermen's sons in Louisiana and all around the country. Almost as soon as he could walk, he was on a shrimp boat. His earliest shrimping memories were made aboard his grandfather's 50-foot wooden trawler. Those trips hooked him on fishing. Now he's mapped out his whole fishing life.

Time was you could find plenty of Tylers working on their family boats and learning the fishing ropes. But a combination of devastating hurricanes, the massive Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and a flood of imported shrimp that over the years have depressed dock prices may have made Louisiana fishermen more reluctant to encourage their children to follow in their footsteps.

Perhaps so. But I also think there will always be youngsters like Tyler, who will be bitten hard by the fishing bug. Even at 11, Tyler knows factors like fuel costs and fluctuating global markets can make the shrimping life a tough one.

But he's a young man with a plan and a passion for shrimping. My money is on Tyler and all the other future fishermen out there like him. He's lucky. He's already found his passion for what he wants to do in his life.

 

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