Tag Archives: Wheatley

Aboard the Lake Erie Fishing Tug Lady Anna II (Part 5)

“The challenge to make money. If you don’t catch fish, you don’t make money. Fun’s not the word. I just enjoy it; it’s a challenging and rewarding job. There’s good days and bad days. There’s a different outcome every day.” Mike Mummery, captain of Lady Anna II, responding to the question: “What do you like best about commercial fishing?” I ask Captain Mummery what worries him most about the commercial fishing industry. Eyes glued to the horizon, he replies: “The cost of everything. Everything’s gone up. There’s no stability. Profit margins have gone down. The cost of diesel has doubled. Everything’s made of oil, even the nets. Hopefully, it stays good for the established guys. But it’s tough for somebody to get into the business. Just a license costs a million dollars now. That’s almost impossible for the normal guy to do. The well-established guys may stay in; you have to be well established.” >click to read< 09:20

Aboard the Lake Erie fishing tug Lady Anna II (Part 4)

It’s 7 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. The Lady Anna II is about 10 miles due south of Kingsville heading north-by-northwest, and home. It’s all hands at the starboard midship “picking” station. The crew – Craig Adamson, James “Marty” Martin, Curtis Mummery and Josh Mummery – carefully remove the 2,000 pounds of pickerel from the nets hauled aboard one hour and 20 minutes ago. The first “set,” and all the hawk-like attention it requires of Captain Mummery, is done. So I take a chance, and walk up the two steps into the wheelhouse. Captain Mummery stands motionless, eyes glued to the horizon, snacking on brunch – a chocolate chip cookie. Laughing quietly, he tells me, “I always have chocolate chip cookies in my pail. It’s a bad day if I don’t have my chocolate chip cookies.” And then he tells me that even though the Lady Anna II is pointed toward home, the work is only half finished. Another “pull” and set will be done before getting back to Kingsville. >click to read< 08:25

Inland Fisheries: ‘It’s in the blood’ for Lake Erie commercial fishermen

It’s about 6:25 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29 on the pitch-black calm of Lake Erie. The Lady Anna II is pointed due south, about 10 miles due south of Kingsville and five miles northwest of the north shore of Pelee Island. In the wheelhouse, Captain Mike Mummery has slowed the Lady Anna II to a one-knot crawl. Craig Adamson and Josh Mummery are at the starboard midship “picking” station, removing 2,000 pounds of pickerel from the more than one-third of a mile of net hauled aboard just 35 minutes ago. James “Marty” Martin and Curtis Mummery stand by at the open sliding doors of the port stern hatch. “Marty” is facing the stern, just forward of the “roller”; a metal spool mounted vertically on a metal pole. At his feet are boxes loaded-up with 160-yard-long sections of empty, clean net. The end of one of those boxes of net is draped over the roller, towards the stern. > Click to read < 10:53

Aboard the Lake Erie fishing tug Lady Anna II (Part 2)

At the end of Part 1 it was 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29. The Lady Anna II was about five miles due south of Kingsville in 35 feet of 35-degree Fahrenheit Lake Erie water. Captain Mike Mummery had just slowed the Lady Anna II to a crawl. Curtis Mummery and James “Marty” Martin were standing-by in the port bow door, searching – in the white-lightning glare of Lady Anna II’s LED masthead light – for the flagged marker buoy that marked one end of a 640-yard-long (yes, that’s more than a one-third mile) “strap” of gill net. The first “pull” of the day was about to start. >click to read<

Aboard the Lake Erie fishing tug Lady Anna II (Part 1), >click to read<

Commercial fishing out of Wheatley Harbour is like ‘farming on the water’ >click to read< 15:08

Aboard the Lake Erie fishing tug Lady Anna II (Part 1)

It’s 4:35 a.m. in the early-morning pitch-black of Tuesday, March 29, at the edge of Kingsville harbour on the north shore of Lake Erie. The wind whistles in from the north. The thermometer in my truck reads -5°C. It feels more like -20°C. Tied to the dock on the glassy-calm waters of the harbour is the Lady Anna II. I already feel cold. Gazing at the Lady Anna II makes me feel even colder. I imagine that inside must feel like being in a tin can in a freezer turned to maximum cold. I’m supposed to meet Captain Mike Mummery and his crew at 5 a.m. for a day of fishing – to see what the Lake Erie commercial fishery is really like. And then, at 5:05 a.m., a white pickup truck roars up to dock-side and out pour the captain and his crew: Craig Adamson of Leamington, and James “Marty” Martin, Curtis Mummery and Josh Mummery, all of Wheatley. They all are all business.  >click to read< 09:46

Commercial fishing out of Wheatley Harbour is like ‘farming on the water’

On a foggy March 9, I followed the 15-mile-long County Rd. 1, the Wheatley Road, due south from Tilbury. Except for two bends, that skinny ribbon of two-lane asphalt shoots arrow-straight and pancake-flat across the see-forever farmlands connecting Tilbury to Lake Erie’s north shore and to Wheatley, the world’s largest commercial, freshwater fishing port. So it was with Lady Anna II. I heard the low purr of a slow-turning diesel engine before I saw her. When I first spotted her, she looked like a small, grey box suspended over Lake Erie. And, before I knew it, her bow slicing the glassy-smooth water at a cruising speed of nine knots, Lady Anna II was at the mouth of Wheatley Harbour. >click to read< 22:00

Coronavirus devastating commercial fishing industry

Lifelong commercial fisherman Mark Weaver had anticipated a bumper season for his family-run commercial fishery before the COVID-19 pandemic left the industry almost dead in the water. Now, he and the rest of Ontario’s commercial fishing industry are facing a bleak future that could leave them struggling just to survive. “I don’t know how we’re going to pay the bills,” Weaver said. While Lake Erie would normally be dotted with commercial fishing vessels at this time of year, their boats aren’t leaving the docks in Port Stanley, Wheatley and other Southwestern Ontario ports this spring since there’s nowhere to sell their catch. “It’s a total supply chain challenge and crisis that we’re in,” said Jane Graham, executive director of the Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association. April has been one of the “most productive fishing months of the year,” Graham said. And it looked like this April would have been just as productive, Weaver said. >click to read< 22:01