Sammy Corbett was still in high school when he served as first mate on the Whipsaw, the charter boat run by his friend, Robbie Wolf.
Here, he hauls in an amberjack hooked by Robert Goodman of Rowan County. Corbett brings in a haul of roe mullet in 2015.
“I STARTED FISHING
with my granddaddy Joe
Batton when I was about
5,” he says. “He had two
girls and he always wanted
a son to take fishing. So as soon as I was
old enough to get in the boat, I was in the
boat. My granddaddy loved it. He got me
started, and it just kind of stuck.”
It stuck so well that Corbett became a
legend among local watermen.
“Sammy tells exactly what we’re going to
catch, and we do,” says Wolf, now a charter
boat captain operating out of the dock next
to the Bridge Tender. “I don’t know how he
Corbett started fishing commercially
while still in junior high, when his father
gave him a boat. He helped run Wolf ’s
charter boat while in high school. He’s
fished for grouper, so successfully his
method was outlawed. He helped perfect
a way to fish for sharks until that, too, was
banned. He’s fished offshore and in the
sound, for spots, croakers, mullets, crabs —
just about anything.
“Years ago, he was an offshore fisherman
and a pioneer in a style of grouper fishing
a lot of people do now,” says charter boat
captain Ger Hardin. “They used to use
big, heavy gear on boats that stayed out for
days. He pioneered smaller boats. That was
a big change in the industry.”
Robbie Wolf, Nelson MacRae and Corbett at Seapath Yacht Club with a sailfish caught
in 1978. Wolf and Corbett began fishing together in high school, and remain friends.
WBM july 2017