“This is life here,” she says. “My father-in-law, it started with his mom and dad
opening a tackle shop. He’s been around it his whole life. A lot of them have grown
up with each other. There’s a lot of families.”
There are no family feuds here. Cooperation, not competition, characterizes
shrimping in Sneads Ferry.
“We kind of work together,” Mitchell says. “The boats converse when they’re
out there. We try to help each other out. Everything is good.”
Boats are named after wives and children, and passed down from father to son.
Buddy Davis built the William Michael, a 60-foot wooden trawler, in 1968 and
named it after his two oldest sons. The Barbara Joe, Stevie’s boat, is named after
two of Buddy’s children.
Liston Norris runs the Linda Ann, handed down from his father, John.
“The original builder, it was named after his wife and my dad’s partner’s wife,”
he says. “That’s the only name that boat has had since it was built. I always tried
to get him to change the name. It’s bad luck to change the name of a boat, he
says. So it’s always been named that. I grew up on that boat, since I was 5 years
John Norris is one of the few first-generation shrimpers in Sneads Ferry.
“We moved from Pender County. I was born up there,” he says. “We lived on
farms until I was 13 years old. I’ve cropped tobacco, plowed with a mule. We
moved to Sneads Ferry in August of 1957. I told my parents, I’m through with
farming. No more. Never.”
He learned shrimping by picking up jobs on boats in the summer. He was
working in the warehouse for a paper company when he got married in ’66, but
quit to run his own boat.
“I told my wife, I don’t ever intend to do anything else but fish,” he says.
Brent Baily offloads shrimp from the
Elaina May in July. The Charlee Marie
docked in the mouth of Wheeler Creek.
WBM august 2018