Paul Herbert | Outdoor Channel
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Paul Herbert

Paul Herbert

First Mate –

“I’ve been doing this my whole life, since I was a baby,” says Herbert, and he’s only half-kidding. “I grew up doing this. My father was a fisherman, and my five brothers do it. My mother does it. It all I know. It’s like growing up on a farm, and knowing about cows. I grew up knowing bluefin. When I was four, my dad used to set me up next to him in a chair while he went harpooning.” While some fishermen go through entire careers without even daring to tackle the mighty bluefin, Herbert caught his first one at the tender age of eight, using a hand line. “It was 1,100 pounds!” he recalls. “They were all that big, in those days. If you caught an 800 pounder, it was small.” It’s been a while since big fish were abundant in the waters off New England, and conservationists are concerned about the species’ future prospects. All the same, the fishing instincts that seemingly are encoded in Herbert’s DNA tell him the 1,000-pounders will return. “ They’re coming back now, it’s just starting,” he believes. “The purse-seiners over in Europe, where for years they didn’t have limits, are chasing away all the big fish. They’re coming over here. The size is getting bigger and bigger each year.” And as a professional fisherman, Herbert says he’d be thrilled to see the bluefin make a major comeback. “If we don’t catch these fish, I don’t eat,” he explains. “This is all I do. That’s why I work every day, and make it count. When you get into the fish, you usually make all your money in a couple of weeks of the season. But you have to go into it thinking that today may be the last day of the season. But I love my job. I’m the best at what I do.”

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