Captain’s Spotlight: Floyd Gibbs, Engelhard, NC
Captain Floyd L. Gibbs
F/V Lady Amie
I am a third-generation commercial fisherman from Engelhard NC.
Like most fishermen, my love for the water started at a young age, by the age of 4 or 5. I started shrimping with my dad on his 40-foot trawler called the F/V Nubbin. By age 11, my dad let me use a 21-foot Seahawk to fish crab pots, a total of 40 pots. As I was growing up, I always worked summers with my dad on his 48-foot boat, F/V Papas girl. It was great! I worked all summer long. I had spending money in my pocket and money saved in the bank. I was able to buy everything I needed for school and then some.
Shrimping had gotten so bad that we started scalloping. During this time we purchased the boat that is now mine, the F/V Lady Amie. She is a 51-foot Harker’s Island trawler that I’ve been running since 2009. Before me, my brother ran her. My brother did really well shrimping, scalloping, and smooth dog shark fishing with the boat, but a time came when he decided that the water wasn’t the career path for him, so I asked my dad if I could run the boat. After a small amount of struggling with him, he finally agreed. I ran the boat for him until 2014, at which point I obtained possession of the vessel.
The commercial fishing career path is a brutal road to go down. You’re up one day and down the next, and it’s not any easier for your family. My wife of 10 years and my daughter can testify to that. Catching seafood and taking care of the catch so that people can have high-quality seafood to enjoy is one of the most gratifying things. If I had to give advice to someone trying to get into commercial fishing, I would have to tell them: become a deck hand, pay close attention and anytime you have an opportunity to learn something, do it. I used to ask my father, “When can I run the boat?” and he would always reply, “You have to learn to work the deck before you can work the cabin”. To this day I learn something new every trip I make.