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Thread: Brunswick County Shrimp Boat

  1. #1
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    Spent the weekend at our place at Holden Beach, NC, and ran across this. It's the first shrimp boat I've known to be built in the area in about 5 years. Our place is across the ICW from what used to be the Varnum boatyard and the Bellamy boatyard. Back in the '60's and '70's the were building 3-4 boats a year. The yards are no longer there. There's a restaurant where one was and a drydock where the other one was. When I was growing up, back in the '70's, we used to see the boats slowly take shape. The sounds of the table saws and electric planers are something I'll never forget. Occasionally, when we were lucky, we'd be there on a launch day. Those days tapered off in the late '70's, and by the mid-'80's both yards were closed.

    I really wish WB would do a story on the Brunswick County shrimpers and their boats.

    I don't know anything about this particular boat - who built it, who it was built for, if it will remain in the area, etc. Enjoy the photos.








  2. #2
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    When I was a kid in Brunswick, GA I always looked forward to the annual Blessing of the Fleet, where we always got to go out as an owner's guest aboard a boat very similar to that one. Getting to take the helm at age 10, standing on a milk crate, is a fond memory.

  3. #3
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    Well, if they did a story on shrimp boats, they better include the northern Gulf Coast and Louisiana bayou fleets too.

  4. #4
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    I get the feeling that the shrip fleet is just hanging on here. No incentive for new boats. The contractor that rebuilt our house after a fire apprenticed years earlier to two grumpy old uncles who built shrimp boats in Darien, GA. There is still a small fleet there too.

  5. #5
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    Fine looking specimens they are. I just love workboats. Draggers aand trollers are favorites also.
    You may wait a long time for a story though, you might try writing it yourself and see if they would run it for you .

  6. #6
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    Great South Bay, Long Island, NY
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    That's a gorgeous boat! Thanks for the pics.

  7. #7

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  8. #8
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    Thought I'd post a few more photos of the Holden Beach Shrimping fleet.


    Going down the ICW with outriggers lowered.


    And finally, heading out at night.


    Again, enjoy.

  9. #9
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    Wooooah!!!

    Ask and ye shall receive! I got my new issue of WB, and guess what? There's an article titled Shrimp boats of the Southeast.

    Okay, now I wish I had a million dollars!

  10. #10
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    They were reading our minds!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for those pics, Junky. When I was a little feller we lived in Shallotte where my Papa had a sporting goods store named Barnacle Phil's (glorified bait shop ). His only employee was a lady named Varnum who was married to Billy Varnum. Billy and his dad, Weston, built a bunch of wonderful shrimp boats in those days, and I used to love hanging around their yard watching 'em work.

    Years later, Billy's son built a restaurant at the yard; that may be the one that's there now.

    Glad to learn that someone's building again! I wish I could commission a custom built Varnum style boat for myself, as a pleasure trawler. I'd rather have that than a Grand Banks!

    Thanks again,
    JT

    [ 04-23-2004, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: High C ]

  12. #12
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    Now THERE'S a nice liveaboard. Anybody want to buy a house in Connecticut and everything in it?

  13. #13
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    High C

    Our place is right across the ICW from Billy Varnum's former boat yard. The restaurant they built is called Betty's Waterfront Restaurant, and it's about 100 yds from where that shrimpboat sits. Good eatin'!

    I was a bit disappointed in the article once I read it. The only mention of North Carolina was the caption on one photo. Plus the article concentrated more on the shrimping industry and economics, and just one particular boatbuilder.

    There's a book called The Carolina Watermen which is all about the Brunswick County shrimp boat builders and the shrimping industry in that area. If you can find it, it's a good read. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  14. #14
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    ....once all the shrimpers go out of business the rest of the fishes will take a drastic upturn in size and number...shrimping by net trawling has ruined many a fishery and is on the way to wrecking many more......I say good riddance to em....

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Skiff Junkie:
    High C

    Our place is right across the ICW from Billy Varnum's former boat yard. The restaurant they built is called Betty's Waterfront Restaurant, and it's about 100 yds from where that shrimpboat sits. Good eatin'!
    Yep, it was Betty Varnum that worked for my Pop at Barnacle Phil's. We had a family beach cottage on Holden's, just to the east of the bridge on the ocean, and I'd walk accross the street to Van Werry's grocery for supplies. My Pop grew up with some of the Holden kids in the '30s.

    I have the Watermen book you mentioned, it's great.

    I'll have to get up that way for a visit soon...
    Thanks

  16. #16
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    I just read the shrimp boat article. Cool.

    Last year I was fishing about forty miles south of Orange Beach, Alabama. We were casting light tackle to kings that were schooling around an anchored shrimp boat. I guess everyone on the boat was sleeping, it was midday. Eventually an Oriental man who spoke no English came on deck, and after waving high pointed at my Budweiser. I threw him a couple of beers and he went below. He came back up about 5 minutes later and handed us about 20 pounds of the biggest Ruby Reds I have ever seen. [img]smile.gif[/img]

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