Our State: A Day in the Life of a North Carolina Fisherman


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Written by Bob McBride

Photograph by Daniel Pullen


It’s 6:03 a.m., and October’s first light casts a pinkish-orange glow over Pamlico Sound. Dockside, 65-year-old Bob McBride greets two helpers before the three steps aboard John 3:16, his 25-foot fiberglass fishing boat. For the next 45 minutes, the fishermen motor east across the Pamlico Sound until they reach an outcropping of wooden stakes rising from the water. The stakes support a series of nets, and McBride navigates his boat into the center.

He worries that many U.S. consumers are disconnected from the source of their food — and worse, that they perceive fishers as people who don’t care about the environment.

But McBride says nothing could be further from the truth. “I’ve seen things that very few people have ever seen. I’ve seen storms come up and go away. I’ve seen rainbows light up the sky that are so brilliant they look like they’re falling in your nets. I’ve seen birds flying and fish swimming, all kinds of critters,” he says. “I haven’t made the most money but certainly I’ve fed a lot of people. I feel so blessed to have done what I’ve done.”

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