(Fisher)man’s Best Friend

June 11, 2019

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Almost everyone enjoys the companionship of a dog. Recently I spoke with Eric Knight, a fisherman from Portland, about his dog Novi, a chocolate lab, who hasn’t missed a fishing trip since he was a pup.

“Novi started coming with us straight off, right when he was a pup”, Eric told me. Eric has always brought a dog fishing with him. Before Novi, he had another chocolate lab named Ruegger that he brought along. “One day I left Ruegger at home because it was so cold and after that, he didn’t want to go so much. Novi, on the other hand, wouldn’t miss a fishing trip for anything.”

Eric started fishing when he was just a kid.  At 12 years old, he was hauling traps by hand and after two summers, when he had earned enough money between lobstering and lawn mowing, he got a hauler.  “I got my commercial license at 17 and just kept upgrading boats and traps.  I started in an 18” Seaway.  Then a 22” Eastern, a 25’ T Jason, a 36” Jarvis Newman, and a 40” Wedgeport. Now, I have this beauty, a 44 Calvin Beal,” named after his daughter, Ivy Jean.

For a while both dogs went with him, but now Eric’s other pup stays at home with his wife, Kate-Lyn and young daughter, Ivy Jean while Novi goes fishing with him. Novi sleeps down below on a berth or in his bed in the wheelhouse much of the time. When they are done for the day, he comes up and, in true lab form, searches the deck for any tasty left-over morsels and plays fetch on the boat with anyone who is willing to play.

But fishing with a four-legged friend doesn’t always go so smoothly. Once, Novi fell overboard while fighting a fish. “I told my sternman to dart the fish, then grab the dog. Thankfully he grabbed the dog first, and yes we got the fish!”. “Having a dog aboard is really good for moral,” Eric notes.  “And he loves going with us, he won’t let me leave the house without him, especially if he knows we’re going to haul.”