Carroll Staples

Many Maine lobstermen have some family connection to fishing. For Carroll Staples, that family tie runs particularly deep. Carroll hails from Swan’s Island, where he’s lived his entire life. His father is a fisherman, as was his grandfather and his great-grandfather.  This lineage in and of itself is not unique but what does stand apart is that Carroll’s mother has worked alongside his father aboard the family’s boat.  For Carroll, this meant that he and his sister were on their parents’ boat from a very young age.  When his parents were gillnetting, which requires longer trips offshore, he and his sister were there, living aboard with them.  To say that Carroll was born into fishing only begins to tell the story.

“When I was very young, I was sure I wanted to be a lobsterman, and then there was a time I thought maybe I didn’t, but I realized at some point being a fisherman was who I was and what I wanted to be. I can’t imagine another life,” said Carroll.  At age 13, he came off his parents’ boat and went straight into a 22’ skiff called Small Fortune.

For a number of years Carroll’s wife, Lindsay, was his sternman. “She was the best sternman I ever had,” Carroll notes wistfully.  “But when we started having kids, she came off the boat.”  They have three kids now, ages 10, 8 and 5. “It’s a busy household,” Carroll reflects.  The kids attend the Swan’s Island Elementary School and this summer will be fishing out of their own skiff, “they’re pretty excited!”

His favorite way to eat lobster? “We’ve had it so many ways over the years. Lobster pizza with an Alfredo sauce is incredible, lobster nachos is also really good.  But the way we eat it most of the time is steamed.”

Name of his boat? Age Quod Agis which is Latin for “Do What You do Best.”  “Most guys when they call on the radio just call ‘Staples ledge Fisheries’ which is the name of the company, it’s a little easier to pronounce!”

Scariest moment on the water: “When we were gillnetting, and I was just a little kid, we hauled aboard a 5 foot shark, that was still alive.  We thought it was dead, but turned out to be very much alive.  It was something to see my father holding that shark up,” Carroll recalls.  As an adult, he once got caught in the line as he was setting traps, and it hauled him down to the stern of his boat.  “That’s a terrifying feeling.”

What he likes best about what he does? “The freedom to do what I want.  And the challenge that fishing holds.  I love both things in equal measure.”