Saturday 29 October 2016

Fish Tug JAMES D

Soon after watching the upbound 730' ALGOMA TRANSPORT rise up and then exit the Welland Canal's Lock 7 from our balcony at The Inn at Lock Seven on the evening of September 18th, I sent a note to fellow boat watcher and my go-to-guy for Great Lakes commercial fishing info, Shaun Vary, that though we were on our way to the blue waters of the St. Clair River, my wife Janie and I had planned to visit Port Dover the next day. Shaun said that the trawlers were pretty much finished for the year, but if we're in Port Dover by around 2 pm, I might be able to snap a boat or two coming in after their day of fishing pickerel on Long Point Bay.

Well Shaun was almost dead on the mark because soon after we arrived along the pier of the Lake Erie port at about 1 o'clock, in came the fish tugs. First in was a beauty of a boat, the 70' JAMES D. which was built by in 1957 by the master boat builder, Ralph Hurley of Port Burwell for Lionel Hurley and Jim MacDonald of Ferroclad Fishery at Mamainse Harbour on Lake Superior.

Run by Captain Jim, the JAMES D was one of the first to respond to the search call when the 729' EDMUND FITZGERALD went down during a severe storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. During her effort in the search, JAMES D recovered a lifeboat and other wreckage, and though we all know now that there were no survivors when the huge American ore carrier sank, I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for the fish tug's crew when they came across the floundering lifeboat with no one on board. As pointed out by Shaun, it's easy to understand why the JAMES D is considered the most admired Great Lakes fish tug of all times.

Currently JAMES D is owned by Dave Ryerse of Port Dover's Lynn-Dover Foods and run by Eric Ryerse. Also coming in off the bay were the fish tugs COSLEY BROS and BB MILLER and the gas-well rigs tug ANDREA MARIE. Each will be featured soon in an upcoming Carlz Fish'n Ships.
Meanwhile, my last posting about the former fish tug, SLO-MOE has been very popular with over 650 page views to date from all over the world. Oh YAAA!!  c):-o I also received some wonderful comments on the Facebook group "Great Lakes Fish Tugs ( from Clancy Fuller who worked on the SLO-MOE in Kingsville in the 60's and Robert LaBlance who worked on her in the 80's for Captain Fats. I've also updated the post with a photo of the now-named SILT-PRINCE motoring out of Port Burwell. The pic was submitted by her current skipper, Ryan Dougherty and taken by SILT-PRINCE's owner, Mike Scruton. Check it our now: And thank you again Shaun Vary for your input. It was greatly appreciated as always. c):-D

1 comment:

  1. Having been there and driven past countless times, I knew immediately the location of Ferroclad Fishery when you mentioned it. James D. is certainly an impressive fish tug.