Guy Harvey Magazine

SUM 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 29 of 83

30 | Here on Long Island, in the Bahamas, most of us live by and off the land and sea, one way or another. Children grow up playing in the bush and sea, and as they get a bit older, they help out around the family farm with the critters or the crops. Whenever they have the opportunity, they go out on the boat to catch some fish and "tings" for the pot. Oldtimers make up the majority of the farmers on the island now. For generations, they have grown peas, corn, watermelon, peppers, pumpkin and more. Farming in the Bahamas is not easy. In fact, the Loyalists learned this in the 1400s and 1500s when they attempted to grow cotton and sisal. In the end there was no profit to be made, so the Loyalist farmers left these harsh lands to the African slaves who wished to stay behind and make a new life. The Europeans headed for greener, more profitable pastures in the new world—America! My father-in-law Gabriel "Stephen" Pratt is one of these decedents of Scottish-African mix, a hardy breed of farmer and fisherman of days gone by. They don't make them like Stephen anymore. He completed school to only the 9th grade and took up the building trade, helping to transform this tropical island paradise for tourists to visit. Many of the homes in the Stella Maris Resort and the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort area were born from the sweat and great craftsmanship of this strapping gentlemen of 63 years. When not building, Stephen is on the sea fishing. And when the ocean is rough, he is on his farm working the sandy loam soil and tending to his pigs and sheep. He is an artisanal fisherman of the 21st century, fishing and farming to feed his family and the community and his critters. When we go fishing, there is nothing fancy: a 10-ft. aluminum Jon boat with an 8hp Yamaha outboard engine, some rebar welded on an iron pipe as a grappling anchor and two pieces of driftwood we found on the Northside as oars. We use a mask, fins, snorkel and a Hawaiian sling with free shafted spear rig to hunt grouper, snapper, margate, crawfish (spiny lobster) and conch. Holding his breath, he makes dozens of dives down into the clear blue waters, looking under reefs and in the holes of "dryers," as the locals call them, in search of food for his family. On a good day, he even has some left over to sell and make a few dollars. But his main goal is food for the pot. Once the catch of the day is sorted and cleaned, Stephen will portion up the catch to share with his dive partner and his five daughters and their families. This is how they grew up and it's their tradition and culture. However, in the past 10 years, fishing has not been what it used to be. There

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