Books about fishing or fishing boats

martin johns
15th October 2006, 21:39
Christmas is "just around the corner" as they say & i'm sure i'm not the only person that is more than happy if Father Christmas leaves me a book about fishing or fishing boats.

Due to the "limited interest" that such books have they are often not available on the high street & may have to be bought direct from the publishers or off the internet so their availablity is not well known. This could be the ideal place to make them known to their target readership.

I'll kick off if I may by suggesting the annual publication, Fishing Boats of Britian & Ireland which seems to get better each year with more detailed boat lists & interesting articles on different fisheries & ports etc.

Another excellent book is "The Purse Seiners" by Sam Henderson and Peter Drummond which very well researched & has detailed information on the history of every purse seiner that has been on the UK register. It is rather pricey but anyone who is interested in this type of boat would not be disappointed.

Anyone else got any more suggestions ?

wully farquhar
15th October 2006, 22:59
Eye on the Coast by Gloria Wilson, Herring Drifters and the Prunier Trophy by Malcolm White,I heard that the authors of the Purse Sieners are coming out with a book on all the fishing vessels that were built at Campbeltown Shipyard,one to keep an eye for.

16th October 2006, 00:01
Hi Martin
How about Royal Navy Trawlers (2 part work) by Gerald Toghill. I have a copy and found it interesting.
It is available from Maritime Books, in Liskeard, Cornwall.
web Site:
Happy reading

16th October 2006, 21:39
Anyone know if the book Shooting the Net (Michael Charman & George Behrent)is out yet , It's a Maritime Heritage publication about fishing from way back up to modern times,

Slainte Billy

16th October 2006, 22:17
I tend to keep an eye on Ebay for older and out of print books like the copy of The Skipper that I picked up recently, and what a great read it was!

Apparently it's the accompanying book for a TV series in the early 90's by the same name, and is written by the Skipper (Roger Nowell) of the Newlyn beam trawler, William Sampson Stevenson, on which the series was filmed.

It's only 208 pages long, but features lots of good colour photos and is described inside the jacket as follows:

A swimming gorilla, a test-tube of mustard gas and a lost nose, along with storm force winds and shipwrecks have all played their part in Roger Nowell's thirty years at sea.
As the skipper of the trawler William Sampson Stevenson from Newlyn in Cornwall, Roger's roguish attitudes have brought him to the edge of the law on many occasions, while his seamanship has earned the respect of fellow skippers throughout the country.
In this log, he describes the adventures, accidents and emotions encountered during one year of fishing, along with anecdotes drawn from a lifetime at sea. It's the gritty truth about a tough life, an insight into how dangers, boredom and humour bind together a small group of men who spend much more of their lives on board ship than they do at home, and how their families ashore cope with the strains.
The year Roger records saw major changes in the industry, with unresolved threats to fishermen's livelihoods from new regulations, accidents in overcrowded waters and more and more fishermen chasing dwinding numbers of fish. But in spite of the uncertainties and dangers - and the job of a fisherman is twenty times as dangerous as that of a coalminer - what emerges is the portrait of a man with a great zest for life, who loves the freedom, the excitement and the laughs. The Skipper is the nearest you'll get to the story of a modern-day buccaneer.
After reading this book you'll treat your next plateful of fish and chips with new respect.

The book was published in 1993 by BBC books, ISBN 0 563 36755 5

Mine is an ex-library copy in excellent condition, and is definitely worth the read if you can find it.

The William Sampson Stevenson is still fishing from Newlyn and I saw her in March when I was in the port for two days with my camera. It really brought the book to life, having studied the boat up close :)

I'd love to have seen the TV series, but I know nothing about it - not even the number of episodes - other than it was in the early 90's.

16th October 2006, 22:34
Just had a look on and got myself a copy of the book Shooting the net.2nd hand as new £12.50 p/p payed,dont go on to addall book search for this book as they seem to have listed some silly prices from $20 up to $51 not to sure what that comes to in £'s but it's daft when there are new ones going for £13.96 on Amazon uk (

Slainte Billy

martin johns
16th October 2006, 23:05
The Skipper was a very good book. I've read it 3 times to date. The TV series was also excellent. It was about 6 episodes of 1 hour each & was a "fly on the wall" style series following the crew of a beamer. The crew all acted up a bit & it was hilarious in places & gave a realistic insight into the industry. I think I have them on video somewhere in the loft but I'm not sure if the tapes would be any good now after all these years.

17th October 2006, 20:45
yes, good series. wish they would repeat it. Does Roger Nowell now have Wayfinder (ex-SH??) ? I think he and his brother skippered the two berwick sputniks at one time, Karen and Bervie Braes, when they were owned by Billy Stevenson.

17th October 2006, 20:49
Thanks guys - at least now I know how many episodes and it's worth watching if I ever come across it :)

martin johns
17th October 2006, 22:46
Roger Nowell has now sold Wayfinder back to the NE (possibly Hartlepool) & bought the Toms built Valerie May - FH 270 from Looe. The boat has now been re-named Imogen - PZ 11??.
Roger's brother, Frank, was skipper of the Irish beamer, Deirdre Mairead - WD 113 at the time of the TV series but passed away several years ago.

19th October 2006, 13:21
Thanks for the info on Imogen, Martin -
I have photographed her in her changing colours.

Another book I can highly recommend is
"Growing up with Boats" William Stevenson's autobiography.
New Headland Printers Ltd, Penzance. ( 2001 )
ISBN 0-9534356-3-6