commercial fisherman is a special breed. They have to love fishing, of course, but the rest of their genetic makeup is just as atypical. They have to love their boat, and the smell of fish. They have to be technical, capable of operating all the specialized electronic gear, and they have to be a bit of a bureaucrat, too, to manage all of the paperwork. Most importantly, they need to embrace risk. “We’re like professional gamblers. It’s $1,000 to $1,200 every time we untie the lines,” said Eddie Jr., about how much it costs “per trip,” regardless of whether it’s a successful outing. On top of that, they spend the entire season preparing to catch an animal that may — or may not — make an abundant appearance in local waters.
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Local fishermen operate under very strict industry regulation. On the one hand, it’s a burden that requires them to head to distant fishing spots, for example. On the other, it’s a blessing. “The thing I am most afraid of is that our waters will become overfished and I will lose not only my livelihood, but the life that I have,” Eddie Jr. said.
For Eddie Jr., fishing is the past and the present and the future. He plans to acquire 2,000 more stone crab and lobster fishing trap tags to bring him to an even 8,000. And he’s dating Kelly Nichols, a well-respected female commercial captain. Which just begs the question — when do they ever find time to see each other? “Our paths cross a lot out on the water,” he said, gesturing to the Gulf of Mexico. “Plus, when I have a day off I will join her on the boat and vice versa. She understands the amount of time we have to put into this business. Plus, I can talk to her on the radio.”
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PROUD SUPPORTER OF THE ORIGINAL MARATHON SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
He taught me to love fishing. —Eddie Jr. on his grandfather, Eustevio
Interestingly, commercial fishing is not the life Eddie Sr. would have chosen for his son. “It’s a hard way to make a living. But I told him, ‘If it’s what makes you happy, go for it.’” Which just may mean there will one day be a fifth generation of Cordovas in the wheelhouse.