Saturday, September 23, 2017

Linda Greenlaw arrives ashore

by Kris Osgood
Linda Greenlaw's vessel, the Hannah Boden. Photo: Kris Osgood

Linda Greenlaw's vessel, the Hannah Boden. Photo: Kris Osgood

 Linda Greenlaw, arguably Maine's most famous fisherman, returned from the Grand Banks in early November. She and her crew were the guests of honor at a welcome reception at Portland's Custom House Wharf on November 6. The reception included speeches, swordfish samples and autographs from the crew of the Hannah Boden.

In front of hundreds of friends and fans, Portland Mayor Nicholas Mavodones awarded Greenlaw an honorary key to the city. Greenlaw introduced her crew, all of whom will be featured on season three of the Discovery Channel's Swords: Life on the Line next summer. "I know it doesn't sound very captainly," said Greenlaw, "but because I'm female I think I can get away with it. I adore my crew!"  She then proceeded to sing a few bars of Schooner Fare's song Portland Town, a song she said was running through her head as they came in by Portland Head Light the previous day. After the speeches, swordfish samples were served and Greenlaw and her crew signed autographs for over two hours.

Hannaford sponsored the reception for the captain and crew of the Hannah Boden. This season Greenlaw teamed up with Hannaford and Browne Trading Company in Portland to brand her swordfish. The fish caught aboard the Hannah Boden this fall is being sold in Hannaford stores and by Brown Trading labeled as "Linda Greenlaw swordfish." Brown Trading sells to restaurants all over the country. Greenlaw's swordfish has been served everywhere from the Haven Restaurant on Vinalhaven, to Primo in Rockland, to restaurants in New York and Las Vegas. "Our collaborations with Hannaford and Browne Trading were both huge successes in that we were able to get more money to the boat for our product," said Greenlaw.

At Hannaford, according to Greenlaw, her swordfish was less expensive for the consumer than other swordfish.

This was Greenlaw's third season sword fishing since her comeback in 2008. Previous to that she had been out of the game for nearly 10 years. This year marked another comeback-Greenlaw's return to her old vessel, the Hannah Boden. "After the last two seasons working on lesser vessels, it was a real pleasure to be back aboard the HB," she said. "She's so comfortable and well equipped. We had all brand new tackle and equipment-never had that experience before."

"The season was a success overall," said Greenlaw. "Two great trips, then a slow one, very typical of Grand Banks fishing. When the fish decide to migrate, they leave in a hurry." The crew's fishing success came despite what Greenlaw called "the year of the shark."  Apparently this year the sword fishery-not just the Hannah Boden-saw an inordinate number of blue sharks, which have no value at the dock and are therefore a nuisance rather than additional income. Greenlaw figures the crew hauled at least 16,000 blue sharks aboard this year, as the boat is required to keep track for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Greenlaw said the season was "uneventful other than riding out Hurricane Igor. We tried to get to the dock in Newfoundland, but Igor changed course and ran over the top of us before we could get in." Greenlaw was thankful to be aboard the Hannah Boden at that time, as she is "much bigger and more capable" than other boats she has fished on. "It has to be really bad [weather] to feel it on the Hannah Boden," she said.

Greenlaw was very proud of her crew this year. "I have always had a great crew," she said. "This season was no exception. I had two guys from last season, and three new guys. I was lucky to replace good guys with good guys. All in all, a very solid team." Greenlaw was also quick to point out that her crew was almost all from Maine. They included "Carl" Michael Maxcy from Friendship, Nathan Clark from Isle au Haut, Johnny Brewer from Boothbay Harbor and Hendrickson Mateak from Micronesia. Mateak is reportedly hoping to move to Maine in order to continue fishing with Greenlaw.

Greenlaw's next book is another cookbook collaboration with her mother, Martha Greenlaw, and will be released early next summer. She expected to begin work on her next memoir-an update on life on Isle au Haut-after Thanksgiving, and said she needed to finish it by June in order to accommodate a publicity tour for the cookbook and to go back out fishing next August.

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