Anything you’ve ever wanted to know about lobsters can be easily answered by Captain Leroy Weed, 81, a lobsterman from Deer Isle Maine. The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries hired him to be their spokesperson in the video series “Ask Leroy!” in which he answers your questions about fishing and commercial fisheries in Maine.
A retired lobsterman who grew up in a family of 10 children and who has more than 60 years of on-the-water experience, Leroy was the perfect ambassador for Stonington Harbor. The Center hired him in 2020 as an educator in their interpretive center called “Discovery Wharf.” With the limitations the COVID-19 pandemic put on his ability to engage with the public, they began a video series featuring Leroy on YouTube. It was the perfect showcase to pass along his knowledge and share his experiences of fishing in Maine’s coastal waters.
Leroy’s Downeast humor and his willingness to explain how everything works in the YouTube channel turned into a sensation that has been wildly popular all over the world. In the video series, Leroy explains everything from how a lobster trap is works and how it is made (Episode 6) to how to cook a lobster the propah way (Episode 3) to what it was like growing up on an island (Episode 10).
He even gets into the kind of stories that most lobstermen won’t talk about:“Scary Fishing Stories, Cutting Traps, and Average Hauls” (Episode 1). Leroy described being sideswiped by a boat in the thick fog. “I’ve been aboard a boat that sunk,” he replied to a called-in audience question. “And that was pretty scary, as I can’t swim.”
Responding to a question about scandals and cut traps, Leroy frankly answered, “Well I’m gonna put it to you this way, the people who have cut traps—most of ’em—have earned it. Because if you mind your business, chances are, you don’t have any problems.”
According to an article in a local newspaper Penobscot Bay Pilot, which asked Leroy about the craziest question he ever got from tourists, he replied, “‘How do you know there’s lobsters in the traps?’ So, I tell ’em, ‘We got this fiber-optic line; we look down the line and see if he’s in there.’ The other question we get a lot is, ‘Why are the boats all parked in the same direction?’ And I just say, ‘So, they can all get out and not run into each other.’ But, then, I follow up with them and explain it and say, ‘It’s the way the wind and the tide turn them.'”
To ask Leroy a question that’s been burning in your mind, simply give him a call at 224-58-LEROY (224-585-3769). Leave a message, and he’ll answer your question in a future episode.
Be sure to come to the 2022 Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 3-7. To celebrate our 75th anniversary after a hiatus of two summers, the Festival will now be FREE to attend. Find out more at https://mainelobsterfestival.com.