Are You For Reel?
Today I ask Saint Lucian, John Charles, better known as Come Back (it is also the name of his boat), a local fisherman and heavy duty equipment operator hailing from the Jacmel and Coolie town area 47 questions.
What inspired you to become a fisherman?
John: Growing up and going out to sea with the fishermen at Roseau from the age of 14 years I developed a love for fishing. After working in the heavy equipment business for many years, I realised that there would not be enough work for persons in that area as the number of workers increased and so I get to work less hours. Fishing seemed like the better option so I went back to it.
How long have you been fishing?
I started fishing at the age of 14 years. I started with the older guys and We used to use the oars from Roseau Beach to Castries Harbour, fishing the whole day, then rowing back to Roseau at the end of the day.
What do you think is the most important part of your work?
I really enjoy doing my heavy equipment work which provides can provide consistent pay when it is flowing. I like to see my customers happy.
What is your biggest weakness?
Right now not having a consistent salary and the ladies.
What is your biggest strength?
Being able to take care of myself and cook some really good food to keep up my power.
What is a cause that is important to you?
Being in a loving and good relationship right now. I miss that.
When are you the most inspired?
In the night as I meditate on what to do the next day
Sweet or savory?
What song can you listen to on repeat?
Any country and western song is the best for me
What makes you smile the most?
Getting to be with a loving lady in my life.
What is one thing people don’t know about you?
People who see me at the beach may look at me like nobody but not realise the skills that I possess. I am a true friend but once trust is broken, that is the end of it.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Water, cash and sex.
Leather or lace?
What is the most adventurous thing you have done in your life?
Working around Saint Lucia doing excavation work for several companies and also some other Caribbean islands example Barbados. I remember a gentleman who visited Saint Lucia and saw me work, paid my ticket the same day for me to come work for him. After two (2) weeks working for him, people kept calling for the Saint Lucian to do some work for them too. I learnt with a company in Miami.
What is the most adventurous thing you have done as a fisherman?
Ensuring that I always come back with some fish. I surprised myself by hooking a Blue Marlin about 900 pounds although I did not bring it back on shore because I was the only one on the boat at the time.
How would you define yourself in 3 words?
Strong, brave, kind.
What is inspiring you in your life right now?
I have a piece of land and I am looking to build on it further so working on having the money to do so until you die.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
A mentor (name withheld) encouraged me to go get my birth certificate and identification card and open a bank account. “I will never forever that”.
What is your pet peeve?
A missed catch of the day. Not being able to bring in what would have been a great catch of the day when a big fish pulls my line, really annoys me.
What is your biggest regret?
I do not have regrets.
How do you start your day?
I wake up before sunrise, I pray to the Father, I must have my coffee or local bush tea such as bois den/ bayleaf to give me a boost and then I begin to get ready to go out to sea or do what I have to do.
What is the one thing you wish you knew at age 19?
Enjoyed the ladies more.
What is the one talent you wish you had?
I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to.
What is something you still want to be doing in 10 years?
Working again with operating heavy duty equipment. Also fishing. I love being able to take care of my needs and those of others.
What is the best thing that happened for you this year?
That is a tough question. Everything that happens for me is always best for me.
What is one thing you had to learn the hard way?
Persistence pays. I used to service the heavy equipment machines and wanted to be able to operate heavy duty equipment. I was finally given the opportunity to do so and today I feel confident that I can operate any piece of heavy equipment.
What is something you are tired of?
What is a trend you would like to see disappear forever?
The pandemic which has affected what I can earn and my customers too.
What is the biggest learning experience you have had?
The construction industry
What are you most excited about these days?
You…God knows (laughs).
Diamonds or pearls?
Answer: You (laughs)
What is heavily played on your music list right now?
Country and Western music all the way.
What makes you feel accomplished?
I am not there yet but working on it.
I do not snack
What is a super power you wish you had?
Being able to say or ask for anything and not be rejected.
What is your favourite color?
Blue or green.
What is something you would like to see happen for fishermen?
Getting material to build fish ports is more difficult now as the local suppliers no longer offer some of the material in small quantities such as by yard or meter. Fisherman have to buy the whole bale of wire which is costly especially in these times.
What is the most important thing your mom taught you?
I was not raised with my mom but my godmother from the age of three years which was a good idea.
What is the most important thing your godmother taught you?
To wash my clothes, cook food, take care of myself. Always stay active and do something for yourself.
How would you describe your upbringing?
I had a happy childhood, I felt like I lived in a palace, choosing what I wanted to eat. I got to explore a lot and also help at home. Twice per week , I had to make bread with collecting wood for the fire to bake bread to send to Anse La Raye and leave enough to be sold at the shop which my godmother owned.
Who is your role model?
The almighty or creator. Without the Almighty I am nothing.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I have to be up before the sun comes out. I have been this way my entire life.
What fills your days these days?
Going out to sea to fish which I enjoy doing and the only way for me to earn these days.
I notice that you have an eye injury. Can you tell me about it?
I was operating some heavy equipment when a secondary school in the north was being built and some dirt fell in my eye. I went to the optometrist downtown (name withheld) who prescribed medication for my eye. The medication was too strong and burnt my eye.
What do you want to be known for?
That I left my family better off than I started so that they can be comfortable and own a piece of Saint Lucia.
Any last words for your audience?
Looks can be deceiving. Take the time to get to know people before making assumptions about them.
How do you feel now that we are done?
Maybe I will not see you again (laughs).
Thank you so much John. I look forward to chatting with you again and we wish you the very best.