I can attest to the “bouquet” of the menhaden purse seiner! I’ve spent about 2000 days on them. It’s good sea time…twelve hour days (although many of your days are longer than 12 hours)…and the boats run from the mid-500 ton to mid-600 ton (GRT, not ITC) range. Generally five days a week, sometimes six. The boats in the Gulf (Cameron, Du Lac and Moss Point) fish from mid April to mid October. The boats out of Reedville, Va. generally fish from mid May until December or January.
It’s hard work, long hours, OK accomodations and not much money but it’s a job and sea time. How good the job is depends on who the captain is. Good captains have good crews, GOOD COOKS, and catch more fish, thereby earning their crews more money. That’s why they have good crews and good cooks.
Those who are afraid of hard work, long hours, sea nettles and strong smells need not apply.
There’s also an outfit down in Empire that I think is a better company than Omega: Daybrook Fisheries. It’s a smaller, more “family oriented” company with good equipment. I’ve never worked for them, but I have friends who do.
If you’ve absolutely, positively got to have a job and/or 500+ ton sea time then give Omega or Daybrook a try. If you get a job as a pilot on a pogy boat, you WILL become a good boat handler or become unemployed. Moving those things around with the bottoms rubbing together or around the dock trying to stuff a 40 foot wide boat into a 40 foot six inch wide berth, with a single rudder, two woefully underpowered engines and one and a half million pounds of fish in the holds can get pretty exciting sometimes!
In any event, you won’t like it.