A Conversation with Tad Miller
The eighth of the nine Miller children, like his siblings, Tad was on the water all the time. "I started out when I was 8 off of Cape Porpoise in a 14’ skiff with a 5.5HP outboard. I used to go with my older brother Hale a lot too." Tad's parents started coming to Tenants Harbor in the summers in 1975, where two of his brothers were already living year round. "I moved down after high school after high school. I always knew I wanted to be a fisherman of some sort and I've pretty much spent all my life on the water doing one form of fishing or another," including a stint fishing in Alaska in the 80’s.
What he loves about being a fisherman? Being a versatile fisherman and that the fishing industry has given him the opportunity to be involved in many types of fishing - from ground fishing to shrimping to scalloping and of course lobster fishing. "I still own a scallop boat which my brother Danny and my son Jamie fish in season. And we shrimp when the fishery is open. Coming up as a kid, all of us were involved with all types of fishing and on-the-water work. Now, guys seem to be more specialized. The versatility was an important element in our small community."
Today, Tad fishes off Matinicus Island, Maine's remotest year-round community - about 20 miles offshore. Tad's wife Julie was raised on Matinicus and Vinalhaven and came from a long line of lobstering - which gave him the ability to fish Matinicus Island.
What Tad loves about fishing? "The serenity and calm you feel when you're out on the water early in the morning on calm days - the rest of the world seems to shut off for a bit." About the Co-op: "For many years this dock has been run as a family wharf. I'm excited to see the wharf be used by a wider community of fishermen. I think it's wonderful not only for my family, but for Tenants Harbor more generally, to keep local, small businesses just that. It's also a great way to honor my parents and to have the dock move into the future as a commercial fishing wharf - the way my parents started and envisioned it. The partnership with Cape Seafood and Luke's Lobster is progressive and exciting. It distinguishes us from other Co-ops and gives us something to build on."
Favorite off the water activity: Being involved in fisheries management (MLA among others) and having a voice in the industry. He also loves being involved with his family, 3 grandkids, and hunting!
Scariest moment on the water: Fishing out west in Alaska during a record breaking cold spell, when the boat took three big waves over the stern while hauling the nets back. Everything was being washed over the rail, "somehow I managed to grab ahold of a towing wire on my way over the side and stay aboard."
Favorite food: “My wife is an excellent cook, so I like too much of everything. Especially seafood and sweets!”
Buoy color: Pink & yellow
Boat Name: Mallary Sky - "After my daughter."