Two weeks into the season, the coast oyster harvest looks promising. Despite earlier concerns about the impact of tropical weather, area reefs are producing daily sack limits for local fishermen.
The Manasco brothers enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working coast oyster reefs. Of course, it doesn't hurt when the oysters are so plentiful. They were unloading their daily limit of 25 sacks late Friday morning.
"So far, so good. We'd like them to increase the sack limit, but until then everything is going fine so far," said Jack Manasco.
A bountiful harvest gives these fishermen hope. In the face of rising fuel costs, weather worries and occasional mechanical problems aboard a boat, it's nice to reach the daily limit of oysters. Demand for these oysters will reach a peak near the holidays.
"And it starts to drop right after Christmas. So, you got to get it while you can. Got to get on it and grind," said Tommy Manasco.
Although it's still early and most fishermen are reluctant to predict the success of a season, the busyness on the dock and the positive comments from several oyster men, suggests it will be another good harvest this year.
Jay Kelley brought his boat ashore, loaded with oysters. He's got a good feeling after these first two weeks.
"Looks great," said Kelley.
Fishermen are hoping this early luck takes hold for the season. The oysters are plentiful and decent size.
"Good and salty. Nice size. About three inches and above. About the size of your foot," Kelley explained.
If this early harvest trend holds true, oyster men can look forward to wrapping up another successful season.