There are a couple names among the South-West fishing fleet that everyone knows as having a reputation for successful, steady fishing over many years, and one of them is the Padstow-registered netter Charisma. Built in Scotland in 1988, the 16.6 metre overall Charisma fishes hake with gill nets for much of the year, switching to trammel nets for monk and turbot depending on the season and the tides.
Charisma came into Waterdance’s ownership some years ago as a going concern with a strong track record behind it, and now operates mainly from Newlyn alongside the other netting boats in the Cornish fleet.
For many years John Walsh was Charisma’s skipper, but that changed when Waterdance acquired Amanda of Ladram, and John and his crew transferred to the larger vessel, with a new crew taking over Charisma.
Today Charisma’s skipper Stacey Gambrill is one of the youngest in the fleet. Still in his twenties, he has plenty of experience behind him, staring with Phil Mitchell on the Govenek of Ladram, before spending seven years fishing with Jim Mitchell, first on the Gary M and then as deck boss on Waterdance’s Joy of Ladram.
‘I learned a lot from him,’ said Stacey Gambrill, who always looks forward to the turbot and brill fishery in the summer as the most interesting time of year. ‘If you watch a lot, then you learn a lot.’
One of the smaller netters, Charisma does not have the carrying capacity of the newer bloats, and so has to offload fishing gear when switching from one target species to another. Hake is the primary year-round target species for Charisma, along with the best time of the year for turbot and ray in the spring and early summer, followed by the season for fishing around wrecks in August.
Hake in particular has been a highly productive fishery in recent years, and the Waterdance netting boats work together to stagger landings so that quality remains high and to keep from overloading the market.
Charisma works trips of three weeks, with quick turnaround landings at roughly four-day intervals, and fishes with a crew of six.
CALL SIGN: MLNR5
REGISTERED PORT: Padstow
HOME PORT: Newlyn
PORT LETTERS: PW45
OVERALL LENGTH: 16.6
YEAR OF BUILD: 1988
COUNTRY OF BUILD: Scotland
DATE OF ENTRY INTO SERVICE: 28/03/1988
SKIPPER: Stacey Gambill
CREWE SIZE: 6
AREA FISHED: Area 7 / SW Approaches
FISH CAUGHT: Hake, Monkfish, Turbot, Cod, Haddock, Pollock, other mixed fish