“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Gills Rock in Door County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The Skipper

<i>Skipper</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 20, 2018
1. Skipper Marker
Howard and Emery Weborg had been fishermen all their lives. Howard began fishing with his father Alfred in 1917. Soon Emery joined them fishing on their father's boat, the Golden Girl. At age 64, Alfred suffered an angina attack and died while out fishing. Upon Alfred Weborg's passing, their uncle Willie took over the boat that was owned in part by the Weborg brother’s mother Minda. Five years later in 1944, Willie decided to sell his share of the business and the Golden Girl to Howard and Emery. They fished with that old boat for one more year, then decided a new one was needed.

Selling the Golden Girl in 1945, they ordered a new boat, built to their specifications at the Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. The new boat had a steel hull and house, with an aft pilothouse. She has a 42-foot long steel hull and was powered by a 30-36 horsepower Kahlenberg oil engine. It cost them $12,000.00, and they named her Skipper after their father, who carried the nickname for many years. Finished fall of 1945, the Skipper was the first all-steel boat to fish out of Gills Rock.

Marker detail: Emery & Howard Weborg in front of the <i>Skipper</i> image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Emery & Howard Weborg in front of the Skipper
into operation soon after launch
, a typical day started at Weborg's wharf at 5:30 a.m. They loaded the net and fish boxes, torched the engine, and departed a half hour later. They worked this schedule six days a week, six to seven months a year. They were known to go out in all kinds of weather. Even when the Washington Island ferry was laid up, the Weborgs would still lift nets.

Out on the lake, Howard and Emery normally would lift eight boxes of nets, remove the fish, and set the nets back. They strung their own nets, either at Gills Rock or at their shed in Sand Bay. The two of them could string a new net of 1,200 feet in a day. Helping on shore, their wives Ruby and Grace worked several days a week in the wharf’s net sheds.

Throughout their partnership, Howard took the lead with Emery acting as his second. They fished together for nearly 50 years, 40 of them from just one boat, the Skipper.

Gill Net Fishing

The gill net is the most versatile of all net types. It can be set on any bottom, at any depth, and will catch almost any fish. It is fished throughout the year, even under the ice in winter. It can also be made selective by varying the size of the mesh.

The net is simple in design. Between two heavy cords, monofilament twine is attached. Lead weights are attached to one cord, and floats to the other. At
Marker beside <i>Skipper</i> stern image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 20, 2018
3. Marker beside Skipper stern
each end of each net the two cords are connected with a bridle. Each net is three to four hundred feet long and they are packed three or four to a box.

The principle on which the net works is also simple. The corks and leads make it stand like a fence on the bottom. Fish don't see it. Small ones pass through, those too large can't enter the mesh, other fish enter up to their gills and the monofilament line prevents their escape.

Howard and Emery Weborg donated the Skipper to the Door County Maritime Museum in 2002.
Location. 45° 17.443′ N, 87° 1.263′ W. Marker is in Gills Rock, Wisconsin, in Door County. Marker is at the intersection of State Highway 42 and West Wisconsin Bay Road, on the left when traveling east on State Highway 42. Marker is located near the northwest corner of the intersection, beside the subject boat. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12724 West Wisconsin Bay Road, Ellison Bay WI 54210, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rudder from the "City of Glasgow" (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pilot Island Site (approx. 2.1 miles away); The Hotz Estate (approx. 4.1 miles away); Ellison Bay (approx. 4.4 miles away); Niagara Escarpment
The <i>Skipper</i> (<i>west side view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 20, 2018
4. The Skipper (west side view)
(approx. 4.4 miles away); Nature of Sister Bay (approx. 8.6 miles away); Village of Sister Bay (approx. 8.6 miles away); Anderson Dock (approx. 11.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gills Rock.
More about this marker. Marker is a long, rectangular, composite plaque, mounted horizontally, at waist-level, on metal posts.
Categories. AnimalsIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
The <i>Skipper</i> image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 20, 2018
5. The Skipper

More. Search the internet for The Skipper.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 4, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 2, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 3, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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