Bayman Will Bennett

Will in the bow of his uncle's boat with Chet Kent.  Pound traps, pictured here, are built perpendicular to the shore, with a net hung from wooden stakes set annually.  The traps are lifted daily, with fish such as blowfish, fluke and bluefish brought into the boat.  Unwanted fish and crabs are released back into the water, alive.

Will in the bow of his uncle’s boat with Chet Kent. Pound traps, pictured here, are built perpendicular to the shore, with a net hung from wooden stakes set annually. The traps are lifted daily, with fish such as blowfish, fluke and bluefish brought into the boat. Unwanted fish and crabs are released back into the water, alive.

Photographer Tara Israel first met Will Bennett in 2010 at the ocean in Amagansett while shooting his uncles, Paul and Danny Lester. She focused on the adults setting a gill net and hauling in striped bass, but the then eight-year-old boy found his way into some of the shots, never straying far from his mother, Kelly Lester. Every few months Israel found her way to Poseyville, the hub of the Lester fishing operation, to shoot the fishermen with the seasons. Bennett would usually appear on a bike, stopping to talk to the adults hanging out in the driveway before zipping off—sometimes agreeing to be photographed. Recently Israel went through her old negatives and discovered she unintentionally captured the evolution of a timid child into a confident fisherman. Here is the opportunity to bear witness to a village raising a child, an extended family encouraging the passion of a young fisherman and duck hunter. There will never be “the end”or “the last” of Bonacker traditions, as long as at least one child is interested and a network of adults makes the time.

The actual crew responsible for the net, dory and vehicles is small, however a crowd often gathers on days they go fishing at the ocean. Retired fishermen, family and friends often stop by to see how the haul is going that season or to lend a hand. (2010)

The actual crew responsible for the net, dory and vehicles is small, however a crowd often gathers on days they go fishing at the ocean. Retired fishermen, family and friends often stop by to see how the haul is going that season or to lend a hand. (2010)

Paul Lester's dog Girl waits in the truck while the crew brings in the net. (2010)

Paul Lester’s dog Girl waits in the truck while the crew brings in the net. (2010)

Bay scallops caught opening day of Scallop season in 2010. The shellfish is shucked and sold out of the Lester home.

Bay scallops caught opening day of Scallop season in 2010. The shellfish is shucked and sold out of the Lester home.

Will lifting a trap with crew member LJ.  After the fish to be kept are removed they dump out whatever was unintentionally caught in the net.  The fish are alive until they are put on the boat so no fish that are undersized or not in season are killed. (2015)

Will lifting a trap with crew member LJ. After the fish to be kept are removed they dump out whatever was unintentionally caught in the net. The fish are alive until they are put on the boat so no fish that are undersized or not in season are killed. (2015)

Will, age 12, sitting in front of his boat named "Clam Man".  He reinvests the money made from fishing into the boat he purchased himself and on new gear. (2015)

Will, age 12, sitting in front of his boat named “Clam Man”. He reinvests the money made from fishing into the boat he purchased himself and on new gear. (2015)

Will holding a squid caught in a pound trap. (2015)

Will holding a squid caught in a pound trap. (2015)

The actual crew responsible for the net, dory and vehicles is small, however a crowd often gathers on days they go fishing at the ocean. Retired fishermen, family and friends often stop by to see how the haul is going that season or to lend a hand. (2010)

The actual crew responsible for the net, dory and vehicles is small, however a crowd often gathers on days they go fishing at the ocean. Retired fishermen, family and friends often stop by to see how the haul is going that season or to lend a hand. (2010)

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