Harry May began his deep sea and mackerel fishing trips from Lyme Regis back in 1970 when he started working for Victor Homyer, one of the well known local fishermen of the time. Every morning they would leave Lyme Regis harbour at 7am aboard Victor’s boat ‘Sunbeam’ and travel four and a half miles south to an area of rocky ground where Victor had twenty five lobster pots. The catch usually consisted of about fifty pounds of crab and two or three lobsters.
Returning to Lyme Regis by 10 a.m., the catch was then cooked up, dressed and put out on display in The Old Watch House, which to this day is still the wet fish shop at the bottom of Cobb Road opposite the harbour. (Mackerel caught on one of Harry’s trips can be left here for the day for the cost of a pint of prawns).
By 11 a.m. Harry would be leaving for the first of many mackerel fishing trips done each day. Harry fell utterly and completely in love with his job!
At the end of that year’s season Harry and a friend hitch hiked to Australia, travelling through Iran and Afghanistan and were away from Lyme Regis for three years. After hitching back, Harry arrived back in Lyme Regis in June 1973 and immediately picked up his old love, taking out mackerel fishing trips working for Victor Homyer again.
Within a couple of years using money saved in Australia, Harry bought his own mackerel fishing boat called ‘Anna’. Then in 1984 he had a brand new boat built in Axmouth, Devon by H J Mears and Son.
Today Harry still loves taking people out on boat trips and has absolutely no plans to retire!
Many people have seen Harry May on the popular ‘Coast’ programme. This was filmed in July 2006 and has been shown dozens of times. The programme tells the story of Harry’s parents house which was destroyed in a landslide in 1962. The family refused to move from the site with its spectacular view over Lyme Regis harbour even though the council wanted them to.
Living in a mobile home and two caravans it took forty six years before planning permission was granted to build another home on the site. The Coast programme features the now well known scene of Harry shedding a couple of tears when he was asked how it would feel to eventually walk through the front door of his newly built house.
Jody Kidd followed up the Coast programme a few years later for the BBC ‘Country Tracks’ programme, spending most of the day in the new house and then going out on Marie F for an hour’s mackerel fishing in blustery wind and rain!
The Coast series is shown around the world and has been seen by friends in Australia, America and Canada.
After living in mobile homes and caravans for many years Harry May’s new house is truly wonderful. He just wishes it had been built in his parents’ lifetime.