National Fisherman

June 6, 2022

Chuck Norris, a new nut from Bristol Bay, was designed to fish in extremely shallow water and stay there longer than other nut fishermen. Shiloh Seymour picture.

Shiloh Seymour’s career as a nut in Bristol Bay, Alaska, began when he was 7 years old at Drifter, a plywood yarn owned by his father and built by George Ham in 1966.

Years later in 2005, when Seymour was 22, he bought the boat from his father. Seymour, who lives in Homer, followed Drifter with a pair of used aluminum bow pickers, which he rebuilt.

Now there’s Chuck Norris, Seymour’s new 32’x17’4 “x18” Bristol Bay gillnets. It was launched on May 10 and tested at sea on May 11.

“There really is nothing like it out there,” Seymour says. He wanted “it to be ultra shallow, pack a lot of weight and be big and comfortable to take my kids out with,” and he feels that is what he got. Much of that satisfaction is probably due to Seymour’s own efforts, for he was closely involved in the design and construction of Chuck Norris from start to finish.

The idea for the name came from his wife Jennifer.

She “tried to think of a bad ass name and that was the first thing that came out of her mouth,” he says. “I thought it was amazing.”

Seymour began working with boat designer Sean DiGaetano in 2020. “For most of a winter, we sent drawings back and forth and planned it all.” When the plans were complete, Metal Marine in Homer welded the bare aluminum boat up with a side house, but without anything inside the house or hull.

The work involved installing a 120-inch delta-cushion triangle on the back of the hull, eliminating about two-inch draft. The Deltapad triangle required removing part of the aft keel section and making the back of the hull completely flat, from the aft mirror forward 120 inches.

Reducing the draft helps create a hull with only a three degree dead rise. It was part of Seymour’s desire for an extremely shallow draft. “That’s so we can stay later at low tide than anyone else.”

When the partially completed boat was delivered to Seymour in January, a tent-like structure was erected over it so that the boat could be worked on in the winter. Then Seymour and his crew of two or three guys plus local subcontractors began putting the twine net together, including engine, gear, jet, hydraulics, electronics and everything else that went inside the boat.

The propulsion comes from a pair of 530 hp, 6.7 liter FPT diesel engines that match the MJP Ultrajet 340s. On sea trials, Chuck Norris peaked at 30.2 mph. It’s with 9,000 pounds of water packed on deck.

“It came easily on the stairs,” Seymour notes. He estimates that Chuck Norris will pack between 21,000 and 25,000 pounds of salmon under the hatches. The salmon will be cooled with a 10-ton Pac West Refrigeration chiller with a transom cooling unit.

On deck, Country Welding of Homer built the power coil with a Kinematics Marine drive motor. It is on a slider and can be moved from bow to stern and back to setting and drag.

A relatively unusual feature is the side house.

“Only four-side-house-through-pickers have ever been made,” Seymour says. He feels that the side house design has several advantages over a raised house, where the wheelhouse is built above the deck and the mains coil slides under it.

With a side house, “you can see your crew all the time,” Seymour says. With a raised house, he thinks one is not always aware of what is happening on the deck.

In addition, because it has a smaller profile, the side housing does not provide as much wind resistance and is therefore more comfortable to work in than the raised wheelhouse. If necessary, he can also operate Chuck Norris from the top of the side house.

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