Bob Doxsee: Deep Sea Clamming

by Nancy Solomon

Photo: Bob Doxsee SrBob Doxsee, the owner of Doxsee Sea Clam Company, which closed in 2013, carried on the traditions of his family, one of the older families to settle on the south shore of Long Island. The Doxsees began as farmers and fishermen, including James H. Doxsee who was born in Islip in 1825. In 1865, the Doxsees opened the first Long Island clam processing plant in Islip, which ran until c.1900. In 1900, one branch of the Doxsee clan moved to North Carolina, where they continue to make Doxsee can clam juice and clams. Bob’s grandfather John C. Doxsee opened the Deep Sea Fish Company in Islip, setting ocean pound traps off Fire Island. In 1919, Bob Doxsee Sr., who later became the mayor of Freeport, moved the family operations to Meadow Island near Point Lookout, where the Doxsees and their workers lived in bay houses. In 1933, the company moved to Point Lookout, where it remained until 2013.

The Bright Eye Fish Company, as the company was known then, continued the tradition of setting ocean pound traps, where they caught and sold flounder, fluke and many other local species of fish. The company was so named because fresh fish have bright eyes. At the same time Bob Doxsee preserves his family history through photographs that have been passed down through his family, along with poems that capture the spirit of commercial fishermen. Long Island Traditions salutes Doxsee and others like him for their perseverance and dedication. You can visit his web site here.

“Maiden Voyage” by Bob Doxsee

stood out from Horn Island – on our way
across the Gulf on a straight line tract
two thousand miles from N.Y. U.S.A.
a one way journey – we won’t be back

beautiful weather and slick calm seas
trip across was peaches and cream
slipped around the Florida Keys
picked up four knots in the swift Gulf Stream

ship fast and able with a willing crew
we were really making fine time
boiling up that long road so blue
fourteen knots on the hundred fathom line

southerly breeze began to blow
fair wind astern and following sea
wind blew harder aloft and slow
sea built up precipitously

head up astern then roar thundering by
every sea drives us closer to home
on the crest of each wave we’d take wing and fly
then be left behind in a smother of foam

sped along by a mountain
running wild – running free
we lunge and surge like a thing alive
charged with high velocity

here comes a big one
the good ship knows far better than we
couldn’t pitch pole if she tried

off Diamond Shoals came northerly line squalls adriving
gritted our teeth and took it – what could we do
all wind and water – we did some diving
beat to windward and weathered on thru

during the blow we held fast
wind and sea subsided after a while
two days to home port at long last
sailed up to the dock in fine style

they say “the sea is so large and my boat so small”
there are days when time and tide batter us
faced a gale wind and gave it her
all and cut her eye teeth rounding Hatteras

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