With its long evergreen forests and storied glacial coast, Maine’s history of nurturing outdoorsmen almost goes without saying. Lincoln County shares in that history, evidenced by residents like Kyle O’Brien, a fourth generation Bremen lobsterman, who, when not on the boat, is hunting for deer and occasionally moose.
O’Brien’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all lobstermen at one point in their lives. O’Brien said the family has been fishing in and out of Bremen waters for the last 100 years and to be a part of that tradition is something he couldn’t imagine having any other way.
“My great-grandfather was fishing here, really, not that long ago,” O’Brien said. “It’s crazy to think that I get to fish in the same place he did, fishing the same waters.”
The son of Travis O’Brien and Kristie Creamer, Kyle O’Brien fishes out of Broad Cove Marine, a lobster dock and marina overlooking Hockomock Channel in Muscongus Bay that serves up lobster meals to locals and tourists during the summer and fall.
Often when O’Brien pulls his boat onto the dock to unload the day’s catch, he’ll also catch the attention of diners enjoying their lobster dinner and field questions. Occasionally, he’ll even bringing folks on board.
“I ask people if they want to go lobstering with me to see what it’s like,” O’Brien said. “I mean, if I were in their shoes, I would love to get to experience something like that; it’d make my year.”
O’Brien knows that there’s a bit of mystery surrounding what he, and so many of Lincoln County’s residents, does out on the water and bringing people aboard is a way to show them a livelihood that’s as unique to the coast as it is necessary.
“We’re stewards of the ocean,” O’Brien said. “I can’t think of anyone who cares more about the health of our ocean than we do.”
When O’Brien isn’t making a living on the water or grounding out the hull of his boat, he’s working on his golf game and, if he’s lucky, hunting moose up north in the spring.
“After 15 years of entering the moose lottery, I finally got it,” O’Brien said.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife holds a yearly moose hunting permit lottery. According to the department, over 72,000 people applied for the permit this year. Just over 4,000, or 5.5%, were selected to receive a permit.
The years he doesn’t get his name pulled for the lottery, O’Brien is still out hunting for deer and still heads north for shedding season when both deer and moose lose their antlers.
“My dad and I go up every spring and collect them,” O’Brien said. “Three days of no contact with other people, no texts, calls – it’s heaven. It’s a real reset.”
Bremen, historically, has a rough and rowdy reputation, according to O’Brien, but he’s loved growing up there.
“Riding bicycles down the road and to the shore to meet up with friends,” he said. “The small neighborhood kind of childhood, to me, is awesome.”
O’Brien attended Great Salt Bay Community School from kindergarten through eighth grade and is a member of the Lincoln Academy class of 2013. While at Lincoln Academy, O’Brien, known to some by his initials K.O.B., played both soccer and lacrosse and during his senior year, he was a captain of the boys varsity soccer team.
“I don’t get to play soccer as much as I’d like to these days,” O’Brien said. “But I’ve been playing a bit of golf.”
O’Brien also manages a fantasy football team, an online football management game, in a league called Midcoast with friends of his from high school that he’s close with to this day.
O’Brien’s boat, Daylight Till Dark, bought from his uncle who also lives in Bremen, is named after a saying O’Brien and his family used to throw around when he was a kid. So much so, he said it’s almost a motto, and that anyone stepping onto the boat knows how much work is ahead of them.
“When I was a kid, we were always out from daylight till dark,” O’Brien said. “You came in after dark and left at daylight, and so when it came time to name the boat, Daylight Till Dark seemed like the perfect name.”
According to O’Brien, between the regulations imposed by the state of Maine to protect North Atlantic right whales, and offshore wind farms being built, he’s concerned about the future of the lobstering industry.
“It’s frustrating for fishermen. If anyone wants to protect the ocean, it’s guys like us who spend their entire life on it,” O’Brien said. “Why would I want to destroy the ocean which makes my living?”
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