Nick Hadlock never depended on an allowance to get what he wanted. When he was only 7, he began cutting grass for neighbors on Little Cranberry Island, Maine. He stockpiled money to make his dream purchase: a fishing boat. Now 14, he's spent the last four years trapping lobster with the big guys.
First memories: "When I was really little, like 4, I'd hang out down at the harbor with all the fishermen and play with the buoys and traps. I had the nickname Captain Coil, and I'd go stern with my dad, who's a fisherman. I've been interested in it as long as I can remember."
Island life: "We don't have too many kids around here, so you hang out a lot with the adults. I guess that's how I came into fishing. And I love it, just like I love living on the island. I don't know if I could ever leave this place."
His haul: "I fish a lot in the summer, when the lobster come in to shed their claws. But most people catch them when they're heading back out to cooler waters, in the fall. I'm in school then, so I can only go on Saturdays. Still, I can catch about 100 pounds in my little boat. The fishermen who have the big boats don't have to worry about pulling up their traps by hand, like I do, so they can get about 1,500 pounds in a day. I think I do OK with the boat I've got."
Looking ahead: "Whatever I get from selling my lobster to the Islesford Co-op, well, I take that money and put it into my boat-the steering or controls or my motor-and I put the rest away to save up for a new one, a 22-footer."
His destiny: "I remember going out with my dad, feeling at home on the boat and in the water. Most of the time I'm out there alone, fishing by myself. One day it hit me that this is what I like most. It's a part of me."