Albert S. Johnston IV
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Captain Albert S. Johnston IV
Captain Albert Johnston swordfishing aboard the Canyon Explorer off the Grand Banks of Canada with brothers Timmy and Paul Johnston. Timmy is holding a Bigeye tuna or Ahi (thunnus obesus) and Paul is holding a Mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus).
Albert Sidney Johnston IV
March 11, 1954
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Occupation||Ship captain (fishing)|
|Known for||Atlantic sailfish|
(Istiophorus albicans) record:
86 caught in one day
Captain of Mary T
Main character in
The Perfect Storm novel
Introduction[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]
Life and Achievements[edit | hide | edit source]
Albert Johnston was born as Albert Sidney Johnston IV in Washington D.C. the first surviving child of Albert Sidney Johnston III (attorney) and Patricia (Kitty) Kolkoski (social worker). Albert's parents met during graduate school in Washington D.C. while attending Catholic University. They soon had another addition with James Paul's birth on 20 February 1956.
In 1956 the young Johnston family moved to Phoenix, Arizona where Kitty's parents lived in addition to her brothers Robin and Kraig and sister Karetie Kolkoski. The Johnston family grew with the births of Ruth, Thomas Patrick, Julie Patrice and Timothy (Timmy) Joseph.
In 1964, the Johnston family moved from Phoenix to Biloxi, Mississippi so Albert's father could join the family law practice of Johnston and Johnston, Attorneys at Law. On 9 September 1965, the Johnston family encountered their first major storm when Hurricane Betsy was brought ashore and the children found adventure leaning into the wind and being pelted from the 100-plus mph wind-driven rain. By 1968 Albert had discovered the local fishing scene at the Biloxi Marina. He began by cleaning charter boats and the day's catch for $50 per day. Albert quickly realized there was money to be made with boats and fishing. He soon landed a position as mate and then first mate aboard the premier charter boats at the Marina. Soon he was captain for these same charter boats. Some of these early boats include the Miss Belvedere and the Silver Dollar.
On 18 August 1969, the Johnston family experienced a catastrophic storm event when Hurricane Camille (with 175 mph winds) hit and destroyed their Mississippi Gulf Coast beachfront house (located on U.S. Highway 90) leaving only the front (concrete) steps. Two days before Camille hit, on 16 August 1969 the family had suffered a life-altering loss with the untimely death of Kitty Johnston in an automobile accident in the nearby quiet community of Gulf Hills, Mississippi.
Albert attended Notre Dame High School and excelled in football and track and field sports. Upon graduation from Notre Dame, Albert pursued sportfishing full-time. Albert soon moved to Destin, Florida. Albert achieved success in his fishing career and perhaps his most well-known unbroken record is when he caught 83 Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) in one day on 3 February 1980 aboard Louis S. Boski's boat, the 53' Monterey Marine Sportfishing Vessel (S/V) Elbo 7. The West Palm Beach Fishing Club established the Louis S. Boski Award in Boski's honor for this outstanding achievement. Albert continued to work as captain for well-known millionaire's private sportfishing boats and luxury yachts. Hatteras, Rybovich and Merritt yachts were among the boats Albert captained.
Commercial Fishing[edit | hide | edit source]
At some point Albert started to pursue the commercial fishing business and this time he sought the lucrative markets for swordfish or broadbill (Xiphias gladius) and tuna. He was joined in these ventures with brothers Paul and Timmy. Brother Thomas would join the U.S. Navy and travel all over the world as a nuclear engineer aboard the nuclear powered guided missile cruiser USS Truxtun (CGN-35). The Johnston brothers started fishing together with Albert as captain and Paul and Timmy as mates, plus there were other crew members. As the commercial fishing business goes, crews often jump from ship to ship after each trip. During these times the Johnston's had the good fortune to meet many interesting people and fish all over the world. One such person they met along the way was Linda Greenlaw who was known as a successful lobster captain and wanted to learn the swordfish craft. Greenlaw would crew and fish with the Johnston's and went under Albert's tutelage to hone her swordfishing skills. In turn Paul and Timmy would go on to become captains of their own swordfish boats. As a side note, it is worth mentioning that these 'boats' typically range from 80 to well over 100 feet in length and are indeed ships in the commercial fishing fleet. During one remarkable and noteworthy trip the Johnston's would make yet another mark in the annals of history.
The Perfect Storm[edit | hide | edit source]
It was in the Fall of 1991 that a confluence of weather events would affect the Atlantic swordfishing fleet and become known as the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991 and also known as the 1991 Perfect Storm.
Albert Johnston was captain of the F/V Mary T and part of the fishing fleet that sailed from Gloucester, Massachusetts and the last person known to have spoken with Captain Billy Tyne before the F/V Andrea Gail was lost at sea. Aboard the F/V Mary T were Captain Johnston's brothers Captain Paul Johnston and Captain Timothy 'Timmy' Johnston. NY Times best-selling author Sebastian Junger was researching the most dangerous jobs when he learned about the occupation of commercial fishing. This led Junger to the swordfish boat and crew lost at sea during the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991. Further research into these events resulted in Junger contacting Captain Albert Johnston and subsequent interviews placed Johnston as a key character in Junger's novel titled The Perfect Storm (book). A major motion picture titled The Perfect Storm (film) was produced with accompanying documentaries by the BBC and The Discovery Channel.
Family Business[edit | hide | edit source]
The Johnston family operated a successful swordfish and fishing tackle business. The Johnston family operated many different Fishing Vessels, most recently the F/V Canyon Explorer. Working with his father Albert Sidney Johnston III, Captain Albert formed Seafarer Fishing Products in Sebastian, Florida and soon obtained exclusive distribution rights for Momoi monofilament fishing line, Seaguar Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) fluorocarbon fishing line, leader and tippet material, Yo-Zuri brands and Duel fishing reels in Italy. The Johnston's and Seafarer were the first to introduce fluorocarbon leaders to the North American recreational fishing market.
The Johnston family then formed Johnston Tackle Corporation in Sebastian, Florida to produce and market their own products under their own label, Tuff Stuff, The King of String. Johnston Tackle with Albert III and Albert IV at the helm and under the direction of Thomas Johnston as General Manager sought key fishing tackle manufacturers in Japan and Italy to participate in moving the recreational fishing industry forward. Captains Albert, Paul and Timmy had extensive offshore and commercial fishing experience and Thomas had extensive inshore fishing experience to provide key research, development and feedback to these manufacturers. Through the process of product development and testing, Johnston Tackle was able to secure high quality fishing tackle products. With the guidance from Thomas and his experience in the scientific research field, Johnston Tackle performed double blind testing on all major monofilament fishing lines from the North American market. Tuff Stuff monofilament fishing line consistently performed exceptionally superior to the other brands on the market. The testing was performed in accordance with the guidelines established by the IGFA, both wet and dry tests were conducted.
Paul Johnston died in Puerto Rico while on business related to his commercial fishing pursuits. Timmy Johnston died at sea during a commercial fishing trip off Barbados.
Captain Albert is a recognized expert in the fishing and sportfishing industry and currently operates a commercial fishing vessel.
Sportfishing and Fishing Vessels[edit | hide | edit source]
- F/V Growler
- F/V Canyon Explorer
- F/V Mary T
- Halter Marine
- Monterey Marine Boats
- Merritt Boats
- S/V Elbo 7
- S/V Rampage
- S/V Renegade built in 1982 by Merritt Boats, Hull #35, the 46' Renegade
References[edit | hide | edit source]
- Ulanski, Stan (2013). The Billfish Story: Swordfish, Sailfish, Marlin, and Other Gladiators of the Sea. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. p. 33.
- Fogt, Jan (12 October 2001). "Big-Game Fishing's Most Amazing Feats". Marlin Magazine. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Fogt, Jan (November 1989). "Striking it Rich". Boating Magazine, Sportfishing Journal: 143.