June 30, 2021
Zayden & Brad Allen. Brad is the Skipper of the Kodiak T.
We had the pleasure of hearing from Zayden Allen, son of longtime Austral Skipper Brad Allen, on his
time spent at sea on the Kodiak T during the 2021 banana prawn season.
Overall, how did you find spending time on board with your Dad as your Skipper?
It was awesome to be able to spend so much time on the ocean, but it was even better to be able to spend the time with Dad showing me what he really does and how to catch a prawn or two.
How long were you out at sea?
I was out on the boat for just under a month because I was an extra and couldn’t get any more time off school.
How old are you and your Dad?
I’m 17 and dad is 46.
What is it like being able to go out to sea together after seeing him work as a prawn fisherman growing up?
It was such a surreal experience to be able to go, see and do what he has done in the past and still does to this day. It was always so hard with him being away for most of the year, missing out on so many things but now I see why he comes back year after year.
Did you learn anything about your Dad while you were at sea with him?
I learnt that he is such a stress head if there’s no prawns in the tray - he is pulling his hair out trying to find them. I also learnt that he runs a very tight ship, keeping everything neat and tidy and he made sure everyone was well trained before our first day fishing.
Was the work what you expected it to be? Any surprises?
It was but it wasn’t at the same time. I have heard many stories from fishermen saying it is one of the toughest jobs in the world and many people crack under pressure but I have done 2 week stints during tiger prawn season, so I sort of had an idea what was happening but it was also very different at the same time. I never realised how shallow the water is that they fish in because as I said I’m used to tigers being in very deep water.
What is it that you think your Dad loves about being a Skipper?
I think he loves the 'banana jitters.' The thrill and adrenaline of dropping bags of 'gold' onto the back deck and just seeing prawns flying everywhere. It was very surprising how big the nets are when they are full of pure prawn - really blew me away how quick the tray can fill up.
Did you see any cool or unexpected things while you were out there?
On one of the quiet days I was laying on my bed listening to music and I could hear a whistling noise coming from the bow, so I jumped out of bed and had a look over the rail and there was a massive pod of false killer whales surfing the bow wave - it was so mad.
Have you got any idea about the kind of career or job you yourself want?
I would like to become a cabinet maker when I finish school, and then hopefully go on to become a firefighter.
Have you got any interest in being a Skipper one day?
I’m not sure if I will become a skipper. I’ll leave that up to my brother Tyler.. but you never know, the tides might change one day.
Would you go back out to sea with your Dad again?
I would go out to sea with him again anytime. He is an awesome skipper, boss and old boy. I would recommend going to sea with him to anyone that is keen for a break from land or just wants to go on a working experience of a lifetime.
Zayden, thanks so much for taking the time to have a chat with us about your time at sea with your Dad. We look forward to seeing you have a go at being a cabinet maker and who knows, maybe you'll end up working on the water one day.