The Albatross Fleet set course over 80 years ago as the first charter boat fishing outfit on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks. Captain Ernie Foster has been fishing his entire life in hopes of sustaining his father’s legacy.

You clear that inlet in the morning, and the sun is coming up and you look out there; and you have no idea. And everyday is a potential adventure.

Captain Ernie Foster, Sport Fisherman, Owner of The Albatross Fleet

Fishing For Life

For Captain Ernie Foster, fishing is no hobby; it’s his livelihood and community-defined namesake. Born into a family that’s been rooted on Hatteras Island, North Carolina for decades, Foster knows the lay of the land and water.

Reflecting on the small Hatteras Island community, Ernie said, “The great thing about living in a small place is everyone knows you. And the terrible thing about living in a small place: everybody knows you.” So naturally, everyone knows the story of his family’s fishing legacy.

A Fleet Built for a King

Ernie’s father, Ernal Foster, made a name for their family that’s synonymous with fishing in their community. He was the first sport fisherman in North Carolina to build a boat for the purpose of taking people out on the Gulf Stream to sport fish.

Ernie said his father would tell stories of how the old-timers in the village told him he was insane to think people would pay him to take them sport fishing.

But Ernal refused to be derailed. Eighty years later, the Albatross Charter Fleet remains a successful staple of Hatteras Island. His son Ernie has been key to keeping the legacy alive.

The Legacy Lives On

For Ernie, it was never a question whether he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. He explained his love of the sport fishing life as “to have a job in which a day off grinds on you.”

Growing up, Ernie took pride in having a father in the sport fishing business. He enjoyed riding along with Ernal on his expeditions from a very young age. When Ernie turned 13, his father began putting him to work.

“I’ve worked every fishing season since then,” said Foster.

Small Town Tradition

“Seeing that smile that goes from ear to ear, and you know that you have helped them experience something, is what keeps me from taking it for granted,” Foster said of his customers, whom he calls his friends.

The Foster family has worked hard the past 80 years to keep the Albatross Fleet going strong. But every second of it has been a labor of love for this father-son duo.


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