Wilven Hayes, 85, guides his boat down the Atchafalaya River. Wilven’s one of the river basin’s few remaining full-time commercial fishermen—and at 85, he can still run circles around anyone I’ve met on the water. He uses hoop nets to catch catfish and gaspergou, which he and his family then process and sell to the local community.

Photographed while helping filmmaker Keely Kernan document Wilven’s story.

Wilven Hayes, 85, guiding his fishing boat down the Atchafalaya River
Wilven and Phillip drag the river bottom in search of a hoop net
A haul of catfish from the Atchafalaya River
Phillip pulls one of Wilven's hoop nets out of the river
A fishing boat on plane on the Atchafalaya River
Wilven Hayes, one of the Atchafalaya River Basin's only full-time commercial fishermen