In this 12 part series, Randy Ramsey reflects each month on the most influential people to contribute to Jarrett Bay’s success over the last 25 years.

“The difference a day makes” was never as true as the day I met Jim Luxton. It was a cool spring day, and he was at the helm of the “Sea Jade” as we prepared to take a multi-boat charter group out of Harker’s Island. The “Sea Jade” was one of the largest in the fleet and Jim was the senior Captain in our group that day. After a short discussion, Jim let me know he planned to fish east of the Cape and suggested I do the same. I, of course, went south. And from that day, a great friendship was born on being able to disagree while at the same time agreeing to merge our passion for boats and fishing to eventually form Jarrett Bay Boatworks.

From the moment of our meeting, Jim and I found we shared many common goals and were both driven to find ways to improve the awareness of the offshore fishery in Carteret County. We formed and operated the Harker’s Island Fishing School in 1981 – educating anglers about fishing techniques and improving the boats we used every day. For nine years, we entertained more than 1,500 anglers and carried dozens of sports writers fishing so they could see for themselves all the central coast had to offer.

It became clear to Jim and I that the boats we had were not best suited for the run to the Gulf Stream each day. We both knew we needed faster and larger boats to be successful in this fishery. We had fished with Omie Tillett on his boat “Sportsman” and were impressed by her speed and how well she handled in the ocean. On a cold December day in 1986, we made the commitment to build our first boat, the “Sensation”. Jim and I both had worked with Capt. Myron Harris building charter boats, but to say we were prepared to go into business would definitely have been an overstatement.

Looking back on the process of building the first boat that is still running charters 25 years later, it’s nice to reflect on how well we complimented each other – Jim had a great eye for detail, a focused vision of the final product, an understanding of the process, and the confidence in what we could achieve. His confidence helped us get through some difficult times. His insight into people and his desire to do things to better everyone involved with a project helped instill the values our company still lives by today. While Jim was here, we launched more than 20 boats – including the first double planked boat and the first cold molded boat for our company, and opened our repair facility.

In 1996, after realizing the dream of all that Jarrett Bay came to be, Jim moved to the North Carolina Mountains with his family and followed another dream of going back to school. Since then, he returned to his roots and built several boats, and has been a valued consultant to first time boat builders. He continues to help others achieve their dreams while passing along the knowledge that Omie Tillett, Myron Harris and Ray Davis passed along to us. Jim was vital to building our company’s foundation, and his accomplishments are still evident here each day.

See all 25th Anniversary Honorees to date >


  1. Larry Smith

    Well said Captain Randy. I really enjoyed the interaction with you & Jim back in the old days at the BIG ROCK. You are both CLASS ACTS ! It’s truly amazing what Jarrett Bay has become since then. I’m sure that Jim played a big role in your success. Please give him my best.


  2. Terry Holland

    Your recognition of JIm Luxton jogged up some of the very best memories of my close to 70 years on this earth. The great times we had fishing and telling tall tales while waiting for the wind to die down at Harker’s Island and Calico Jack’s with Paul “Turkey” Hodges were truly special. Jim is smart as whip and as good a teacher of Biology and/or fishing as you will ever find. I am glad to hear that he gave up the mountains and returned to the coast. Please hug him for me and bring him to a REAL football experience here at ECU. Since State is not playing us this year, you don’t have to worry about the score and by now you better know that ECU has the best looking cheerleaders in the country.

  3. John Young

    Randy, the name Ommie tillet brings back memories. Over thirty years ago when I worked with the USACEC we used his boat the “Sam & Ommie” to survey up around the Manteo and Oregon Inlet area. Both Sam and Ommie were true watermen and southern gentlemen.

  4. mark stone

    Randy,thanks so much for sending this to me. Wow that was a very fast 25 years. It was some of the very best years of my life hanging out with you and Jim. What a great partnership you guys formed. You made a great boat for me. I am a better person for knowing you both. Best Regards, Mark Stone

  5. Bobby Purcell

    Great story Randy. You are always good about sharing credit with others. That is one reason you have been so successful. Tell Terry Holland that a Davidson grad doesn’t know much about fishing and that we let ECU win last season just to make him look good. The best thing about Terry is that he is from Clinton (my hometown, too)! Turkey Hodges was from near there, too. Terry, you’re spending too much time looking at the cheerleaders!!


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