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Author Topic: Commercial Fishing  (Read 38466 times)

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #315 on: February 22, 2018, 11:03:01 PM »
Wish I had more pics to share of the longlining, but it is a constantly busy job.  No downtime, and the rare few minutes I had between baiting, setting and hauling gear were spent stuffing my face with calories.  We used "snap gear", which is a long groundline (our sets were short at 1.5-ish miles long, or about 12 600' "skates" of gear) that we snapped baited hooks onto as it went out the back of the boat.  Snapping on gear is not a job for the timid.  The line is running off the boat, and the baited hooks are swinging around as you snap them into the running line.  Lots of what felt like were close calls,  but no injuries on setting. If we go again, I'll have to get a vid, it's hard to explain the crazy.

In fact, the only pic I have from the trip is of that big ling above.  Kind of bittersweet, since she brought decent money but was totally engorged with eggs.  There was at least 10# of eggs in her.  I showed the egg sac to the skipper, a very tough guy, and he said "Aw, now I feel kinda bad about getting her."  None of us like to kill these fish, but it is an incidental catch.  Our ling take was only 1.2% of our total catch (by numbers), for perspective.

The interesting part of catching these big lings is that they don't hit the little chunk of herring we're putting on the hook - they're eating the rockfish already hooked.  Most of them have nearly completely swallowed the rockfish head first, and those things are so spiny they aren't coming out without gutting the ling. So, catch and release isn't really practical. The ling has a rockfish and a #14 SS circle hook down in her gut, and she can't pass that.
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #316 on: February 22, 2018, 11:07:58 PM »
Skillet, have you ever fished in West Port Frederick? When I scaled logs out of Hoonah, they did pretty good This time of year or a little later, sometimes, on kings, right in front of the log yard at West Port. If I remember right it was mostly local hand trollers.

I haven't.  Fishing inside waters would be nice tho!  Got 18' seas out front right now...  I'll check the harvest to see if anything is going on up there. Thanks for the tip!  :tup:
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #317 on: February 22, 2018, 11:14:01 PM »
Dude, that looks like a sketchy run in the daylight! Did you run it on a flood?

Actually went through at the bottom of a  -.5 foot ebb.  Didn't leave any bottom paint in there, so all is good  :chuckle:

There are a few channels/narrows I don't like to run at night, and I won't run Keku Strait at night. I don't even like running that one in broad daylight with no wind.
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Duckslayer89

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #318 on: February 22, 2018, 11:16:37 PM »
Ended up in Camp Island Bay that night, running partner said he knew of a dock in there we could leave two of our boats at so the three of us could jump on one boat to longline.  It was a sweet float in a protected cove in the SW corner of the bay.  Our boats would be safe to leave unattended for a couple of days.  We slept in a bit, pic of us getting ready to leave on the Pacific Bounty (rafted on the outside of me) for the rockfish grounds.

Skillet didnít the mirage sink? Did they salvage?

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #319 on: February 22, 2018, 11:22:21 PM »
She went hard aground a few years ago, holed the hull and had to wait for an extra high tide to float her off.  Jeff did a total rebuild on her - huge advantage of steel boats, they're infintely repairable.  He lost a season fishing, but came back stronger and much better looking. She's a freezer boat now.
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Offline RB

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #320 on: February 22, 2018, 11:26:17 PM »
The best laid plans...

We were chasing "radio fish" (reports you hear through the grapevine, or on the VHF) and got caught looking for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  The catch reports looked really good from the previous week, and we heard it was still going on.  About 100 miles down the coast from Sitka as the crow flies.  At 7 kts, that's a haul for a few fish.  But I had that longline job to do as a backup, what could go wrong?  Amirite??

We ran and fished kings hard, in some hard weather.  I got 5 in three days, slow by any measure. But especially slow when you've just spent 14 hours running to get there.   Sold the trip in Craig, rebooted and regeared for longlining rockfish from the Pacific Bounty, and headed back out with dreams of orange gold filling the hold.

Heading towards San Christoval Pass from Craig in the evening-

My grandfather and the trollers he fished with had their own radio code (before cell phones) and would relay where the hot spots were, some erroneous locations may have been broadcast  :)
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Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #321 on: February 22, 2018, 11:46:40 PM »
Our longline trip wasn't nearly as yelloweye-heavy as we wanted.  We got into a big number of quillback, and a fair bunch of p-cod, but yelloweye were fairly scarce. Considering we were limited to a 6000# trip limit, and a pound of quillback is worth 1/3 of what a pound of yelloweye is, it was a bit of a disappointment.  It was not for lack of trying, our skipper is a hard working, driven man, and I can find no fault in his efforts. 

At any rate, we called the longline trip done after three days and went back to our boats.  The otters had gotten on deck and rearranged some gear, but otherwise everything was skookum.   We all got our own boats running and started for home, a short 120-ish nm away.  We were racing an incoming low, and wanted (needed) to get across Lower Chatam from Decision pass to Cape Omany before the winds hit. About a 16 mile run.  It was a pretty strong ebb, and with that much water flowing out you don't want to get caught in a strong opposing wind there.  It's a known danger point.  But, here again, I found myself running at night pushing pretty hard to get across.  Funny enough, if I did beat it my "reward" was to run the outer Baranof coast in a beam-to 35kt gale for 15 miles before we could duck into a fair anchorage.  Some prize, eh?

We didn't beat it, unfortunately.  About halfway across the snow started, then the wind.  It took about 15 minutes to really whip up the seas, and I deployed my stabilizers just in time to calm my ride. The water stood up pretty tall, and I had to throttle way back. Even with the ebb, I was only making 4kts good. But between going up and down over (and sometimes through) those steep waves I probably covered twice the distance over the srface than over the bottom. The final hour was abit rough, but our boat parade finally turned the corner at Wooden Island and started in the beam-to seas along the outer coast. Two hours later we pulled into Puffin Bay and dropped the hook.  I slept well that night...
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #322 on: February 22, 2018, 11:49:43 PM »
The best laid plans...

We were chasing "radio fish" (reports you hear through the grapevine, or on the VHF) and got caught looking for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  The catch reports looked really good from the previous week, and we heard it was still going on.  About 100 miles down the coast from Sitka as the crow flies.  At 7 kts, that's a haul for a few fish.  But I had that longline job to do as a backup, what could go wrong?  Amirite??

We ran and fished kings hard, in some hard weather.  I got 5 in three days, slow by any measure. But especially slow when you've just spent 14 hours running to get there.   Sold the trip in Craig, rebooted and regeared for longlining rockfish from the Pacific Bounty, and headed back out with dreams of orange gold filling the hold.

Heading towards San Christoval Pass from Craig in the evening-

My grandfather and the trollers he fished with had their own radio code (before cell phones) and would relay where the hot spots were, some erroneous locations may have been broadcast  :)

 :chuckle:  We've all been known to a little broadcast seeding of misinformation on the V from time to time... I think of it like a bluff in poker.  It's a business decision  :tup:
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #323 on: February 22, 2018, 11:58:38 PM »
I awoke with a new plan.  Our longline boat had a trip on board and couldn't fish for kings on the way home, but I could.  We agreed to meet back in Sitka the following day to unload/scrub/reset his boat for trolling, and I would try a little fishing on the way back. Relatively new territory to me, and low expectations - perfect combo for a leisurely work day.

The wind blew itself out in the early morning hours, and I emerged from Puffin Bay to a very calm ocean. 
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 01:02:14 AM by Skillet »
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #324 on: February 23, 2018, 12:11:00 AM »

It was not a fruitful trip home, but I did run over a lot of new ground planning future trips (a side note - whoever charted that area of the South Outer Baranof Coast was either drunk or stoned, or both.  I'd heard it was inaccurate, but that is an understatement). I did see a buddy boat fishing down there and gathered some good intel on what's been going down since I had left town a week earlier.  Sounds like I didn't miss much, and it was a nice distraction from the usual winter grind at Cape Edgecumbe.

I've since been out on a few short trips, caught a few fish, making wages but not much more.  Fish just aren't in yet. Got a line on a crew spot on a king crabber in SE, we'll see if the deal is good enough to get me to park my boat and work for another skipper again.
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Sitka_Blacktail

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #325 on: February 23, 2018, 01:02:25 AM »
Here's a couple shots from the last time I fished halibut. This was with a friend who had about 6500 lbs of quota. Maybe has half that now with the cuts in quota.  We were fishing six skates and it would take us 2-3 days to fill his quota. One year we did it in a day, but we really hit the fish that year.  Most years the school fish are still out deep when we did the quota in the spring.
A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears. ~ Michel de Montaigne

Online 7mmfan

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #326 on: February 23, 2018, 08:43:13 AM »
South Baranof was where I spent about 75% of my time for a few years. I love that ground down there. You're 100% correct about the inaccuracies of the charting down there. I had several spots that I fished down there that if you went strictly by the chart, didn't even exist. It was fun learning it, I'd love to get back up there and spend some time on that water again.
I hunt, therefore I am.... I fish, therefore I lie.

Offline PolarBear

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #327 on: February 23, 2018, 09:23:29 AM »
My cousin Dewey Owns and runs the Republic out of Sitka. He long lines halibut and black cod.
P&Y bucks & bulls, predators and any game fish that swims!!
Life is too short to settle for dinks!

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #328 on: February 23, 2018, 09:36:49 AM »
My cousin Dewey Owns and runs the Republic out of Sitka. He long lines halibut and black cod.

I know the boat, he keeps it really nice. Love those old halibut schooners.
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Offline PolarBear

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #329 on: February 23, 2018, 11:48:35 AM »
I think it is actually on the historical registry.  The think is like 100 years old.  LOL!
P&Y bucks & bulls, predators and any game fish that swims!!
Life is too short to settle for dinks!

 

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