Hunting Washington Forum

Other Activities => Fishing => Topic started by: Skillet on January 19, 2017, 10:44:40 PM

Title: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 19, 2017, 10:44:40 PM
With the recent thread on the prioritization of sports fishing I have noticed a significant amount of misinformation and a trend towards negative attitudes towards the commercial fishing fleet as a whole.  I get it – in Washington’s bizzaro-world situation that resulted from the Boldt decision, what would normally be only a normal amount of animosity between user groups has been turned into a full-on cage match between the participants in the non-tribal half.  When I was a sport fisherman for the nearly 20 years I fished for salmon, I too lamented the commercial fleet as having too much of the take. 

Note I said “was" a sports fisherman. 

My name is Skillet, and I am now a Commercial Salmon Troller in SE Alaska.  I’m typing this while anchored up in Symonds Bay on Biorka Island, about 10 miles out of Sitka, AK, a place I amazingly get 4G service.  Winter kings are the quarry, and they are elusive…

I’m starting this thread for a few reasons.  First, I think the majority of people on this site would appreciate the pictures, stories and lifestyle that myself and other commercial fishing members of the HuntWa family have to offer.  I’ve only been doing this for three years now, after I made the decision to leave my full-time and rock-solid corporate career of 12 years to pursue this dream.  But I know there are others on this site that fish for a living, and the overall vibe of the site is turning a bit anti-commercial fishing.  Again, being a salmon sport fisherman for almost 20 years I get the underlying reasons, but I’m hoping that by reading about your fellow HuntWa members who have chosen this lifestyle as a way of earning a living it will help people understand the other side.  In particular, I hope to educate people about the troll fleet in general, the AK troll fleet specifically, and how we strive to have a sustainable fishery for generations to come.

It is important to me to keep this thread positive.  If you have questions, feel free to ask, I or hopefully other knowledgeable fellows will jump in to answer.  No BS zone here – if I don’t know the answer I’ll put it on my to-do list and get back to you asap.  I don’t currently fish salmon in WA, only AK – but might do WA if the correct opportunity presented itself.  Fish politics are very complicated, and I’m just getting involved in them.  But I will ask that if you’re going to try and troll me or other “commies,” or have a burning desire to just flame me or other fisherman for what we do, please start your own thread and use the @skillet tag to notify me of our profession’s crucifixion there.  I’ll be happy to be drug through the dirt on your turf – but please respect my hope this thread will be a great place to keep the stories and images that I feel my HuntWa family can appreciate.  I hope to keep adding to this thread as part of my career over the next X-number of years.  I’m not brand-new, but I think I can fish for a while longer yet and plan on keeping this thread upated as I get back to cell and wifi coverage over the seasons I fish.  This is my life now, and I am willing to share it with the HuntWa folks if they’ll have it.  If not… I’ll delete it and go back to my anonymous fish-killing ways.

I also invite other commercial fisherman to jump on and share their stories and images.  Any good/positive stories about commercial fishing by non-commercials are welcome too.  I am hoping this can be a clearing house for good fishing vibes.

One thing to note – there are a handful of folks on this site that know who I am, and what I do.  Of those, a very few I consider my “Team Washington” (along with my family) that have gone above and beyond to keep me on the drag and landing fish.  Woodchuck, Pianoman, Ridgeratt, H20hunter, Camo – you guys are the greatest and I appreciate everything you’ve done.  Other folks have chipped in where needed, too numerous to list - and know that I appreciate every one of you.  Any commercial fisherman will tell you that the home team is a huge part of our success while we’re out being waterborne vagabonds turning nature’s bounty into the best seafood available.



I’ll start by offering up a pic of my boat, my trusty steed, my home away from home, my world for 10 months a year -  the F/V Diamond Lil.  She is a 47’ steel freezer troller, of Ed Monk design, weighs 80K# dry, built in Moss Landing CA and originally meant for the albacore tuna/swordfish fisheries down there.  These boats make great salmon & albacore freezer boats though. I’m pretty sweet on her, and I think she’s a beaut.  I may be a little biased... but this girl can catch fish.


Here she is in Jan after lying up for the winter in Seattle.  Some rust to clean up, but it is a steel boat after all.

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20160127_114231.jpg&hash=aa433a2105d54aa02503c3cc2eca5eba)


Here we are fishing the good wx in June in Sitka Sound, pic taken by a friend on the opposite tack.  This is "West Channel".

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2FIMG_3622%25202.jpg&hash=66a7328d3b53c0e880a91c51f32803db)



She can pack almost 15k# of coho in ice, or 12k# of FAS coho.  I fish her interchangeably as a freezer, and ice boat and a slush boat – just depends on the fishery and customer needs. She has a blast freezer on board that will bring a salmon carcass down to -38 deg F.  But it’s a dry cold... 

A quick list of the work I did with her in 2016 – the fisheries available to a guy like me on a boat like this are numerous, you just need to decide where to park your money in permits and get to work.  I hold several permits now, but only the Power Troll license is limited-entry.  That means there are no new licenses being issued and I need to buy one off of a fisherman who is quitting or retiring.  The prices for a power troll permit vary wildly, historically ranging from a few thousand bucks to over $65K.  I got mine somewhere in the middle… I could write a book about the permits and prices, might be a good topic for another post later. 


For the fishing, my 2016 looked like this-

Early May – Spring kings. Primarily hatchery fish, they keep us penned in tight to the shore and limited days in most areas to minimize impact on treaty fish.

Mid-May – Ling cod dinglebar fishery out on the Fairweather Grounds.  It opens elsewhere as well, but the Fairweather grounds are where you want to be if you have boat that can take it.   A dinglebar rig is like an 80# bottom bouncer for walleye – with a dozen 10/0 jigs trailing behind it called a train.  Pulling up a loaded train is a complete hoot and will challenge your biceps in big waves.  The Fairweather Grounds are an offshore plateau that comes up to 30 fa (that means it shallows up to 180 feet deep for you lubbers) out of really deep water and is a fish factory.  But May 40-70 miles offshore in the Gulf of Alaska is nothing to play with, so you need to pull up your big boy pants to commit to heading out there.  More on that later-

Late May-June 25th – repair whatever you broke on the Fairweather Grounds chasing lingcod and get back to shaking down the boat on spring kings.  The fishing gets really limited, but that’s ok.  You usually have boat work to do, get your crew squared away with your processes, and attend to the details a boat owner/captain has to.  Get your rest.  Time is limited, everything has got to be ready - the troller’s grind is about to start.

July 1 – 1St summer king opener.  This is the big show for the Alaskan Commercial Troller.  You have just a few days to make what will be a significant portion of your season’s earnings.  2016 first opener went 5 days.  With 20 hours of daylight and willing kings and coho, nobody sleeps much.  I started out on the Fairweather Grounds and moved in towards the Cape Cross area on day 4 to finish up.

July 6th (2016) – unload, refuel, reprovision, charge out for the coho.  This is the “other” salmon we catch as trollers, and while they aren’t worth what kings are they usually make up the bulk of our $$ every year.  I cannot begin to tell you how many coho I’ve killed over the last few years.  They are 99% AK fish, some Canadian bound. This is a grind fishery - ever watched Groundhog Day?  Some guys head for the chum grounds instead, but I like coho fishing.  Will go dog fishing in the future if I need to though.

Aug 5-ish – mid season break.  We’re usually ready for that, since there’s been no days off since July 1.  Get a group of friends, find a beach, light a fire, drink that beer and have a cookout.  Sitka as a town seems to help us all relax at this point, especially the “P Bar” – the local fisherman’s bar.  If you ever get to Sitka, this is a must-do. 

Aug 8-ish – Hope the hangover didn’t last too long and you got your king gear tied up, because this is the second king opener.  The first opener is designed to catch 65-ish percent of the AK quota, the second opener is the mop-up.  In 2015, we didn’t even get a second opener.  In 2016, it went three weeks.  Fishing is anything but consistent.  We usually get a bunch of coho during the second king opener, so it’s a blast.

Mid-Aug to Sept 30 - (or, end of second king opener until coho closes) – Back to the grind.  This is when you start questioning the wisdom of being a commercial troller.  Every day it is grinding gear, cleaning and icing (or freezing) fish, delivering at the end of every trip, etc.  You can go a full month and a half without seeing town by delivering to tenders, who will resupply you with what you need.  By now we’ve been working every day, sunup to sundown and running at night, since July 1.  Except that mid-season break of three days… Write that dedicated crewman his last summer salmon check, buy him a nice steak dinner and drive him to the airport.  He’ll feel rich - for a while!

*Sept 15-ish – this is when the major part of the Washington/Oregon fleet that has AK licenses break south.  The weather (wx) can turn fast mid-Sept, and if you are ready to go you go.  Playing around with staying for a few more days of coho fishing isn’t worth it when you see the big storms brewing out in the GOA (Gulf of Alaska).  Unless you plan on staying up for the winter fisheries, clear out.

Oct 1 to Oct 10 – If you have a pot shrimp permit, this is your season. For the rest of us, it is a time to tie up, sleep in for a few days and start the list of what needs fixing. It is ALWAYS a long list.  But get to it – winter kings open on Oct 11!

Oct 11 thru April 15 – Winter kings, unless quota is reached and they close early.  This is a rough-weather fishery.  They don’t let us out past the “surf line”, but that’s plenty for me.  Today I fished the line in Sitka Sound in 20 knots westerly and 10 ft swell – all while snowing.  Very typical for this year, and have heard this is a tame winter wx-wise.  We’ll see what the future holds.  I need to run the boat south very soon to haulout and do my annual repair/maintenance, hoping to be back up here by April to fish the late winter season.  And then it starts over again. 

As you can see, there has been a serious crimp put in my hunting.  I hope to get a bit of moose hunting in up in AK, blacktail on Baranof, and maybe even a late hunt when I fly home for the holidays in WA.  The fishing seasons will dictate my hunting future from now on.  And I'm ok with that as a cost of my decision to make this my life.

I hope this is well received by the majority of the HuntWa family in the spirit in which it is intended.  I think I could easily fill pages upon pages with pics, video and stories – as I’m sure some other old salts could.  Let’s see what you all think, and I’ll either keep adding on or just nuke it.

Signing off,

Skillet

Captain of F/V Diamond Lil
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 19, 2017, 11:06:36 PM
Great read Skilllet.  :tup:

What's your scariest moment while out at sea?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 19, 2017, 11:15:15 PM
Ha, going to have to think on that.  I thought I was going to make an unscheduled beaching once last year on my old boat due to a bubble in the diesel air line at a very inopportune time, but this year I had a close call of another sort.  Going to have to ask my insurance agent if he hunts before I can tell that story on here  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on January 19, 2017, 11:37:30 PM
 :tup:
Awesome write up!

I have fished ten seasons in Bristol Bay for sockeye. 32' boat with 2-3 other guys on board. Half the boat is dedicated to fishing the other half to eating and getting sleep when a person can. It's a pretty slam bang terminal fishery with approx. 1200 boats catching an average 30 some million (sometimes upwards of 50 million) fish in about three weeks. The most recent year I fished we were working nine hours sleeping three on repeat.

I started when I was 13 with my dad and uncle. Since that first year it is in my blood, I yearn for it. The excitement of flying in to this remote place with the unknown of what the fish gods will let you have. Getting the crap beaten out of you when the winds hit 60, the seas are at 15' and only a coward stays in because today might be the day that you load up the boat.

I wouldn't trade my experiences in for anything!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sakko300wsm on January 20, 2017, 04:44:40 AM
Great right up skillet! I build custom aluminum Bristol Bay boats and aluminum seiners here in Washington - so I can always appreciate a good commercial fishing write up!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skyvalhunter on January 20, 2017, 05:23:53 AM
Love the write up Skillet!! Love to see more pictures. Is it very profitable for you? Meaning for the amount of hours spent working/fishing is it justifiable? How many people are on your crew? Is that many boats fishing this time of the year? Do you sell to a broker or to restaurants that may come up and purchase like Ivars, or Anthony's?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Fl0und3rz on January 20, 2017, 05:29:41 AM
It's good to hear that you are doing it your way.  I hope the generator is serving you well.

Fair winds and following seas.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bracer40 on January 20, 2017, 06:32:59 AM
Thanks for sharing Skillet! I'm looking forward to following this thread.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Special T on January 20, 2017, 06:55:46 AM
I think it's great that your going to take time to share your stories.  I think through them you will be able to shed some light on the challenges Washington faces.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 07:55:21 AM
Thanks for the comments fellas, I'm glad this is getting off on the right foot.

Boss300 - I figured out what counts as the scariest on the water for me, and I'll tell that story at some point soon.  Got some good pics and such to support it. Will tag you when I do so you know.

Flounderz - yessir, the genset is holding up like a champ. Thanks again for jumping thru all the hoops you did to get it up here for me.

I think on it while fishing today and get a list of stories to tell. Maybe have time to throw one or two up before I have to head south.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on January 20, 2017, 07:58:54 AM
Right on! My grandfather started power trolling Sitka in the 1950's both of his boats are still in the area last I heard. He had a 50 foot steel hulled sailboat named the Blue Jacket which I believe is out of Port Alexander still today, the other is a 36 foot fiberglass Delta (part of the tupperware fleet he would say) named Adagio that my uncle ran until just a few years ago.

I spent the summer of 1985 in Sitka the year my grandpa sold the Blue Jacket and still to this day is the best fishing experience i have had. We left Sitka and worked our way outside and up the coast to Elfin Cove and back, all the while listening to stories about all the days he had fished in these areas. Best day I had was 110 Coho, and my grandpa then told me about the 1,000 fish days he had over his career and the long days.

My brother lived in Sitka from 1983 till about 2005 and I was able to make several trips to hunt and fish while he was there. Have been to the head end of Necker Bay, through Surgis Narrows to North Arm, both ends of Redoubt Lake and all around Biorka  and the hot springs area in a skiff.

Keep the stories and pictures coming this is awesome!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: nwwanderer on January 20, 2017, 08:00:42 AM
Thanks, will follow along.  We have family at Gustavus, have spent as few days and nights on Shelter Island, caught coho off the beach with fly gear, halibut for my son that matched his young 100# frame, pinks at Glacier Bay, kings at deep creek, learned to respect feeding moose and rode along with family doing what you do in the summer.  Keep that dry suit handy and I hope you never need it.  Fish on!!!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on January 20, 2017, 08:10:56 AM
I am really looking forward to watching this thread. Be safe my friend.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on January 20, 2017, 08:17:13 AM
Oh good ol' Symonds Bay. I spent 5 years running a charter boat out of Sitka, and spent a lot of time around Biorka, fishing Grandpas, the Rock, Legma, The Beehive, etc... that group of islands is one of my most favorite places on earth. I saw first hand how hard you guys work, and I don't envy it for a minute. My days were a walk in the park comparatively. Most commercial guys I ran into up there were genuinely nice guys that didn't take much BS and worked hard. I did have a few run ins with autopilot trollers while anchored for halibut out off the edge, but those were minimal. Have fun working those Vitskari kings over shortly!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on January 20, 2017, 09:13:01 AM
Oh good ol' Symonds Bay. I spent 5 years running a charter boat out of Sitka, and spent a lot of time around Biorka, fishing Grandpas, the Rock, Legma, The Beehive, etc... that group of islands is one of my most favorite places on earth. I saw first hand how hard you guys work, and I don't envy it for a minute. My days were a walk in the park comparatively. Most commercial guys I ran into up there were genuinely nice guys that didn't take much BS and worked hard. I did have a few run ins with autopilot trollers while anchored for halibut out off the edge, but those were minimal. Have fun working those Vitskari kings over shortly!

 :yeah:

Fished Vitskari with my brother and his buddies one day and it was so hot we were done in about 30 min with seven kings in the 20's and had shaken a couple smaller ones as well. We were only fishing two rods and both were cut plug herring.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Wetwoodshunter on January 20, 2017, 09:15:32 AM
Great write up so far Skillet and I wish you the best in your commercial fishing endeavors. I additionally am tied into commercial fisheries through my work and support commercial and rec fisheries.

Aside from the tribes with salmon there is one huge difference between Alaska and Washington salmon management. The Alaska uses an abundance based management strategy for the fisheries, so like you showed in your write up Alaska schedules large derby style fisheries with short duration to catch its quota in a relatively quick manner. What this ends up doing is if a particular run from a particular stream is migrating or feeding through the area when the Alaska commercial fishery gets opened the run gets hammered. A good example of this is the Hoko River in WA, 98% of the chinook that are commercially harvested are harvested in AK even though it is Washington river.

In Washington the salmon are managed under weak stock management. In this scenario as opposed to abundance based management you are only allowed "X" impact on your weakest stock until the fishery gets shut down, this allows the weak stock to meet its escapement goals. The Washington fisheries are managed on a much longer time scale with smaller limits in order to spread the impact over many runs.

With weak stock management you tend to see lower quotas in mixed stock fisheries (e.g. ocean troll, ocean gillnet, setnet, and seining) But in the river systems where the runs are healthy, where you know where your impacts are occurring to specific runs, you can have increased sport fishing pressure and commercial fisheries.

With the upcoming signing of the Pacific Salmon treaty I would love to see AK move to weak stock management as it helps protect the salmon runs for the future. But politically the mixed stock AK fishermen may not like this approach because it could potentially cost them money since a longer season with lower trip limits increases the expense/profit margin of running a vessel.

Anyway, food for thought from the policy side.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on January 20, 2017, 09:27:38 AM


Aside from the tribes with salmon there is one huge difference between Alaska and Washington salmon management. The Alaska uses an abundance based management strategy for the fisheries, so like you showed in your write up Alaska schedules large derby style fisheries with short duration to catch its quota in a relatively quick manner. What this ends up doing is if a particular run from a particular stream is migrating or feeding through the area when the Alaska commercial fishery gets opened the run gets hammered. A good example of this is the Hoko River in WA, 98% of the chinook that are commercially harvested are harvested in AK even though it is Washington river.


While I'm sure this has and does happen, I think it is less prevalent than some people think. We caught a lot of hatchery fish up there. The fish checkers always took the heads from hatchery fish and sent us back the run info on those fish. Not once did I ever get information from the same river on the same day,(other than the Medvejie Hatchery right in Sitka) even though all those fish were caught out of the same school of salmon. One day that stands out to me involved 4 hatchery fish. 1 was from the Medvejie hatchery right in Sitka, 1 from Wenatchee River, 1 from the Humptulips River, and 1 from the Trask River in Oregon. It was an eye opener for me.

Now that is only 4 drops in a giant bucket compared to the number of fish taken during the summer king opener, but it goes to show how mixed those fish are in that area. It is where almost every single king salmon on the west coast goes to grow up, so the stocks are very mixed.

I will add, that certain runs of fish did appear to frequent certain areas, usually inshore areas close to the islands. Those fish were different than the open ocean fish, and I felt they were a specific run of fish. I also saw the same thing in small holes along the coast. Places where there might only be a few dozen fish at any one time, and they all shared similar characteristics. These spots were not spots frequented by trollers though, as they were to tight and confined to fish effectively that way.

In reality, I feel that as a whole, we know very little about fish migration, and the intricacies of it from stock to stock. There is a lot to learn.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 09:31:40 AM
Thanks for the thoughts wetwoodshunter and 7mmfan.
Hoping to keep this thread positive with a focus on the stories, the techniques and the lifestyle, and leaving the politics (and inevitable debate) to other threads since there are so many ways to present information to argue for one position or another.  Happy to engage in those debates elsewhere, to the depths I can intelligently.
Thanks!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on January 20, 2017, 09:33:56 AM
Thanks for the thoughts wetwoodshunter and 7mmfan.
Hoping to keep this thread positive with a focus on the stories, the techniques and the lifestyle, and leaving the politics (and inevitable debate) to other threads since there are so many ways to present information to argue for one position or another.  Happy to engage in those debates elsewhere, to the depths I can intelligently.
Thanks!

Sorry boss, I'll do better next time   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Wetwoodshunter on January 20, 2017, 09:35:55 AM
Awesome Skillet!

I would love to see some video or pictures of you and your crew running the rail this year. So much fun!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 09:38:00 AM
Ha, no worries.  It can get really contentious, people are passionate about it!
FYI, rubbing bioka reef right at the line now. Lots of humpbacks working it.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on January 20, 2017, 09:44:50 AM
Ha, no worries.  It can get really contentious, people are passionate about it!
FYI, rubbing bioka reef right at the line now. Lots of humpbacks working it.

Always got excited when the whales were there, usually game on!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on January 20, 2017, 09:48:53 AM
Ha, no worries.  It can get really contentious, people are passionate about it!
FYI, rubbing bioka reef right at the line now. Lots of humpbacks working it.

 :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DOUBLELUNG on January 20, 2017, 11:37:00 AM
I appreciate you and anyone else "living the dream" sharing your experiences.  I briefly considered becoming a professional hunter (not in the US) after my divorce in 1994, decided instead to marry a great American girl and raise a family with a traditional career.  I don't regret my decision, but I am glad I seriously considered other alternatives before settling on a "conventional" life.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WAcoueshunter on January 20, 2017, 11:53:58 AM
Cool stuff Skillet, keep it coming!   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 11:59:53 AM
Thanks man, I appreciate that. Doubleling, the personal and financial sacrifice has been tremendous, but it has been worth it for me.

Here's a vid that is a bit cheesy, but I think it captures a bit of the hope, trepidation and peace I feel as I push the boat through Canadian waters on my way to AK each spring. 

https://youtu.be/4eYF03b-jq4 (https://youtu.be/4eYF03b-jq4)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Whitpirate on January 20, 2017, 01:14:58 PM
Great read and what I know of men willing to go full time fishing is that the offseason is never off and when on the grounds it is time to grind. 

My question when you are on the long term grind delivering to tenders what's your average food day look like?  How do you resupply?  Got any boat box deals in the end of seasons as I'd be interested in purchasing direct.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: plugger on January 20, 2017, 01:22:15 PM
Spent 3 summers in  the late 80s working on the Valle Lee out of Sitka (Based in Port Angeles) trolling and we would hit the halibut opening on occasion, weather permitting. They were 24 hr openings back then. Wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but I would never do it again LOL. Nothing funner than the kings. Crazy when those big ones would hit, stretching out the springs on the tag lines, shaking the poles, busting 100 lb test on the inside deep like nothing. Good times for sure.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: HUNTINCOUPLE on January 20, 2017, 01:52:59 PM
 :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Night goat on January 20, 2017, 04:07:41 PM
skillet



thanks for an awesome thread

im a fisherman myself, and have fished off and on for years and work as a marine diesel mechanic when not up north. I have seined, gillnetted, crabbed dungies and opilio, tendered and engineered on seiners, and every trip is worth a lifetime of stories. made me who I am today, and damned proud call myself a commercial fisherman!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 05:05:33 PM
Thanks fellas. If I don't respond to your questions, just know that I'm trying to figure out if they either are part of a story I can tell our they are a bit better suited for a more focused reply than I can give while out here on the grounds.

One thing I've noticed that almost every guy here had said about getting on a commercial boat - they wouldn't trade the experience for anything.  It's true for me, too.  The only thing I regret about leaving the security and comfort of my regular life is that I didn't do it sooner.   I am completely ruined for 9-5 work from now on.  Nothing will give me the same thrill as wrassling a 25+# king the last three fathoms (leader length) to the boat by hand. Or pulling up wire after wire loaded with coho top to bottom.  Or finding a pile of hungry fish with nobody else around for miles.

It gets in your blood.

To paraphrase John Muir:

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."


Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Buzz2401 on January 20, 2017, 05:14:57 PM
I am all for commercial fishing in Alaska but don't feel like it really has a place in Washington anymore.  We have a different economy down here and way less fishing resources.  We need commercial fishing in this country but I believe it is much more sustainable in Alaska then here in the lower 48.  But until we get tribal nets out of the rivers none of this matters.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 on January 20, 2017, 05:23:24 PM
I am all for commercial fishing in Alaska but don't feel like it really has a place in Washington anymore.  We have a different economy down here and way less fishing resources.  We need commercial fishing in this country but I believe it is much more sustainable in Alaska then here in the lower 48.  But until we get tribal nets out of the rivers none of this matters.

Different economy down here? There's a huge market for fresh wild fish here. Where do you think most of the catch from AK comes? Yes the nets need to come out of the water and everyone can play fair.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jstone on January 20, 2017, 05:37:08 PM
1995 I went up to Alaska on a purse seiner. We fished SE Alaska had the time of my life. The only reason that I didn't keep doing it was my daughter was 1. It was hard on the wife, and when my daughter forgot who I was when I got home BROKE MY HEART. Hard work but one of those life experiences that I would never forget. I love the pictures brings back memories. And I remember when some of those HUGE kings hit the deck. Back in those days we had to throw the kings back. But they where big. And fishing for fresh halibut between sets. Awesome. Also learned how to fly fish up there. I tell you I didn't know what I was doing and I caught all kinds of fish in those lakes. Keep the pictures and stories coming.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Buzz2401 on January 20, 2017, 05:45:53 PM
I am all for commercial fishing in Alaska but don't feel like it really has a place in Washington anymore.  We have a different economy down here and way less fishing resources.  We need commercial fishing in this country but I believe it is much more sustainable in Alaska then here in the lower 48.  But until we get tribal nets out of the rivers none of this matters.

Different economy down here? There's a huge market for fresh wild fish here. Where do you think most of the catch from AK comes? Yes the nets need to come out of the water and everyone can play fair.

Yes we have a way different economy.  We have way more opportunity for someone to find a career outside fishing or working on the slope.  We need commercial fisherman to supply the world with fish, but the small amount that is harvested down here has a much bigger impact on our overall resource down here.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 05:52:06 PM
Looking to keep this a politics-free thread as much as possible fellas, hoping we can keep this space reserved for the stories, pictures and vids of commercial fishing.

Thanks!
 :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jstone on January 20, 2017, 05:54:40 PM
 :tup: :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on January 20, 2017, 06:44:52 PM
Looking to keep this a politics-free thread as much as possible fellas, hoping we can keep this space reserved for the stories, pictures and vids of commercial fishing.

Thanks!
 :tup:


I think we can manage to keep the thread from derailing or piracy threadjacking.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on January 20, 2017, 07:29:15 PM
So I don't have to keep it a secret anymore  :chuckle:
I like seeing the pics and hearing about it, I had friends back in high school who worked on the boats back in the late 80's.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 07:39:17 PM
So I don't have to keep it a secret anymore  :chuckle:
I like seeing the pics and hearing about it, I had friends back in high school who worked on the boats back in the late 80's.

Haha, the truth will set you free! Thanks for being a good sport tho Run.  :tup:  How's Chip?

I'm uploading a few pics now, hopefully you will see some pics and stories that sound really familiar.  Sounds like we have quite a few old seiner, Bristol Bay and troller hands on the board.  Hoping some more of these salts will recall good stories or dig out some of those old pics of fishing and share.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bracer40 on January 20, 2017, 08:42:59 PM
I wish I could put my hands on a book I received as a gift years ago. It was a collection of stories by commercial fishermen in Alaska.
Fascinating stuff.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on January 20, 2017, 09:16:05 PM
So I don't have to keep it a secret anymore  :chuckle:
I like seeing the pics and hearing about it, I had friends back in high school who worked on the boats back in the late 80's.

Haha, the truth will set you free! Thanks for being a good sport tho Run.  :tup:  How's Chip?

I'm uploading a few pics now, hopefully you will see some pics and stories that sound really familiar.  Sounds like we have quite a few old seiner, Bristol Bay and troller hands on the board.  Hoping some more of these salts will recall good stories or dig out some of those old pics of fishing and share.
Chip is still alive and kickin.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: wsmnut on January 20, 2017, 09:18:03 PM
Great stuff Skillet!
The Sitka Sound area is gorgeous.  My family have been in the fishing industry in Alaska since Dad started tendering in 1953.  3rd generation is still at it on a 1951 vintage wooden power scow.
I tendered on and off from SE to Bristol Bay and Kodiak.  I miss the trips north each Spring.  The ocean does start calling and I get a huge ache inside.
Heck, I even miss the craziness of Sitka Herring!
Love your pictures.  Keep them coming!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: pianoman9701 on January 20, 2017, 09:25:45 PM
Thanks for the great technique and wonderful kings, Skillet. You're man's man doing a job not many would do in a place that's full of hazard. Get home safely.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on January 20, 2017, 10:08:37 PM
Granddads Troller in 1984 the Bluejacket
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 10:46:04 PM
Great pic RB!  I don't recall seeing her around, doesn't mean she's not still working however.  I have mad respect for the low ADFG number boats like your granddads - they are icons in the fleet.

Here's a couple of pics I took on the dock tonight. 

@plugger

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170120_191244.jpg&hash=bcf94f6ad1241f69ef8139f910ecbbc0)
I know Gary and his current deckhand Jake.  Great operation, and I hope to someday have quota like that guy does.

Another pic, just for S&G's  @duckslayer89

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170120_191526.jpg&hash=06566ad649c7b86f39c5376e8bb001d4)


Thanks for the great technique and wonderful kings, Skillet. You're man's man doing a job not many would do in a place that's full of hazard. Get home safely.
That is some seriously high praise coming from you sir.  It was an honor.

Pman is referencing the troll-caught quality that we are all so proud of in this fleet.  Each fish is brought on board by hand, one at a time, and bled/dressed right away for the highest quality product.  The quick handling and dress technique makes or breaks a delicate fish like a winter king, and Pman's endorsement is the best I could possibly obtain. 

A few pics of what he's talking about -

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170112_191718.jpg&hash=30ac234969f4102dd071aa7549c5227f)
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170112_192018.jpg&hash=eaebfc6dcddc47cd37a68facc631bd49)
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170112_192359.jpg&hash=947bc02233aa223fa8357ab49dfafdd3)
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170112_191842.jpg&hash=303c88ba1379a259acce7c7407ab18c0)

Last night at Symonds was a little sporty.  The bay is open only to the north, so is a great place to shelter during the SW, W and NW winds we commonly get here in the winter.  Last night, however, was a 20N wind... so it was blowing right down the gut of the anchorage and and there were 2-3 footers.  Just a bit more than allows for sweet dreams.  On top of that, it was snowing when I racked out -

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170119_180348.jpg&hash=c07202d2ac1b213ce1ba484609328c71)

Believe me, I'm not complaining.  I have a Dickinson Pacific diesel stove that has been running nearly non-stop since October that gets the cabin toasty warm.  But setting the hook in that stuff solo can get a little trying when all you want to do is get inside and get warm after a long day of running gear in frigid saltwater spray.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 20, 2017, 10:54:54 PM
Great stuff Skillet!
The Sitka Sound area is gorgeous.  My family have been in the fishing industry in Alaska since Dad started tendering in 1953.  3rd generation is still at it on a 1951 vintage wooden power scow.
I tendered on and off from SE to Bristol Bay and Kodiak.  I miss the trips north each Spring.  The ocean does start calling and I get a huge ache inside.
Heck, I even miss the craziness of Sitka Herring!
Love your pictures.  Keep them coming!

I know the Eigil B.  Seemed like they spent all of May and half of June painting her up at the docks.  Can't even imagine how much more that scow could pack if you took all the paint off  :chuckle:
But they keep her nice, and she's a good working boat.  Moored on the opposite finger of me in Eliason Harbor.  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DaveMonti on January 20, 2017, 11:16:01 PM
Great idea Skillet.  I'll be following regularly!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on January 21, 2017, 06:49:15 AM
Now those are some beautiful fish.  Wow.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on January 21, 2017, 07:34:40 AM
Now if we only had a way to bring you on as a sponser and get some of this fish on the market....how do you say.....over the rail sales?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 21, 2017, 09:21:05 AM
Good morning from Elisdon harbor in Sitka-

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2FMobile%2520Uploads%2F20170121_075804.jpg&hash=8422379eca40152758f3cf25555a270b)

Will look into that H20.  I never considered selling directly via HuntWa, figured this crew gets their own meat!  But if people wanted, I'll see what it takes to sell some on here.

Speaking of which - Whitpirate, how much and what kind of fish are you looking for?   The easiest and least expensive would be a type of mixed grade and sized FAS coho next Aug/Sept.  That's around 1000# of headed and gutted frozen fish, all pressure bled.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Wetwoodshunter on January 21, 2017, 04:32:03 PM
Those kings look great skillet. Are you pressure bleeding them?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: HornHoarder on January 21, 2017, 05:40:34 PM
Hey bud! Great write up so far. I'll be following your adventure.... Good luck!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: plugger on January 21, 2017, 08:09:45 PM
Sweet, nice to see she is still fishing. New owner from when I fished. Thanks for the pics. Sure brings back some memories.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: SemperFidelis97 on January 21, 2017, 09:28:28 PM
I am really enjoying this thread. Stay safe up there.

Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Whitpirate on January 21, 2017, 11:11:36 PM
Good morning from Elisdon harbor in Sitka-

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2FMobile%2520Uploads%2F20170121_075804.jpg&hash=8422379eca40152758f3cf25555a270b)

Will look into that H20.  I never considered selling directly via HuntWa, figured this crew gets their own meat!  But if people wanted, I'll see what it takes to sell some on here.

Speaking of which - Whitpirate, how much and what kind of fish are you looking for?   The easiest and least expensive would be a type of mixed grade and sized FAS coho next Aug/Sept.  That's around 1000# of headed and gutted frozen fish, all pressure bled.


Let's play the PM game and let me buy you a beer during the down time.  I'm pretty sure we could get 1000# sold here on Hunt-WA and I've got a few groups too.  Also interested personally in some halibut but not at huge volumes.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 on January 21, 2017, 11:27:40 PM
I'll try to get some more pics skillet. Here's right before we left one year
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 22, 2017, 12:24:17 AM
Finally found a block of time to sit down and write up some answers to q’s.  Keep in mind this is just from my perspective – a troller working out of Sitka.  There are lots of commercial fishing jobs in AK, and some other guys might have different answers to the same questions.  If someone has those differing answers, please feel free to share!

Boss300 – that scariest moment story is being mulled over.  I want to take the time to write that one up right, so it might be a bit.  But it’s coming, I promise.  And it being a “new to the Fairweather Grounds” story, I think it will be worth the wait.

Skyvalhunter asked me about the economics of fishing.  There are so many factors to it.  I will try to answer your q’s as clearly as I can.


“Is it profitable for you?”

In a word – yes.  That needs to be qualified, however.  Fish prices have been good this year, and look good for next year - but were in the tank last year.  Timing is everything. Crew will always do well if they get on a fishy boat - owners will not.  My fixed costs are daunting (annual boat payment, insurances of three kinds, moorage, annual haulout, etc.), and I live in fear of the $4/gal diesel coming to a pump near me.  I change oil & filters on my main every 300 hours, and if I have to buy oil up here that is a $270 project.  Fish taxes are onerous (we pay those to the state of AK to support hatcheries).  Crew always walks off the boat with a fat check – owners rarely know if it was a profitable season until the next one starts.  Especially if you’re in the freezer troller (FAS) game – you are producing a superior quality product that is good for 18 months minimum, but you may not get paid for those fish until the broker moves them up to 12 months later.  Commercial fishing represents a huge financial risk for the permit holder/boat owner.  In the end, I hope to make enough money to reinvest in the boat, top off my 1400 gallons worth of diesel tankage and have a go at another season.  That, to me, is profitable enough until I pay the boat off and I can divert a pile of cash back into savings.  But during these first 5 years, I would about guarantee a deckhand that spends the three four prime months with me on the boat will make more taxable income than I will…


“Meaning, for the amount of hours spent working/fishing is it justifiable ?”

Oh, haha… hell no.  I’d do much better in the short run slapping a paper hat on my head and asking if you want fries with that.  I would never dare to calculate my take-home vs hours worked.  I’m sure I would be violating minimum wage standards in the extreme.  But, as I’ve mentioned before – this is a passion for which I hope to make just enough to keep going.  Eventually, I expect to be able to start catching up on the neglect my 401K is getting now, but it will be lean until I get this boat paid off.
There are many fisherman that make very good money, but almost to a man they are original or secondary quota IFQ holders.  That is when they rationalized the fisheries and awarded a guaranteed percentage of the Total Allowable Catch of halibut (and to a slightly different degree black cod) to people with historically comparable catch rates.  It helps to think of the old Norwegian halibut schooner owners like Amway’s Diamond Dozen.  They are just going to make a pile of cash every year, no matter what.  I couldn’t afford to buy a meaningful block of halibut quota, so a-trollin’ I go…


How many people are on your crew?

I run solo for the winter and spring king season, excepting the occasional local or friend that wants to come out for a short 2-3 day trip.  For dinglebar ling cod, I like to have a crew on.  The work can get heavy at times, the wx can be rough.  For summer king opener, I take 1 or 2, depending on what I’m thinking the season will bring and who I have in the pipeline to crew.  Always looking for ambitious young folks who are confident and mentally tough enough to deal with this life.  One thing I will say is we have fun on the boat - music blasting on deck when appropriate, impromptu trap shooting competitions out of the pit, some general goofiness to relieve the pressure and grind. 

Here's a pic of one of my crew from last summer - "Mad Mike".  Clearly, his skipper needed to find some fish...

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20160802_140742.jpg&hash=3d6bd41c87706e4e218aabcff8c034cc)

Mission accomplished-

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20160816_153612.jpg&hash=273e71806c64f0ff17ada8543d7b324c)


*A word on crewing on a boat in AK – if you want the Deadliest Catch experience, keep heading north and get to Dutch.  That’s not what we do here in SE (Southeast Alaska).  Our game is a long slow grind, and it is a mental game above all else.  I’ve come to believe that commercial fishing in AK is one of the last places where a man can go to find out who he really is.  He just has to be prepared to accept what he finds out about himself… the ocean is a heartless bitch and will level the playing field, judging not on brawn or bravado, faking or fronting.  She doesn’t care how many people a man has fooled into thinking he’s tougher than them, or how many he’s bested in fisticuffs.  She only awards her tolerance to our existence on a quality we all possess to varying degrees, which I think of as “grit.”   Some men of huge stature melt after being offshore for a few days; some that we wouldn’t think twice about taking lunch money from summon an internal strength that shines bright and proud in this environment.  Our overly-protective, safety-first, Nerfy-soft world doesn’t often allow a man the opportunity to test his grit anymore.  Commercial fishing is one of those few professions that allow for that self-examination through one of the most mentally and physically challenging, and most intrinsically rewarding experiences, you can subject yourself to.  I believe if you survive a year of commercial fishing in AK on any boat, you are part of a very exclusive club and have likely earned the respect of every man who wishes he could find a way to challenge himself to that degree. I don't want to disrespect our Marines by suggesting they are in the same ballpark, but of the marines I have known all have the same quality - mental toughness and grit.  I have to think that the same qualities that make good marine would lend themselves to making a good commercial fisherman. IT would probably just be a much better life choice to be a jarhead than a deckhand...

Ok, off that soapbox…

Is that many boats fishing this time of year? 
The winter season started out in fair wx on Oct 11 with roughly 100 boats fishing the winter line.  That is our boundary line drawn roughly between Cape Edgecumbe and Biorka Island.  90% of those boats were fishing the Edgecumbe drag, about 3 miles in length.  That is a crowd, and one you have to be very mindful of fishing in.  Lots of boats in a small area means you have to trust other guys a lot, and they need to have faith in you.   I’ve been fishing around most of these guys for most of the summer, so I know how they fish.  And they know my game.  So we can usually figure it out on the go.  There are some standard navigational rules particular to our fleet – “starboard pole to the beach” has right of way.  This is NOT a Coast Guard regulation, but something the fleet has adopted to deal with fishing situations that the CG never conceived of.  I think it works well, and I put a lot of faith in everybody’s adherence to it.  At the end of the day, however, my ship is my responsibility, and I always have a side-eye on the boats I’m fishing around.  No going to my insurance pool and saying “I had starboard to the beach, but you all need to pay up because the CG rules say I was in the wrong.”  It is ultimately my own responsibility to keep my boat out of other boats’ space.


Do you sell to a broker or to restaurants…

There are different ways of going to market with your fish.  The easiest is to sell to a shoreside processor.  You start out the season by getting ice from them, which is no small thing.  Most processors will load it on your boat for free with the understanding that you’ll sell them back the fish you kept cold with it.  If I was to sell fish to only restaurants, I’d be buying my ice from the processors at anywhere from $100-150/ton.  I like to put 6 tons on my boat to start the king season, so that could add up.  You go out, fish, and unload at their facility.  Most of the time they will direct deposit for you or cut you a check the next day.  The shoreside processors also contract with tenders to pick up fish off of you out on the grounds to save you the long runs back to town just to offload.  In some cases, there is a “tender  tax,” meaning you get a lower price to cover the costs of the tender contract.  Most of the time, the price on the grounds is the same as if you offloaded at the plant, and you can get resupplied in nearly every way via the tenders.  Food, fuel, water, bait.  Some have laundry and showers you can use too.  All have little treats they give the fisherman – fresh baked cookies, ice cream sandwiches, etc.  One tender I sold to brought fresh veggies out to hand out to the fisherman.  You have no idea how good crispy romaine lettuce, or a fresh bright red tomato, tastes out on the grounds…

*Tender contracting by the processors incentivizes the fleet to stay out there and fish – which is the smart move for us as well, since the season is very short.  Every day off can cost thousands in revenue, and there are no make-up days.  If you lose a day’s revenue, it’s gone.  A guy has to think long and hard about a mental health day for the crew and what it will cost the boat (and the crew, too) by going to town and tying up for the night.  And good luck getting a sober crew together early the next morning… and make sure you check the foc’s’le for stow-away bar flies before you leave the dock!


The second, as a freezer boat, is to produce your FAS product and ship it south for sale through brokerages.  There can be some direct sales of FAS product too, but the sheer volume means you need to have a full-time guy with his finger on the pulse of the market to sell your fish over the course of the year for you.  He isn’t volunteering, of course – so that is an expense as well.  This is an easy way to move volume, but you get a lower return for a premium product using this channel.

The third is to go to market directly yourself.  This is very rewarding and seductive since you’re “cutting out the middle man,” but I’ve discovered a lot of fisherman don’t understand that they become the middleman in this scenario.  In the lower volume, higher value fisheries like winter kings, I enjoy selling my fish to high-end restaurants – but ONLY through a distributor that has the contacts, sales staff and cash flow to do the business with me.  I truly value a strong partner in the distribution chain – since I want to focus on fishing instead of collecting money from a dozen restaurants a week.  That is just not a good use of my time.  In using this model, I leave some value on the table for the distributor to earn through their efforts.  I feel it is a bargain for both sides if the marketing efforts of both parties works towards highlighting the distributor’s relationship with the boat, the exclusivity of the high-value catch and the direct connection the distributor enables between the boat and the chef.  Trust is key, and it is a true joy to know your fish are being represented as a work of art to chefs across the country that also value the quality, story and connection. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 22, 2017, 12:39:14 AM
I'll try to get some more pics skillet. Here's right before we left one year

Love that pic man.  She looks Bristol-

Just saw Dave this morning, he's back up here and ready to gear up for some black cod.   Winter kings are just not going well enough to hold that highliner's interest!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 22, 2017, 12:48:00 AM
Good morning from Elisdon harbor in Sitka-

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2FMobile%2520Uploads%2F20170121_075804.jpg&hash=8422379eca40152758f3cf25555a270b)

Will look into that H20.  I never considered selling directly via HuntWa, figured this crew gets their own meat!  But if people wanted, I'll see what it takes to sell some on here.

Speaking of which - Whitpirate, how much and what kind of fish are you looking for?   The easiest and least expensive would be a type of mixed grade and sized FAS coho next Aug/Sept.  That's around 1000# of headed and gutted frozen fish, all pressure bled.


Let's play the PM game and let me buy you a beer during the down time.  I'm pretty sure we could get 1000# sold here on Hunt-WA and I've got a few groups too.  Also interested personally in some halibut but not at huge volumes.

Roger - let me make sure I'm square with Dale and check out the nuances of legally selling FAS fish in Washington that way first.  Might be some hoops to jump through, but happy to do it if there's a channel to move some fish.  I've been seriously considering doing a "community supported fisherman" program along the same lines as a CSA that you get a basket of local kale, carrots and such in... just to put a bug in your ear :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 22, 2017, 01:33:48 AM
Those kings look great skillet. Are you pressure bleeding them?

Thanks wetwoods, I work hard to present the fish in the manner they deserve.  I do not pressure bleed the winter kings with the standard pipette like I do with summer fish.  I just think these winter kings are too delicate and can be easily over pressurized.  I do cut a very tiny notch in the main artery under the kidney and hold my cleaning hose about 2-3" away from it to push blood through the fish for about 30 seconds while I massage it along the lateral line.  It removes a lot of blood that way, and I think it is a much gentler way to accomplish the task.  When we're catching as few fish per day as we do in the winter, I can dedicate all sorts of time to ever-so-slightly raise the quality bar on each fish.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Houndhunter on January 22, 2017, 02:44:44 AM
Great thread! I got bit by the AK bug last year and can not wait for work to start back up!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on January 23, 2017, 08:08:09 AM
Good morning from Elisdon harbor in Sitka-

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2FMobile%2520Uploads%2F20170121_075804.jpg&hash=8422379eca40152758f3cf25555a270b)

Will look into that H20.  I never considered selling directly via HuntWa, figured this crew gets their own meat!  But if people wanted, I'll see what it takes to sell some on here.

Speaking of which - Whitpirate, how much and what kind of fish are you looking for?   The easiest and least expensive would be a type of mixed grade and sized FAS coho next Aug/Sept.  That's around 1000# of headed and gutted frozen fish, all pressure bled.
Awesome picture.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on January 23, 2017, 09:40:24 AM
I am really looking forward to watching this thread. Be safe my friend.
:yeah:   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: rainshadow1 on January 23, 2017, 09:46:54 AM
Tagging...

I ran my Dad's 47' steel Monk for several years right out of High School. It's up there somewhere now, we sold it to some Native guys somewhere on the south end of Baranof. It's called the Avenger. Was a very good boat.

I grew up commercial fishing. Spent a little time up there, out of Sitka and Wrangell. Mostly down here though.

Looking forward to the pics... although being the family business for generations, I was happy to find another life. Kinda opposite your path! Good luck, be safe, enjoy the freedom! (The freedom in one thing I've never been able to set aside!)

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 23, 2017, 11:34:45 AM
Thanks guys. Getting the boat ready to run south for haulout/yardwork in a few days, lots of busy work.

Here's a couple scenery pics from the winter drag.

Friend's boat under Mt Edgecumbe on a very calm afternoon out on the line.

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170103_151135.jpg&hash=dfbacbb5e9dcf6433321c200ae0a1505)

Pic of my deckhand taking a pic of a great sunrise as we're heading towards Edgecumbe from Symonds bay.  She is pretty tough and a good photog to boot. I'll see if she'll let me use some of the pics she's taken from my boat on here.

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20161224_081315.jpg&hash=645e84db61ccf65ff62c83b0e8ecf2dc)

And here's a vid of us heading into town from the line in a NE gale.


Winter up here is really beautiful, going to miss it.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on January 23, 2017, 11:41:22 AM
That's a ROUGH NE wind. I rarely saw anything like that, just not a common weather config in the summer. I remember one particular storm that came in a little faster than expected one day. I was anchored off the Cape for halibut expecting the weather to pick up about the time we normally headed in. It came in a couple hour's early and went from SW 15-20 and 5' seas to 35-40 and 10' seas inside of an hour. Turning the corner at the Cape and heading in with a quartering sea on my tail was one of my scariest days. We were able to take a breather behind the Bird which was much needed. That trip in took almost 2 hours instead of the normal 40 minutes.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on January 23, 2017, 11:41:40 AM
Awesome.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 23, 2017, 11:54:24 AM
Yeah, NE doesn't happen often in summer at all, but is much more common in winter.  When it goes NE, it blows.   Usually when a high-pressure system sets up on the B.C. interior and there's a low just offshore.  The "outflow event" can get pretty gnarly on the inside waters, and usually way less intense for us out on the coast.  The day we saw 40 knots out there, Stephens passage blew 60 gust to 70. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 3boys on January 23, 2017, 11:55:53 AM
Keep the pics and story's coming. I have been sport fishing in Sitka for 20+ years and love walking the docks and talking to the commercial guys. One of them used to be half owner of one of the larger sport fishing lodges in Sitka that we used to frequent. Several of the owners of sport lodges live a double life of commercial fisherman as well as sport-fishing lodge owner. I will be up there again in August looking for you to say hi. I never get tired of running down to Whale bay or up to Khaz to find the bite. I have lost count on how many friends have been fooled by the flamingos in Neva straits or the killer whales chasing the trollers.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 23, 2017, 12:04:52 PM
I will be up there again in August looking for you to say hi.

You won't see me around town much in Aug unless the fish are plentiful right outside,, but shoot me a pm when you know the dates you'll be up and I'll keep it in mind.  Always happy to chat for a few mins on the dock if I have them to spare.


I have lost count on how many friends have been fooled by the flamingos in Neva straits or the killer whales chasing the trollers.

 :chuckle:

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Angry Perch on January 24, 2017, 09:11:24 AM
Dang, looks like I have some reading to keep me occupied tonight!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jstone on January 24, 2017, 10:06:46 AM
I also remember when we came back to Gig Harbor after my trip it was about 2 am and my family was waiting at the dock. My son was almost 5 he said hey daddy. I asked the wife what she was feeding him all summer, he was bigger than when I left. Made me laugh, still does.. Great times. Awesome pictures.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 10:19:11 AM
I also remember when we came back to Gig Harbor after my trip it was about 2 am and my family was waiting at the dock. My son was almost 5 he said hey daddy. I asked the wife what she was feeding him all summer, he was bigger than when I left. Made me laugh, still does. Great times. Awesome pictures.

This resonates with me.  I love the anticipation of coming home after a long season.  Planning on leaving Sitka in two days to start the long slog south.  Eager to see my family and friends again. 

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.golfian.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F08%2FHomeward-Bound-BAnner-Navy-Old-School-Ship-Tattoo.jpg&hash=d40ae77492fbe4d2d8d9b97c5415a729)

Will get another story or two up before I leave, just depends on how the day goes. 

Next topics - resupply via tenders and... Sharks.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 24, 2017, 10:25:53 AM
I also remember when we came back to Gig Harbor after my trip it was about 2 am and my family was waiting at the dock. My son was almost 5 he said hey daddy. I asked the wife what she was feeding him all summer, he was bigger than when I left. Made me laugh, still does. Great times. Awesome pictures.

This resonates with me.  I love the anticipation of coming home after a long season.  Planning on leaving Sitka in two days to start the long slog south.  Eager to see my family and friends again. 

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.golfian.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F08%2FHomeward-Bound-BAnner-Navy-Old-School-Ship-Tattoo.jpg&hash=d40ae77492fbe4d2d8d9b97c5415a729)

Will get another story or two up before I leave, just depends on how the day goes. 

Next topics - resupply via tenders and... Sharks.

You going to get that tattoo with your boat in it?  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: wsmnut on January 24, 2017, 10:26:48 AM
Those drainage winds are the nuts no matter how big your boat.  Rolled for about 4 hours or so (felt like days) crossing the bottom of Chatham Straits on the way to Sitka for herring season 5 or 6 years ago.  Middle of the night.
All you can do is hold on.

Have a safe and smooth trip down.  I saw a bit of drainage out of Taku Inlet and the Stikine River two days ago.  Hopefully it stays small and localized there.

Good Luck!
Wsmnut
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 10:41:25 AM
Quote

You going to get that tattoo with your boat in it?  :tup:

Yessir. 
Haven't decided if I'm gong to get it with the Diamond Lil or a generic troller...  And I've earned two swallows as well (each represents 5k nautical miles). 

Those drainage winds are the nuts no matter how big your boat.  Rolled for about 4 hours or so (felt like days) crossing the bottom of Chatham Straits on the way to Sitka for herring season 5 or 6 years ago.  Middle of the night.
All you can do is hold on.

Have a safe and smooth trip down.  I saw a bit of drainage out of Taku Inlet and the Stikine River two days ago.  Hopefully it stays small and localized there.

Good Luck!
Wsmnut

Great info, thanks. I can't get that kind of detail from the V.  :tup: 
With the coast-wise winds, I'll likely head out over the top of Baranof via Peril Strait into Chatham.  Adds about 8 hours into the trip, but easier than rounding Ommany in this weather.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on January 24, 2017, 10:59:44 AM
Be safe my friend.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 24, 2017, 11:05:31 AM
I don't have enough room on my skin for the 5K standard.  :chuckle:

You going to get the rooster, and pig on top of your feet too?




:
Quote

You going to get that tattoo with your boat in it?  :tup:

Yessir. 
Haven't decided if I'm gong to get it with the Diamond Lil or a generic troller...  And I've earned two swallows as well (each represents 5k nautical miles). 

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 11:10:25 AM
I don't have enough room on my skin for the 5K standard.  :chuckle:

You going to get the rooster, and pig on top of your feet too?




:
Quote

You going to get that tattoo with your boat in it?  :tup:

Yessir. 
Haven't decided if I'm gong to get it with the Diamond Lil or a generic troller...  And I've earned two swallows as well (each represents 5k nautical miles).

Haha, I may. There is no end to it, as it sounds you well know...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 11:14:10 AM
Be safe my friend.

Will do. Want to get home ASAP, but in one piece.  Winter wx on the B.C. Coast is nothing to trifle with - Cape Caution is appropriately named.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 24, 2017, 11:31:08 AM
I don't have enough room on my skin for the 5K standard.  :chuckle:

You going to get the rooster, and pig on top of your feet too?




:
Quote

You going to get that tattoo with your boat in it?  :tup:

Yessir. 
Haven't decided if I'm gong to get it with the Diamond Lil or a generic troller...  And I've earned two swallows as well (each represents 5k nautical miles).

Haha, I may. There is no end to it, as it sounds you well know...

Yep, July 1st 30 years in the Navy, that's my last day on the rolls. And still don't have a nautical tattoo, but it's coming three anchors.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 11:59:03 AM
I don't have enough room on my skin for the 5K standard.  :chuckle:

You going to get the rooster, and pig on top of your feet too?




:
Quote

You going to get that tattoo with your boat in it?  :tup:

Yessir. 
Haven't decided if I'm gong to get it with the Diamond Lil or a generic troller...  And I've earned two swallows as well (each represents 5k nautical miles).

Haha, I may. There is no end to it, as it sounds you well know...

Yep, July 1st 30 years in the Navy, that's my last day on the rolls. And still don't have a nautical tattoo, but it's coming three anchors.

Well done man -
 :salute: 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 24, 2017, 12:04:29 PM
I don't have enough room on my skin for the 5K standard.  :chuckle:

You going to get the rooster, and pig on top of your feet too?




:
Quote

You going to get that tattoo with your boat in it?  :tup:

Yessir. 
Haven't decided if I'm gong to get it with the Diamond Lil or a generic troller...  And I've earned two swallows as well (each represents 5k nautical miles).

Haha, I may. There is no end to it, as it sounds you well know...

Yep, July 1st 30 years in the Navy, that's my last day on the rolls. And still don't have a nautical tattoo, but it's coming three anchors.

Well done man -
 :salute:

Thanks
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 03:02:20 PM
Tenders.  The heavy haulers of the AK troll fleet.  They work to keep us out of town and on the fishing grounds for extended periods of time.  A lot of them around here are scow-style, like the pic of the Eigil B earlier in the thread.

This is the one I sold to the most, the Deer Harbor II under contract with SPC.  She is pictured here with Mustang, a boat very similar in size to the Diamond Lil. 
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fscontent.cdninstagram.com%2Ft51.2885-15%2Fs480x480%2Fe35%2F13721072_172180653201699_103569071_n.jpg%3Fig_cache_key%3DMTMwNzI1MDU3Mzk4MDQ2Mjk5Mg%253D%253D.2&hash=aa59b5a06396a7e4f4dd59cb86bd876c)

It is captained by the most amazing, bad-ass female captain that I know of, Amber Hansen.   I'd put her 5'-4" ish up against most of the men up here for grit.  She is always getting on deck and helping out her crew of 3-5 guys, and drives that boat hard.  They pack a LOT of fish in the summer, and during the peak of the coho run I'd bet they average 16 hour days just buying fish for that 4-5 weeks.

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fscontent.cdninstagram.com%2Ft51.2885-15%2Fs480x480%2Fe15%2F10684206_1505695969670920_1477501828_n.jpg%3Fig_cache_key%3DODEzMjA2NTQxMzA1Mzk0Njk4.2&hash=7620211256c6f9d5f8613e6b652ab034)

The crew of a tender is your link to the real world, and building a good relationship with them is to your major advantage if you are going to sell via tenders.  More on that in a bit.


If you're icing fish, being able to pitch off (unload your fish) to a tender is a huge advantage to be able to maximize your time on the grounds.  The other option is to run to town to pitch off.  Sometimes, when the fish are close to Sitka, Pelican, Hoonah, Craig, Ketchikan, etc., it makes sense to just run in to do it.  Close is relative - could be an hour or 4 run.  Keep in mind that you need to get back out to the grounds asap, so a 2 hour run that starts after you pull the gear early at 8pm gets you to town at 10, the usual cutoff time for starting shoreside processor deliveries.  You then pitch off, where they sort and grade, and weigh your fish, write up the ticket.  While that is going on up above, your deckhand is scrubbing the hold of dirty ice down below.  A fair sized unload of 750 coho can take half an hour or so to dig them out and load in to bins. Then there's a half hour of sorting and grading.  So we're at, 11pm now,right?  By then the deckhand(s) are done with scrubbing the hold, and it's ready for fresh ice.  So you move the boat down to the ice chute and take on another 4-ish tons of ice.  The chute at the SPC plant in Sitka blows ice out at around 1 ton/7 minutes, so there's another half hour.  Getting close to midnite by the time you point the bow out of the harbor and head back out for the 2 hour run back to the grounds.  First light is about 3:30am this time of year, so you can just cruise easy and the crew can get a nap before we're running gear NLT 4am back on the grounds.  Lather, rinse, repeat every five days.

If you sell to a tender, however - they are usually much, much closer to where the fish are being caught.  A huge amount of coho are caught by the troll fleet every year as they head into Cross Sound, and there are several tenders that frequent the area.  The run into Pelican is about 4 hours, so that's possible - but it's much easier on the sleep schedule to pitch off to a tender that is sitting just inside Lisianski Inlet or Lisianski straight. 

An example of how it works -

At the end of a 4 or 5 day trip (or if wx looks terrible for the next day or two and I want to pitch off instead of having my fish get all beat up in the hold) I call up Amber on either the VHF or via Delorme Inreach and get a delivery appointment.  The trick to delivering to a tender is they are swinging on their anchor (hook), and to land gracefully you need to have a smooth touch.  My deckhand and her deckhands need to be on their game in rough weather or high winds, since often times I'm timing my approach on the apex of the scow's swing. 

We get tied up and the work begins.  Amber runs the boom crane expertly, lowering a plastic tote we call a Traco into my hold.  My deckhand(s) and dig fish out of the ice and load into the bin.  When full, she lifts it out and dumps it onto their sorting table on deck, where her crew sorts and weighs the fish.  Each traco can hold roughly 400# of fish, so a good offload will be around 10-12 Traco's.  Here is a pic of some spring kings coming out of the hold that I sold to SPC in Sitka in May - but the idea is almost exactly the same. There's only about 260# there, but coho are smaller and pack much better in the Traco.

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2FSitka%2520king%2520266.jpg&hash=5430f94894b571120f6257b886c8d83b)

Same deal as shore-based deliveries, the fish are sorted and weighed while the deckhand (and myself, this time) quickly shovel out old ice and scrub down the hold with Simple Green and a bleach solution mix.  Hopefully our timing coincides and they have all of the fish graded, weighed and repacked in their ice bins, and our fresh ice ready to go right about the time our scrubbing is done.  This is where our trust with the tender comes in - when I sell to Amber, I never worry about not getting good weights so I can focus on turning my boat around faster.  Other tenders will find me on deck supervising the grading and weigh-up so I know I'm getting a fair shake.   Amber is gold.
Amber then cranes the ice down into my hold with clean Traco's and we dump them in such a way as to minimize shoveling.  Shoveling ice gets old fast, so you find clever ways to not have to move ice by hand if you don't have to. 
This is where I go up on the tender to sign my fish ticket and place my grocery order, pick up the order I placed the last time I delivered, run the hose over to my deckhand to pump on potable water for my freshwater tanks, and if we are the last boat of the night we sometimes get to take a warm shower (that feels really good after a week's worth of coho gurry is crusted into your beard - sometimes a rinse on deck in cold water just doesn't get the dried kidney out...)!  Another advantage if there is no other boats after us, we just stay tied up and can sleep.  No need to untie and go find a place to anchor - that saves another half-hour of sleep that we can use to get a shower.
They will cut us a check right there, or if you have it setup ahead of time they will do an auto-deposit into your account when the tender gets to town to unload.  I prefer that, since there is no cell or internet out there.

About ordering up the groceries - beggars can't be choosers!  Nobody talks prices, it just is what it is.  You want to eat?  You sign the list and they deduct it from your check.  If you ordered a 10# bag of Jasmine Rice, and they come back with a 20# bag of regular white rice, you just say thank you and take it.  Same with pretty much everything.  A lot of it has to do with what is in stock at the time the tender crew has to run your grocery errands for you and 10 other boats while they're in town.  I've seen them racing around in SeaMart, two or three carts and ten lists, throwing stuff in and racing to get back to the boat.  Don't complain - be grateful.  They're usually pretty good about it, and if I complained that I got the wrong kind of lettuce, the next time they have to make a decision on the fly while in town they may just say "no lettuce this time."  So, I really appreciate the type of services the tenders provide to keep us fishing.

Meals are usually on the fly and pretty spartan, but I like to do a stick-to-your ribs meal after we get done icing the fish at night.  That is usually comprised of some sort of fish or meat if I have it, rice or quinoa, some kind of greens and vegetable.  It has to be cooked on the propane range in the summer, because the diesel stove really heats up the cabin is usually not running from July thru August.  Starts getting cold enough to fire it up in September, and by the end of October it's running full time.
I have had some very generous shipments of elk meat up to Sitka, and oh man what a treat.  This is what supper looks like when THAT package arrives!

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20160610_212748.jpg&hash=672b088bf38c184971101abfb450a4b2)


Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Camo on January 24, 2017, 06:19:01 PM
Great thread Skillet. As much as I enjoy everyone's successes, failures, and info swap on here, I enjoy vicariously living the adventure the most.
Look forward to your future posts, thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: wsmnut on January 24, 2017, 07:07:54 PM
Nice addition about the tenders!
I haven't seen Amber in years.  I have good memories of her Dad.  Steve 'Hans' Hansen.  We used to moor near each other in Lake Union.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on January 24, 2017, 07:36:32 PM
I logged on tonight specifically to ask some
Of these questions. Was wondering about the meals. Groceries and who cooks. What about the lady on board. Kinda cramped space  for that I would
Think. Bathroom issues???
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 24, 2017, 07:39:55 PM
I logged on tonight specifically to ask some
Of these questions. Was wondering about the meals. Groceries and who cooks. What about the lady on board. Kinda cramped space  for that I would
Think. Bathroom issues???

That's a bigger ship (tender) and she is the captain, doubt she has any problems.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on January 24, 2017, 07:42:25 PM
I believe he has a female deck hand from a previous post??
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 24, 2017, 07:55:44 PM
I believe he has a female deck hand from a previous post??

The photo taker, as long as the head has a door, why any problems.  :dunno:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on January 24, 2017, 07:57:55 PM
Ok Boss carry on. Just questions I had for skillet that is up there.  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: NRA4LIFE on January 24, 2017, 08:16:10 PM
She sounds like one of the deck hands on a charter we were on a number of years ago out of Westport.  Her name was Ingrid.  She was a bada$$ fishing machine.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 08:56:26 PM
Ah, regarding the ol' "girls and boys in tight quarters" deal. 

My galley wench (self-described) is very laid back, not squeamish at all.  We do have to make sure we're effectively communicating at times to ensure we aren't encroaching on each other's privacy, but the bar for expectations of privacy on a commercial boat is VERY low.  And the women who go out on boats to work understand that.  My fo'c'sle is not heated, so I take that and she gets the day bunk inn the cabin.  She knows I'm the first up every morning to fire the engine, start coffee, etc., so she needs to deal with me being in her "bedroom" while I'm getting our day going.  I expect she's up and ready to man the helm when I go out to haul the anchor. She wears long John's or something, not a big deal and nothing titillating about it.  I treat her like any other respected crew member - high expectations for performance and am never let down.  She's a good hand that enjoy the commercial experience while she's between contracts utilizing her master's in biology.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 09:02:19 PM
Nice addition about the tenders!
I haven't seen Amber in years.  I have good memories of her Dad.  Steve 'Hans' Hansen.  We used to moor near each other in Lake Union.

I'd love to hear some tendering stories if you got them, or feel free to correct me on anything I got wrong on the tender deal.  I've only tender fished this this year, so the different tenders may do things significantly differently.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WAcoueshunter on January 24, 2017, 09:16:05 PM
A couple questions on the tenders from someone who has never been. 

First, what/how do they charge for their services?  Obviously a cost for what they do, just curious how you weigh that against convenience and more time on the grounds.

Second, do you need to sign up/pledge/promise to a tender to make sure there's a slot for you when things get really busy?  Or do the just control demand by raising prices or some other means?

Just curious how it works.  Thanks for the awesome thread!   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on January 24, 2017, 09:40:22 PM
Great pic RB!  I don't recall seeing her around, doesn't mean she's not still working however.  I have mad respect for the low ADFG number boats like your granddads - they are icons in the fleet.


Indeed sir, my granddad was on the board of the SPC and instrumental in it's creation. There is a book written about him called, Troll King, Glimpses of a Unique Southeast Alaska Lifestyle. It was written by John Sabella, he spent a summer trolling with my granddad. Always heard great stories of the fleet when I was a kid and was impressed how well they took care of each other. Always remember views like this the one time I was able to fish with him. Keep it coming love hearing theses stories brings back great memories.  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 10:00:52 PM
A couple questions on the tenders from someone who has never been. 

First, what/how do they charge for their services?  Obviously a cost for what they do, just curious how you weigh that against convenience and more time on the grounds.

Second, do you need to sign up/pledge/promise to a tender to make sure there's a slot for you when things get really busy?  Or do the just control demand by raising prices or some other means?

Just curious how it works.  Thanks for the awesome thread!   :tup:

Great questions. There are a couple of kinds of tenders - contract tenders that work solely for a single processor and cash buyers. 

As far as contract tenders, think of them as dedicated haulers.  Every tender I've sold to is connected with one processor or another.  They are typically part of a small fleet a processor contracts with to cover the grounds and get as many fish to the plant as possible.  The price we get is usually the same as the price at the processor in town - the processor just rolls that contract expense into the calculus that determines their pricing model.  That said, they don't like processors going out and coming back four days later with a relatively short load, so there is a bit of competition between all of the contract tenders for our fish.

Cash buyers are independent scows that travel around and buy fish for less in the hopes they can get a good price for the fish when they haul a big load to town.  They will shop the load between the processors for the best price.  It is my impression the days of the independent cash buyers are numbered. There was one working Cross Sound area this year, but I never sold to them.

There is significant loyalty to each processor, with the understanding we are allowed to sell to whomever we need to.  Im an SPC guy, but that is because it is a co-op that I bought into.  I have a vested interest in making it work out - but I sold to the competition at times if I needed to. Let's say Amber was at the end of her tendering trip - 4-ish days, and no SPC tender was there in Lisianski that day to take my fish.  I'm not waiting 30 hours for her to come back, and I'm not running the 10 hours to town to pitch off - so the competitor's tender gets my fish.  I need to get them off and get back out there with fresh ice.  There is no pause button on these salmon runs - you must go fishing if at all possible to generate the revenue to justify your operation.
You must be an SPC member to deliver to an SPC tender, but I can deliver to just about anybody. It's a nice hedge when there is a sudden smash of coho and tender appts are tough to get.  We do try to time deliveries so that we have an SPC tender to sell to.  Sometimes I'll deliver a short 3 day trip to beat the big rush at the 5-day mark after the bite started.  But you might spend good fishing time tied up to a tender, and the big bite is over when you get back out there. It's a gamble. 

All of fishing is a gamble. One of the reasons why I love it so much.  You have to play your hand in such a way as to get the greatest advantage on your only real opponent - time.

I hope this answered your question Wacoushunter?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2017, 10:08:05 PM
Nice addition about the tenders!
I haven't seen Amber in years.  I have good memories of her Dad.  Steve 'Hans' Hansen.  We used to moor near each other in Lake Union.

Never met Steve, but have heard stories  :chuckle:

He runs the Amber Anne now, turned the Deere Harbor II over to his 20-something daughter.  And she is killing it!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 01:06:53 AM
I also fish salmon in Alaska, off the Copper River Delta and in Prince William Sound starting with my dad when I was 14 and running my own boat from 16 on. But instead of trolling, I gillnet. I leave Washington and drive to Alaska each spring in mid April to participate in oil spill response drills at the end of the month. This also serves as a shakedown cruise for my boat to make sure everything is operating good for the upcoming season. When the drill is over, (three days of training) I pull my nets out and mend any that didn't get put away mended. (I usually bring one that's in pretty bad shape home with me also and rebuild it) Then it's hurry up and wait for the first opener which is usually around May 15.We usually get one opener as sort of a test to see what's around before the fish start making their way up the river to the sonar counters placed up the river after the ice goes out. They count the fish going by and that is one of the main factors in determining future openers.  Our catch rate is another.  They make a chart based on past runs and the timing, and estimate what escapement they should have on a certain date and also what the total for the season should be for that date and allow a small difference either up or down because no two runs track exactly alike as some years the Copper river will be ice free up to two weeks ahead of other years so the runs will hit at different times. But if the run is consistently tracking low, they will reduce or even close the season until the numbers match the desired escapement. Conversely, if the runs are tracking high, they will give us more fishing time.  The biggest problem with this system is that from the fishing grounds to the counter takes about 10 days so there are some situations where a total closure or added fishing time may be the wrong thing to do, which is why paying attention to the catch rate also is important. Say nothing is going by the counter, but we are just killing the fish every opener. Our catch rate indicates a big run, but the counter looks bad. If they close us down completely, and the fish pour into the river, suddenly they are 100s of thousands of fish over their escapement goals. We don't get another shot at those fish as it's too late. But to keep the total escapement within the optimum range (they like to be within a couple hundred thousand fish either way max by seasons end) They will give us way more fishing time. This has it's drawbacks also. maybe the canneries get swamped and have trouble handling the influx of fish. But the biggest risk involves different runs to different systems. The Copper has many tributaries and also there are different smaller rivers on the delta and every different run has different timing. And each system may have more than one run with different timing. So while the Copper may be loaded, by the time they reopen it, the fish in the area we fish may be Delta fish and we may be hitting them harder than is good for them.  The Delta fish get counted differently, from airplanes. The biologists actually go up in small floatplanes and fly over the streams and estimate the fish they can see from the air. But if the weather is stormy, they can't fly. And if it has been raining hard, which is very common there, the streams are muddy and you can't see the fish.  What is frustrating is, the last time they flew, they may have seen 100,000 fish, but if they fly again and can't see them, they act like they are all gone and get conservative with management. But it is what it is and it can take a few years for a biologist to get the feel for what is happening by the in-season clues.

Everybody has their favorite spot to fish, so we usually run out to that area the night before it opens. (most openers for the Copper are at 7 AM) We'll anchor up on "our" spots. Or if we plan on running out into the ocean in the morning, we may raft up with friends and have dinner together and BS. I like to read a book or watch a movie to relax. If I have a specific spot I want to be in the morning and I'm not anchored up there, I get up about 4:30 AM and move there, watching for signs of fish along the way. A plan is always changeable depending on conditions and fish sign. Maybe the weather came up overnight and the place I intended to fish isn't safe now. Or maybe I see a lot of jumpers in a different spot. You always hope for a good first set, because the first 6 hours are usually your best as the fleet mops the fish up. But there are places that can be better late in the period if you know what's going on and how the fish act. If there is a big hit early in the Kok Rip, later on the flood tide there's a good chance the fish will hit the beach at Drug Beach or Summer Beach or inside Kokenhenic. If the Sof Tuk Can is good early, you may want to be at Little Sof Tuk later or again Summer Beach. If The Horseshoe starts with a bang, Pete Dahl or Grass Island my be their destination.  In a hard easterly, especially one that's lasted a couple days or more, the fish may be at the Whistler or the Mousetrap or even Strawberry or Hook Point. Not getting anything in by the beach? Maybe run out to 300 feet and hope for a hit in the tide rips. There is a big learning curve for our area and it can take years before you are right in your educated guesses more than you are wrong. Maybe you are doing OK where you are, but you hear they had big first sets a couple hours run away. What do you do? Many times it's better to just grind away where you are and hope for a hit. It's a real drain on your enthusiasm to run two hours and find the fish are all mopped up, then you run two hours back ti where you were and find out they got a little hit while you were gone. Plus you basically lost 5 hours of fishing time on a 12 or 24 hour opener. A lot of the newer guys form radio groups in which they call each other and report their catch in code. This can sometimes be a help if you have good partners that actually let you in on what they are doing in a timely manner.  But some people ate very one way about communicating. As for me and most of the "old timer" fishermen, It's against my religion to call in other boats when I am making a good catch.  I have done this enough years that I know what to do by the conditions and what I am catching. And I am consistently well above average when the year is over. I learned early in my career that calling boats in when I find good fishing ends up meaning less fish for me to catch.

After about three weeks, a good part of the fleet moves to Prince William Sound to fish chums and more sockeyes near a couple hatcheries. There are also some native runs but the bulk of the fish we catch originate from the hatcheries. A lot of people like the Sound because it's deeper and more calm waters. Plus if they live in Anchorage or Wasilla/Palmer area, they can run to Whittier and drive home on the closures. The Copper River Delta is deadly. The huge waves that storms generate on the Gulf of Alaska hit the shallow waters of the Delta and create deadly breakers. These can be 20 feet high or larger. Crossing the bar to get out on the ocean can be taking your life in your hands. I can't tell you exactly how many friends I've lost over the years but it is well over 20 and there are more that I didn't really know. I'll never forget back in the mid 70s a very good friend of mine who was 18 and had another young friend with him broke down during an opener and was anchored up waiting for a tow up a slough to hide from an approaching storm. I offered him a tow, but he said his uncle was going to get him, so I delivered and went on up the slough.  By the time his uncle came, it was blowing pretty good and they were having trouble rowing my friend's boat. They kept snapping tow lines. So the uncle told him to re-anchor his boat and jump on his boat. But my friend refused to leave his boat and the uncle finally left and ran up the slough. In the middle of the night, it was blowing 50+ and suddenly my friend came on the radio and shouted that he was dragging anchor and going into the breakers. There was nothing anyone could do in the dark in that storm, and we were miles away. The next day, his boat was found upside down about 10 miles away. His dad was a local bush pilot and he flew out to do a search for the bodies. He picked me up for another set of eyes and we flew over to the boat which was now dry on a sand bar. No one was in the cabin. We then flew the beaches in the direction the wind was blowing fot about thirty miles. We found clothes and boots and other gear including Mark's net which they'd evidently set out as an attempt at a sea anchor, but we never found them.  Two other friends died the next year when on a closure they took an airboat out for a moose hunt and swamped it. A few years back, my step sister's husband tried to make it to a protected spot he wanted to fish in a horrible storm and went down. One boat picked up his mayday call and passed it along. I was tied up to a tender behind the cliffs at Whiteshed waiting out the storm when we got the call. It was blowing 80 and raining sideways. But I dropped my anchor and the jumped on the tender and we went looking as we knew the general area he was in about 5 miles from us.  We headed up Ocean Channel towards the Hump big waves with our crab lights on hoping we'd see something (Was about 9 pm in the fall). The Coast Guard had been called and sent a chopper to Egg Island in case he'd made it that far (another 5 miles) There was one tender anchored there behind a sand bar and he also had his halogen crab lights on. When the copper got down to 50 feet above the water and couldn't see the crab lights of the tender, they abandoned the search. When the chopper called they were abandoning the mission we also turned around and headed back towards Whiteshed. On the way we had to make a sharp corner, then run with the storm hitting us on our Starboard side. Then I saw a buoy floating our direction. We tried to get it to see if there was a name on it, but it got away and up into the shallows. Then another came by but with the same results.  Then we spotted a five gallon gas jug which was going slower as it was full and down more in the water where the wind didn't hit it so much. We managed to bring it aboard, but it had no markings on it to identify. But now we were sure a at had gone down and were pretty sure it was Rich. He was the only boat that had gone past Whiteshed we couldn't account for.  Another boat trying to assist in the search ran onto a big rock at the top of high tide and got stuck. We made it back and anchored and then I had to call my step sister and let her know her husband had probably died. The next morning it was flat, glassy calm. The boat on the rock was about 14 feet out of the water like a monument.  And that day I had one of the biggest silver openers I've ever had as the storm blew all the fish to the area I was in. Rich was found 9 months later on the beach of Hawkins Island near Canoe Pass. A fish and game biologist was doing a survey and he noticed some orange raingear and walked over. Rich's remains were inside.  I myself have had many close calls over the years. In 1976 I lost reverse laying out my net near the beach and the waves pushed me in until a breaker flipped my boat upside down on the beach.  Luckily I walked away unharmed. Had a huge wave break over my bow and almost washed me overboard.  Once trying to cross the bar I went over the crest of a 15 foot wave that was very steep and the back side was steeper. My bow was out of the water pointing up as I came off the top of the wave and I was steering my bowpicker (cabin in stern) at the bow controls. I literally dropped 20 feet before hitting the water in the trough of the waves and was driven to my knees by the force. Don't know why I didn't go right through the deck. Then as I was scrambling to get up the next wave broke over the top of me. Another time after a series of storms a friend and I were running home from Bering River. From there, you have to run out on the ocean at least to Little Sof Tuk then you can jump a bar to the inside and smooth sailing. But the ocean was big and rough that day and the breakers at little Sof Tuk weren't appealing. Same ar Sof Tuk and we didn't even think of Kokenhenic which is the worst bar on the Flats. The main stem of the Copper runs out Kokenhenic. Then we heard Egg Is. and Strawberry were closed too, so we decided we were crossing at Grass Is. no matter what.  Grass Island is both of our's favorite spot to fish and we are very familiar with it. The main bar is a mean one, but there is a side channel that meets the main channel and we had it well marked on our GPS. The secret to crossing a bad bar when you are running with the waves is to get on the back of one wave and ride it all the way in. You need enough power to keep up and not be overtaken by the wave behind you and when you finally hit the shallow water, the wave breaks in front of you and mushes out and you finish the ride on a cushion of air bubbles.  With the Hamilton jets that we run, when you hit shallow water, (under 4 ft) you will also pick up speed due to a hydro effect. so you definitely ourtun the wave behind you before it breaks then. My friend went first and I let two waves go between us and I went. I couldn't even see the tops of his antennas over the waves so they were over 15 ft tall. After a heart wrenching 45 seconds or so, we were in the bar and racing up the flat calm channel for town.  From town to Little SofTuk, boats with jets can run inside the barrier Islands, a distance of about 50 miles. The advantage of this is not having to cross a bar in bad weather. A second advantage is the shallower you run, the faster you go and the quicker you get there and it's more of a straight line so you save time and fuel. The third advantage is, the shallower the water, the smaller the waves are so you get a much smoother ride. I am regularly navigating in a foot of water or less. You just want to be very careful you don't hit a hidden sand bar as it can be a sudden stop, and if you get stuck at the top of the tide, you may be there for a couple weeks. It happens every year that someone misjudges and gets badly stuck. We all have good GPS marks and know how much water we need for different areas, but you get tired or aren't paying attention and whump, you're stuck.



Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 01:11:32 AM
Back to the Sound. So the Sound is safer and there are some pretty good runs there, plus the fish are in tighter areas so it's harder to miss them when they are there. Mid June, my wife and teenage son come up to visit and help out and They and I am comfortable having them on the boat. We usually run into Whittier one closure a week to get a room off the boat and get a shower and wash clothes. We may also run to Anchorage to get groceries and see a movie or go visit my grandkids out in the Valley. (Palmer/Wasilla area) We can also get boat parts and net mending gear there if necessary. I had my biggest day ever, fishing on the Sound at Main Bay. It was a fluke which such things usually are. First day of season and they only opened the Flats for 6 hours with a storm coming and the tides wrong. So I headed across to main Bay where they had a small early run of sockeyes they were killing off at the hatchery. They were predicting that that last year, there would be less that 1,000 fish returning, but I took a chance I could catch enough in the three day opener to make it a push with what I'd catch on the Flats in 6 hours. It was a good risk. As I pulled into the Bay I saw one jumper as I ran up to where the terminal area was located. There were three guys I knew anchored up there together and as I approached, they were acting funny. A asked them if I was wasting my time and they didn't really say anything. Then a sea lion came swimming towards the beach and about 200 fish exploded up onto the rocks trying to get away from it. I was stunned. Never seen that before. The a school of fish started by our boats and kept coming and kept coming. OHH YAHHHHH!!!!! Then they nodded and said yah, we've been here three days and haven't even called our wives because we don't want the word to get out. I could hardly sleep that night thinking about those fish. I woke up feeling horrible achy and feverish. Then I'd feel cold then hot and began coughing. I didn't know it then, but I had come down with pneumonia. Time to set, and there were 17 boats out of a fleet of 500 that had come that way. We started setting and the nets all exploded and sank. I started picking and picked about 4,000 lbs and had only gotten about a third of my net up. I was dying from the effort. I ran over to a tender to deliver and a friend who worked on it volunteered to com help me for a crew share which I gladly gave him. I'd have never made it through the day without him. We picked from the other end and had the same results. And as we laid the net out it exploded and sank again. By the end of 14 hours, we finally got my whole net in and I'd caught 20,000 lbs at $2.50/lb. You can do the math. I dropped my friend off and anchored up as boats from town who had heard of our luck showed up. I woke up feeling worse and decided I needed to go see a Dr. so I ran the 4 hours to town. While in town, a writer for major fishing industry magazines called and wanted to interview me as the story of our success that day was spreading. By the time the three days was up, instead of 800 fish, we'd caught over 200,000. Oops!

Depending if I decide to pick pinks/humpies I stay on the Sound until late July or mid Aug. Then I take a short break and fly home with the family. Then I''m back to Cordova by the 20th for Silver season. I use silver season as a wind down time from the season as it's our last shot of fish. Many boats leave by then as its a relatively small fishery for us. An average year is 200,000-300,000 fish as compared to sockeye runs of 2,000,000 on the Copper and the Sound run of another 1.5 million sockeye and 2-4 million chums. I like getting as far from town as I can and so I head down to the Bering River area. It's as wild of a place as there is in the world. A friend once had a black bear swim to his boat and climb aboard to eat the flounders he'd forgotten on his deck when he flew to town. Unfortunately for him, he'd also left the door to the cabin open to air it out and the bear went inside and crapped all over in there. The area is great for moose hunting, goat hunting, and bear hunting, both black and brown. It also has world class duck, goose, and sandhill crane hunting as it's on their flyway south. I have friends who fish there in the fall, just so they can hunt the birds. I usually stay there for a month and might make one trip to town. (Fly in on a float plane) As with Skillet, I depend on the tenders for supplies, but I pack a lot of dried and canned food with me and in an emergency I'll keep a silver to eat or a friend might drop off a moose heart or some steaks or I can dig razor clams on Kanak Island. There is a lot of history in the area from the Ghost town of Katalla to the Bering coal fields and the old narrow gauge railroad that ran from Katalla up the Bering River and the Katalla oil fields. Kayak Island in the area was the site Vitus Bering first came ashore in Alaska and the area was an important Tlinget community. I usually use the closures to hike and explore the islands and pick berries and observe wildlife and just mellow out after a long season.  We get some horrible storms that time of year and when we do, we run up shallow sloughs into the grass banks for protection. We often let our boats go dry and mend gear or go hiking or hunting without worrying about our boats dragging anchor. Some of the guys also do some kayaking  and the last couple years a few of them bring their surf boards and surf off of Kanak Island. When it's all done, we wait for good weather and head to town to put the boat and gear away and I catch the ferry to Valdez and drive back down the Alcan to home. Those trips are very enjoyable too with all the scenery, wildlife, and Liard Hot Springs!

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 01:15:19 AM
A few more shots
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 01:18:14 AM
More
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 01:24:07 AM
I always salt fish up to bring home and pickle.  Here's a few shots of that and a couple more from the fishery.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on January 25, 2017, 07:57:29 AM
Damn Sitka. I could hardly breathe reading of your adventures.  :yike:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 08:36:43 AM
On nice days, it's the best job in the world. On a bad day, you just try to hang on and survive.  This year's silver season, my oldest son and I were fishing together and we anchored inside Little Sof Tuk hoping to get outside the next day to fish in spite of a storm heading our way. It hit in the middle of the night with 80 kt winds. Even though we were in protected waters and anchored next to a cut bank which sheltered us from the wind, we were soon dragging anchor as were many of the other 14 boats anchored with us. So out into the teeth of the storm we went and I started the boat and ran up on the anchor line as my son pulled it in. It was pitch black and starting to ebb and we didn't want to ebb out the bar. so up the channel we ran to set the anchor again. Over the course of the sleepless night we had to reset the anchor 4 times until the wind slacked off to 50 kts and low tide changed the direction of the tide.  By the next high tide it was fishable inside and we made a paycheck but there was no crossing the bar that day. A tender who had anchored outside that night near the Martin Islands snapped their anchor line and they had to run 10 miles to get behind Kanak Island where they jogged all night.  Luckily they had a good mark where they lost their anchor and later drug it up with a grapple.

Here's a shot a fisherman buddy of mine took of another friend's boat during a bar crossing. It shows the breakers we face way better than any picture I have taken. Bob is a world class photographer besides being a lifelong Copper River fisherman. He's won every award for photography there is in Alaska and has been published in National Geographic and had a variety of photos make the AP Photowire. If you have time, check out his whole gallery. It is worth the time.

http://bobmartinson.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Seascapes-and-Boats/G0000UjcYu2nmAPo/I00005MX0o75jwEA
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WAcoueshunter on January 25, 2017, 09:44:16 AM

I hope this answered your question Wacoushunter?

Yes, great stuff.  So much more to the business side than just catching fish, cool to hear about it.   :tup:

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 25, 2017, 11:04:45 AM
Great stuff Sitka BT, thanks for posting it up  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on January 25, 2017, 03:14:20 PM
Great write up Sitka!
Hey, do you know Lou Barclay? I fished with him in Bristol Bay a couple years back, heck of a nice guy!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 04:07:00 PM
Great write up Sitka!
Hey, do you know Lou Barclay? I fished with him in Bristol Bay a couple years back, heck of a nice guy!

Yes I know Lou. Don't see him around any more.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 25, 2017, 05:03:47 PM
Just thinking of some of the disasters friends have been involved in reminded me of others. The first year I fished with my dad, there was a fellow who got  little too greedy and paid for it with his life. He was from the Hoquiam area and I went to school with his nephew and niece and his kids are friends to this day. It happened the week before I got up there as I was finishing up the school year.  A big storm hit and as is often the case, a huge shot of fish came with it. A lot of guys lost their nets in that storm, but Dean was a tough old cob and he loaded his skiff twice and made it back to the tender. The third time he wasn't so lucky and filled his boat with fish, but took too many waves and went down. The day after the storm my dad and a couple friends used one of the friends' seine boat to recover as many of the lost nets as they could. They kept the fish and returned the nets to the guys who lost them. Made a pretty good start to the season for them. But losing Dean put a damper on the rest of the season.

Then about 8 years later a young gal came to town and got a job fishing with Jon. They were fishing out on Egg Island Point when a breaker swept Jon overboard and into the net where he drowned. It was the young gal's first time on a boat and she had no idea how to run it and the boat was pounded by waves as she figured out how to use the radio to call for help. Luckily, she was rescued, but she never went out on the Flats again. She did however stay in Cordova for many years.

I lived for six years in the 80s in Kodiak and didn't fish in Cordova then. But while I was there a huge storm hit and caught the fleet by surprise. Two friends were caught out on the ocean. One had water in his fuel which clogged his fuel filter. He was a relative novice and didn't realize what had happened at first and was pushed close to the breakers before he dropped his anchor on the outside edge of the breakers. He called in a mayday and a Coast Guard helo came from Kodiak to rescue him, but somehow as they were approaching him, a down draft pushed them low enough that a wave clipped the chopper and it went down right in front of him with the loss of the whole crew. There were 4 or 5 onboard that day if I remember right. Someone eventually talked to Skip on the radio and told him to check his filter and he drained it and changed the filter and made it to town on his own power. He was so traumatized he sold out and moved to California. The other friend broke down out in the ocean. He either lost his electricity or didn't have a good radio on board as he couldn't call anyone for help. We had a lot smaller plywood skiffs mostly in those days that weren't suited for bad seas which is why we mostly fished inside then. Anyway, Jack floated in huge seas for two days before he was pushed up onto Montague Island about 40 miles from where he started. His boat was smashed on the rocks, but he survived a couple more days before he was spotted by a plane and rescued.  He told me he made his peace and was preparing himself to die, but miraculously he is still with us.  Not much bothers him now, as he saw first hand how precious and tenuous life is.

Another friend and I were the last two boats fishing inside Grass Island one period about 15 years ago. It was rough on the bar and  but pretty uneventful inside the bar that day. It was just before high water with only a couple hours left in the opener, I ran over to him and told him I was heading to town as I had a unit boat then and not a jet boat and I wanted to run the inside with plenty of water. He said he was going to make a high water set and then head in himself. After I left, another friend came through Grass Island from Kokenhenic and stopped when the first friend waved him down and asked for a cigarette. Bill said Tim had his net in the eddy set and it was high tide slack when he left for town himself. Nobody knows for sure what happened next. Tim either fell asleep and ebbed out the bar when the tide changed, or he let it ebb too far when the tide changed, maybe because he was getting hits??? But a few hours later someone running to town out on the ocean and noticed a net wrapped around the Grass Island can which is a mile or so outside the bar. and Tim's boat was still hooked up to it but floating upside down. Evidently he flipped going over the bar. He was found tangled in his net.

Another young man fell asleep (possibly due to carbon monoxide) while running across the Sound and ran into an island and broke his neck and died.

There are many more, but you get the picture. Now days, with our much larger boats it's not as common as it was when I started out, but we still lose people. The last I remember was two years ago.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on January 25, 2017, 10:33:34 PM
Great write up Sitka!
Hey, do you know Lou Barclay? I fished with him in Bristol Bay a couple years back, heck of a nice guy!

Yes I know Lou. Don't see him around any more.

We fished on the same boat in 2015, he was talking about getting his AB card and working with his cousin towing down here.  :dunno:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Camo on January 27, 2017, 10:46:19 PM
Sitka, great post, I was riveted throughout. My grandfather trolled down here when I was a kid and of no use on the boat, but I remember his pickled salmon and have never been able to replicate it.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Night goat on February 02, 2017, 07:33:42 PM
Anybody need a deckhand or engineer?

I love my job here, but, I'm kinda getting bored.

12+ years in marine trades, full time marine diesel mechanic, worked as a boat builder too, seined, gillnetted, opies, dungies, tendered, been all over AK, experienced with all sorts of boats and equipment, drug free, good attitude.

That gillnettin in Cordova looks fun, been there a few times, always enjoyed watching the guys race those boats, bright colored boats, hotrodded big block 500s with jet drives..... Jet is the only way to go, we had to tow a guy back to Cordova from AFK after he blew his out drive. Cordova is easily one of my favorite Alaskan towns
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on February 03, 2017, 05:15:06 AM
I'll pass the word around Night Goat. A good engineer/mechanic is worth his weight in gold.

In the mean time, here's a FaceBook page that fishermen in Cordova use for everything from looking for crewmen to selling parts or gear. Anything commercial fishing related. You might place an ad with your background and see if anyone's interested. If you do get some hits, pm me and I'll let you know what I know about the boat and owner. As you know, there's good ones and not so good ones.

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=cordova%20fishermen%20classifieds

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Fl0und3rz on February 12, 2017, 08:08:59 AM
Be safe my friend.

:yeah:  Stay safe, guys.

I just saw news of a missing boat out of St. George, the Destination, and thought of this thread.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on February 12, 2017, 04:34:22 PM
The F/V Destination was the boat that went down. 6 crewmen are missing.
They tendered for the company we sold our fish to in Bristol Bay. I don't remember ever delivering to them but I remember hearing them on the radio all the time.
I can only hope that they find survivors! Sad sad day
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 on February 12, 2017, 05:29:46 PM
I always salt fish up to bring home and pickle.  Here's a few shots of that and a couple more from the fishery.

Do you have a pickling recipe? I love picked salmon probably my favorite food I just don't know how to do it
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on February 12, 2017, 09:39:05 PM
For basic pickled salmon I salt the fish at least two weeks in a five gallon plastic bucket. I cut fillets into two or three pieces and put in a layer of salt, and a layer of fish and keep repeating. I start with the fish skin side down, then the second layer is meat side down and so on so it's always meat to meat and skin to skin. When I want to make a batch of pickled fish, I take out what I think I need and first peel the skin off it. Then cut it in to cubes about 1 inch square. Then it goes in a big bowl in the sink where I "freshen" it. I fill the bowl with water, then leave the tap on so that water still drizzles into the bowl at a slow rate. Every half hour I stir the bowl up and pour all the water out and start with fresh. I couldn't really tell you how long I soak it for. but after a few hours I taste a small bit to see how salty it is. I like to soak it until I can't taste the salt.

Then I put a layer of fish, a layer of onions and a couple slices of lemon and some pickling spice. I may add a little sliced garlic too, then repeat until the jar is almost full.  Then I fill the jar with distilled vinegar. If you like it sweeter, you can add some sugar or brown sugar to taste.

When I want to get fancy, I use the same method, but add sliced limes and oranges to the layers, then make a mixture that is 1/5 - 1/4 C*censored*nay wine and the rest distilled vinegar for the brine and add sugar for sweetening. Makes a nice fruity pickled fish.  It takes about three days in the fridge for it to cure up, at a minimum, but I find it best after 10-14 days. Keep what you aren't eating refrigerated. Otherwise the meat will get mushy and fall apart.

My other fancy version is to use Burgundy wine instead of C*censored*nay and brown sugar instead of white. I usually only ad lemons to this version and not the limes and oranges.

Here's a few pix of the process.

I use old pickle jars or artichoke jars and put a few layers of cellophane under the lid for a seal as I like to turn the jar upside down in the fridge at least once a day for the first few days.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Some people like to add other veggies like cauliflower or broccoli or peppers, hot or not.

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 on February 13, 2017, 01:02:27 AM
For basic pickled salmon I salt the fish at least two weeks in a five gallon plastic bucket. I cut fillets into two or three pieces and put in a layer of salt, and a layer of fish and keep repeating. I start with the fish skin side down, then the second layer is meat side down and so on so it's always meat to meat and skin to skin. When I want to make a batch of pickled fish, I take out what I think I need and first peel the skin off it. Then cut it in to cubes about 1 inch square. Then it goes in a big bowl in the sink where I "freshen" it. I fill the bowl with water, then leave the tap on so that water still drizzles into the bowl at a slow rate. Every half hour I stir the bowl up and pour all the water out and start with fresh. I couldn't really tell you how long I soak it for. but after a few hours I taste a small bit to see how salty it is. I like to soak it until I can't taste the salt.

Then I put a layer of fish, a layer of onions and a couple slices of lemon and some pickling spice. I may add a little sliced garlic too, then repeat until the jar is almost full.  Then I fill the jar with distilled vinegar. If you like it sweeter, you can add some sugar or brown sugar to taste.

When I want to get fancy, I use the same method, but add sliced limes and oranges to the layers, then make a mixture that is 1/5 - 1/4 C*censored*nay wine and the rest distilled vinegar for the brine and add sugar for sweetening. Makes a nice fruity pickled fish.  It takes about three days in the fridge for it to cure up, at a minimum, but I find it best after 10-14 days. Keep what you aren't eating refrigerated. Otherwise the meat will get mushy and fall apart.

My other fancy version is to use Burgundy wine instead of C*censored*nay and brown sugar instead of white. I usually only ad lemons to this version and not the limes and oranges.

Here's a few pix of the process.

I use old pickle jars or artichoke jars and put a few layers of cellophane under the lid for a seal as I like to turn the jar upside down in the fridge at least once a day for the first few days.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Some people like to add other veggies like cauliflower or broccoli or peppers, hot or not.

Man that looks good! So when you go to salt he fish how heavy do you need to salt it and do you keep the fish refrigerated while salting or does the salt protect it?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on February 13, 2017, 11:21:08 AM
I cover each layer with 1/4-1/2 inch of salt. The top layer with about an inch of salt. I use either course or medium rock salt which I buy from the cannery I fish for in 50# bags. If I remember, that's about $12 a bag and it will salt up about three buckets of fish. You don't have to refrigerate it when it's salted, but I keep it someplace cool, like a dark corner in my basement.  In a hot location, you'd maybe want to refrigerate it though as you don't want it getting cooked. The salt is going to suck the moisture out of the fish and will make a brine the fish sits in. The worst thing I've found for salted fish is for it to be exposed to air.  It will turn yellow and get rancid. So be careful when you remove some to prepare, that you don't expose any of the remaining fish to air.

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: tmike on February 13, 2017, 12:05:04 PM
That sounds great. As another option for a little sweeter brine I do a quart of vinegar, 2 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups white sugar. Heat it up until the sugar dissolves and put that in the fridge over night. The fish I skin and cut in 1 inch pieces. The fish brine is one cup water and 1 cup pickling salt also over night. The next day I rinse the fish really well then add fish and ingredients to jars and add the solution. In 3 days it's ready To go. Red salmon I like the best but use anything you have.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Fl0und3rz on February 13, 2017, 12:31:00 PM
Nice. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Ripper on February 20, 2017, 11:58:04 AM
Skillit my friend, glad to see that things are going well for you up North. I didn't realize you were based out of Sitka. I have been on planning a trip to Sitka/Barranoff for about a year now. I'd like to get some Kings and lings plus my 4 deer limit.  I will keep in touch and hopefully be able to meet up although I would probably be there during your busy time. Anyway, good stuff, keep it up I am enjoying the read.  Do you miss walleye fishing on Banks and Rufus? I would imagine it seems boring compared to what you are doing now. Much more relaxing though. I wish you the best.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 20, 2017, 09:34:44 PM
Howdy Ripper -
By all means, when you get thinking seriously about heading up that way let me know.  If at all possible, I'll meet up with you.  July through the end of Sept works be tough, but before or after is doable.
I sure do miss walleye fishing, but the good news is the best fishing of the year for the big girls is starting right now.  Early spring on the Big C is awesome, and my buddy that I've fished walleye with for 12 or so years just had two personal best fish this weekend.  It's happening right now, get out there!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Ripper on February 21, 2017, 05:04:38 PM
I've down on the C but I'd like too. I'll need some pointers.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 27, 2017, 12:37:00 PM
Thought it was finally time to start telling the story that Boss300winmag asked for – my scariest moment up there so far. I still get a bit of an adrenaline surge whenever I share this story, and not in a “woo-hoo!!” way.  This story is still relatively fresh (raw?) in my mind - and the chain of events I am about to describe are in my subconscious thoughts every time I slip the mooring lines safely tying me to land and point the bow towards the self-reliance and opportunity that the ocean represents to me.  I can only do this story justice by telling it as unvarnished as possible.  It is entirely possible that after reading this recounting of my experience, folks may just think “meh.”  Or feel compelled to tell me how I did it wrong, and how poor of a decision maker I was, or just plain stupid.  Fire away if you must, nothing that could be said here hasn't been thought by myself first.

This story is about dinglebar fishing for lingcod on the Fairweather Grounds.  It is a directed fishery, and a bit of background on the techniques may not be necessary, but I think it is interesting.  A separate commercial fishing permit is required to catch lingcod via dinglebar, and it is not a limited entry permit.  Anybody can do it if you have a vessel registered as an Alaska Commercial Vessel.  After that, you plunk your $30 down, or whatever the license costs, and you’re a commercial fisherman. The stocks are managed by area and quota, and in some areas the commercial quota gets caught up very quickly.    Gearing up is a bit different than salmon trolling though.  Think of it as a HUGE bottom bouncer (walleye guys) or a three-way rig.  What I like to use as the weight is a 70-80# bar of 3”-4” round stock*.  That attaches to the bottom of my 5/64” stainless troll wire with a breakaway strap (I use a single wrap of hard-lay halibut ganglion, about 500# breaking strength vs the 900# strength of my 5/64 wire), and the wire is spooled onto hydraulically powered gurdies.  The gurdies are industrial strength downriggers, effectively.  In dinglebar fishing, you are allowed to use only one line at a time.  The fisherman stands in the pit with one hand on the wire and other on the gurdy valve while idling the boat forward, trying to keep the dinglebar just barely touching the bottom but not dragging on it.  We are fishing for lingcod here, so if you’re not occasionally ticking the bottom you’re not really fishing.  If you are dragging dinglebars, you’re losing dinglebars.  Guaranteed.  I but a lot of steel on the bottom this year before I got the technique down.  Dealing with the bottom contours in addition to the ocean swell can get tricky, but it’s expensive not to learn it quick. 

Above the breakaway strap there is a becket that is hold the “train” to the wire.  The train is the string of jigs you have trailing behind the weight, usually setup so the jigs are trailing along behind about a fathom (6 ft) above the breakaway strap.  Guys rig them differently, but I like to use 300# break strength tuna cord with 6 jigs per “shot” and spread out a fathom apart, making each shot 6 fa long.  I hook two shots together to make the train, for a total of 12 jigs and 12 fa of gear behind the dinglebar.  Each jig is attached to the train via a ½ fa leader of 100# monofilament.  The jigs are fisherman’s preference, but the smallest I use are 8oz heads on 10/0 O’Shaughnessy hooks.  Hang a 8-12” plastic bait (twister tail, scampi, B2-squid, etc.) on the jig, snap a big metal spoon on the very end of the train and you’re fishing.  That’s a lot of weight to drag that far behind your dinglebar at 2.5 kts without the jigs plowing the bottom, so we have to add floats to help it achieve neutral buoyancy.  I like to use 4” round hard long line floats that I can snap on as I deploy the train, which allows me to change the floatation instantly depending on the jig style I’m using.  Some guys like to rig smaller floats inline on the shot above each jig.  It’s a cleaner way to go, and I may do that next year. 

Here’s an image that generally shows what I’m describing:

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Ffiles.ctctcdn.com%2F1068c47d001%2F6881993a-acd3-4b56-beeb-231b2dd3a380.jpg&hash=4de2440d32aa4b79820afac2582db34e)

The Fairweather Grounds dinglebar fishery is called “East Yakutat”, and the quota is usually caught up in 3-5 days.  It is a true derby-style fishery, where we are all competing to get the biggest share of the commercial quota as is possible.  Really a grind, but it is a lot of fun to fish like that if you can do it safely and sanely.  The incentive to “beat” the other guys to a very limited commercial quota will lead many to make decisions they wouldn’t otherwise.  Like going to the Fairweather Grounds in May when the weather forecast wasn’t perfect for it.  It is a bit crazy, since these fish are not worth a huge amount of money – but the thrill of the chase and the catching large numbers of big fish is a temptation that is hard to resist.  It was for me…


Here’s a pic of the chart of the Fairweather Grounds relative to Sitka.
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2F20170121_092059.jpg&hash=d657e447d78b3ff9a383870233084569)

The green icon in the bottom right side of the screen is my boat in the harbor, the Fairweather Grounds are an offshore plateau that comes up to about 13-ish fa from very deep gulf waters.  The FW grounds start about 150 nautical miles (or "nm" - a nautical mile is 6000 feet in length for you lubbers, vs. the 5280 they measure statute miles with) northwest of Sitka, and range roughly 30 miles in width and 12-15 miles north to south.  It is a huge bottom feature that is extremely rich in feed and holds a lot of fish.   Interestingly, the Canadian trollers are ones that pioneered fishing the grounds before our Exclusive Economic Zone waters were pushed out to 200 nm from shore, which then encompassed the grounds.  The reason why it is so rich, and the reason why it is so respected, is because of the plateau's proximity to extremely deep water.  You cannot see it in this chart, but on the southern edge the rise is extremely dramatic.  There are several places where it comes up from 1000 fa (1 nm deep) to 500 fa to 30 fa in just a few short miles.  That creates an upwelling of nutrient-rich cold water onto the FW grounds, and the feed flourishes. It is also why when the wind starts blowing you need to pay attention, and if it blows a bit too enthusiastically from the south you need to think about getting off of the grounds. in any sort of Southerly wind (SW, S, SE) the swell builds over deep water and is a typically moderate ocean swell.  Say you're looking at a 30 kt SE wind over 24 hours, that's going to build about a 15 ft sea on usually 15-20 second periods with a 5' wind wave on top (just an estimation for illustration purposes).  That is uncomfortable, but doable in my boat.  I did it all summer.  However, when you take that huge wave pulse and squeeze it from 1000 fa deep to 500 fa deep to 30 fa deep, the period gets shorter and waves get taller.  That easy 15ft with 5 ft wind chop, by the time it gets to the top of the FW Grounds plateau, is 22-25 ft and a 12 second period.  That is dangerous in a boat my size, and uncomfortable in all but the biggest of ships.  I would never willingly put my and the Diamond Lil in that situation.  The thing about the FW Grounds, is the change from fishable to "this is bad" happens so fast.  The general strategy is to either not be there in questionable weather to begin with, or position yourself so that when it gets bad you can get off of the grounds and either back over deep water or to a sheltered anchorage in a hurry.

It happens so fast.  Schizophrenically fast, in terms of changes of sea state.  We call it "blowing up," a very accurate term from my point of view.  The Fairweather Grounds is noted for eating boats and men, and the next installment is my personal experience with a dramatic sea state change out on the Fairweather Grounds.

*always on the lookout for 3-4" round bar stock, if anybody has any semi axles they need to scrap...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 27, 2017, 04:36:20 PM
The dinglebar season for EYKT (east Yakutat, ie., the Fairweather Grounds) when they announce the abundance index and corresponding commercial catch available.   This usually happens in late April, after they do the test fisheries as weather allows.  I don’t recall the day the abundance was announced, but the dock talk was that it was roughly the same as last year’s, and that quota lasted 3 days out there. 
My summer deckhand was not scheduled to arrive until late May, and the fishery was scheduled to kick off on May 16th.  I viewed this as a “tryout” fishery for me, and didn’t want another guy to depend on my ability to land fish for his paycheck out there.  So after much deliberation and eyeing the weather, I decided to run out there solo and fish the community holes to figure it out.  Talk on the dock about the where and how is pretty thin – the last year there was only 16 vessels registered to fish out there, this year was looking to be 18.  I gleaned as much info as I could by lubricating the more friendly and talkative guys with Rainier, and to the gear store I went to pick up the little incidentals I didn’t bring up with me.  I was well equipped as the season approached, and you could feel the buzz on the docks as boats start their frantic last minute preparations for the fishery.  By then most guys knew who was going out, but not where.  I figured if I saw a few of the highliner boats in the area that I decided to fish, I had as good a chance as any to have a decent trip.  We start really looking at the wx closely about 5 days out.

She’s gonna blow a bit on day one.

As the days wore it was obvious there was going to be a very short, but somewhat intense, blow out of the south on the evening of the 16th, the opener.  The last wx report I got before I left was 15 kts S all day on the 16th, then increasing to gale force winds (35kts) for four hours from 1800 to 2200, then laying down to 20 kts SW at about midnight.  Then it was going to be a pond out there for the rest of the opener. 

A gale force blow needs to be given the proper respect on the Fairweather Ground (FWG) for the reasons I listed above.  But a short gale, and a quick laydown after, is totally doable if I get off of FWG and out over deep water in time to jog into it.  The weather was actually a steady 25 kts SE for two days the year before, and while it was tough to fish in people did really well.  I figured if I left the fishing grounds at 1400, gave myself 4 hours to go 10 miles (should be no problem in even the bigger water I’d been in already), I could ride it out and get back to fishing as dawn broke at 0300 the next morning.  Discussed this with a few guys that I knew were going out, that was their plan too.  So I picked out a spot on the chart towards the southern side of the grounds which would allow an easy run out to deep water, and started my final prep.  I felt confident I had a good plan, with other skippers saying as much. 

That confidence was misplaced in the forecast.

I left Sitka on the afternoon of the 14th, arriving at Leo’s Anchorage on the north edge of Salisbury Sound on the 14th, 23:15.  Decided to drop the hook and get a few hours of sleep before heading for the FWG early the next morning.
Pic of my arrival at Leo’s Anchorage on the evening of the 14th.  Red skies at night, sailor’s delight?  Turns out that really only works in the Atlantic…
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FPLyed3k.jpg&hash=bfb0dade89ab3146734ec798d5327878)

I got a solid 6 hours of sleep in Leo’s, and at 0600 on the 15th Istarted the 90-ish mile run to the FWG.  Arriving at my chosen location on the Southwest corner of the grounds that afternoon, I was very encouraged to see 5 other boats – among them a few known highliners – running over the area as well looking for bait.  We all use this as a exploratory trip for kings as well, so we’re looking for bait and big salmon marks on the sounder.  I spent a few hours mapping out a completely unknown-to-me bottom, and felt pretty good about my situation.  The weather had laid down to nothing, there was just a short oily swell of 5-6ft on the grounds.  The only issue was the wx forecast was updated that afternoon to say that the 35 kts was going to hit a tad earlier, but still last until 2200.  That means more time under the gale for the waves to build – but my plan to get off was still valid.  I thought.  I lined up my overnight drift, and tried to sleep.  I couldn’t as I was unused to sleeping while drifting, and kept getting up to check the radar, check on my drift, etc. 
The day dawned grey and overcast, with a slight ripple on the water. I eagerly sent my train down and within an hour (and losing a dinglebar) had the concept figured out.  I was landing some lings and a few yelloweye, but not smashing it.  I was intentionally staying away from  the group of boats at the very southern tip of the plateau, but as my confidence with running the boat and gear solo increased I edged closer.  As I did, I started catching fish.  A lot of fish.  I had 12 jigs going at that time, and several times I had a fish on every one.  I was catching too many yelloweye however (we’re only allowed a 10% bycatch of yelloweye in this fishery), so I had to  keep moving south towards the other boats.  I basically got in the groove with the rest of them, and was doing pretty well.  The wind was definitely increasing, quickly, at about noon.  By noon I estimated it at 25 knots and gone to SE.  That shift to SE from S was a signal I missed, since the storm had curled farther south before heading north and unbeknownst to me we weren’t going to get a glancing blow at that point.  We were in the line of fire.  The waves were building fast now and as I was cleaning fish on my southbound drag, I noticed something that gave me my first shot of adrenaline – I was totally alone out there.  I checked the radar, and marked a couple of boats steaming east towards Lituya Bay.  There I was, alone just north of the SW corner of the Fairweather Grounds with 15 miles between me and my desired location to ride this storm out.  But nobody else was heading south to ride it out?  I checked up on the weather report, and that’s when I found that they were blasting storm warnings out every 15 minutes.  The weather report had gone to 45 kts SE for 8 hours starting at 1600.  I totally understood what I was into here – I needed to get off of the FWG asap and my easy out to the south was not going to work.  I was not in what I thought of as a safe situation, and needed to make some quick decisions.

The long slog begins.

The sea state where I was “blew up”.   It went from 12-15 footers to 20+’s in 30 minutes, tops.  I couldn’t run parallel to it any longer, the roll was too severe and I was dipping the both rails.  Really uncomfortable, and this is when I started to get really seasick.  That just saps the strength from me, and makes endurance runs like the one I was facing a real challenge.  I could not run east with the rest of the guys, as they had a 15 mile head start on me and had probably cleared the grounds and made for Lituya.  That’s what I thought, anyway.  Radar is pretty useless when the boat is rolling so hard in big waves, it just has a hard time with orientation.  So I was not really sure where everybody was at this point.  I had two choices as I saw it – run north into Yakutat.  That, in retrospect, is the decision I should have made.  I didn’t want to as I had never been before, and it can be hard to make your way back down the coast to Sitka if the storm parks itself just off the coast.  Should have done it tho.  Instead, I decided that although the weather was going to be bad, I was going to execute my original plan.  I felt as though I could work the throttle and jog into it if I could just get off this damn plateau over deep water.  So, at 1420, I turned the boat south and settled in for a long, long night on the throttle.

Mayday call

At 1630, a mayday came in over the radio.  The F/V Roslyn, a 46’ wooden troller,  gave their position putting them on the north edge of the Fairweather Grounds and advised the coast guard that they were taking on water and unable to slow it down.  The Coast Guard sent a chopper out and lowered dewatering pumps but they were unsuccessful in slowing the water inflow.  The skipper and CG agreed that the best course of action is to lift them off and abandon the boat.  The thing with trollers, however, is that there is a lot of rigging up above deck and a chopper can’t safely get a basket on deck in most cases.  So, they were instructed to inflate the life raft and jump in the water.  The Coast Guard was able to pick up both men without injury and the F/V Roslyn was never seen again.  That is a pretty sobering thing to listen to as you are out there battling the elements, but certainly makes a guy feel as though there is a guardian angel looking out for you if the poop really hits the fan. 
At midnight, I had made a total of 15 miles south.  Just off the edge of the grounds, and not in a safe place yet.  I normally run at 7.5 knots, so 8 hours of running gets me 60 nm of wake.  But I was averaging under 2 knots bashing into this stuff, and it was still building.  It was dark and predicting the waves based on sight wasn’t working.  So I made the call to end the trip and head for shore.  This gave me the option of angling towards Chichagof Island again, and towards the sweet relief of an anchorage.  I couldn’t see the size of the waves, but I had never been in anything like that.  My bow would push through a wave, and then fall… and fall and fall.  The anchor would come off of the bow roller and only be held in by the welded loop above it.  When the boat’s bow would land, it was in the trough and instantly start pushing into the next wave.  I was scooping large amounts of green water and making just over a knot SOG.  I needed to find an angle of attack that would allow for some ground to be covered and not destroy my boat.  I was able to find a bit of a sweet spot and rode that for a while.

0200 May 17th


I was getting pretty tired and was certain I had tried to puke my toenails out at that point.  I still maintained a vigilant help presence, and was encouraged by the 2.5 knots I was averaging.  The waves were coming on at about 30 degress off my starboard bow, and with the help of the stabalizers in the water it seemed to be a point of sail the Diamond Lil handled fairly well.  Everything was straining, creaking, groaning.  But holding – until it didn’t.  My port stabilizer line parted at the shackle, and as soon as that happened my world turned into a carnival ride.  With no roll attenuation on the port side, the boat would heel over more to starboard and hang there longer, in the direction the waves were coming at me.  My starboard rail was spending way too much time under water and I had to make a course correction to the south to reduce the risk.  It was disheartening to see that my speed dropped down to 1.something knots again and my layline had me pointed towards Vancouver island.  I couldn’t turn towards shore, I couldn’t make any real headway, and turning around at this point with one stabilizer in the water would have been suicide.  There I was, still 70+ miles out from safety unable to go anywhere.  I thought that as soon as dawn broke I could get that other stabilizer in, be more strategic in my attack angle and work my way towards shore.  I just needed to survive the next hour and a half of big waves, inky blackness and vicious winds.

I didn’t make it to dawn.

My log records the event at about 0230.  I was tired, sick and just jogging the throttle, trying to avoid big green water from coming over the rail.  One wave I didn’t avoid, however.   All I remember from that instant was the lingering of the boat over to starboard, then the sound of exploding glass and the feeling of total confusion.  I never saw the wave that got me.  A wave that didn’t match the wave pattern (rouge wave?) come over my starboard bow and blew out two of my starboard wheel house windows.  There was a solid jet of saltwater that come through the front of my wheelhouse and doused the entire starboard side of my cabin.  I was in my sweats and socks, trying to stay as comfy as I could while fighting the battle.  In my inverter went out instantly, and with it went my computer that contained my navigation software.  My Furuno depth finder took a direct hit and was instantly out of commission as well.  I was officially in a tough spot at that point, and I ran on adrenaline for a few hours after that. 

Assessing the damage

I knew priority one was to get boards on those windows.  I was constantly taking more water on through them via spray and splash, so I threw one boot on (couldn’t find the other) and went on top of the wheelhouse where I kept the covering boards.  I wrestled two of them down and around to the front of the cabin where I could install them.  Carrying two 24”x16” pieces of plywood in that kind of wind and wave on a severly rocking boat is a quite an ordeal, but I managed to get one installed from the outside up front and then the second from the inside.  That took 10-ish minutes, and I took on a lot more water in the meantime.  Once I got the boards on, I got back to assessing the damage.  Foc’s’le was flooded to 10” of water, half of the cabin soaked, anything that was on a shelf wasn’t anymore, glass everywhere.  Lucky I didn’t slice up my foot too.  Autopilot still taking orders from the compass, thankfully, so I could somewhat pay attention to restoring power.  I fired up the genset and flipped the switches over to genset power - thankfully it worked.  Amazingly, although my computer was soaked with saltwater, it still fired – but the keyboard didn’t work. I eventually got my mouse to respond and got my navigation software running again.  Dawn started to break and I became much more aware of the enormity of the waves I was dealing with.  I also saw that if I could only make a few more miles of southing that I could get into what I was sure was much easier water to deal with.

Storm Day #2 of the 4 hour gale

The 17th was more of the same in terms of wind and wave.  But I could see them, which helped a ton.  I got the port stabilizer in and that balanced out the boat’s action significantly.  By 0500 I had been up for 48 hours straight, with only 6 hours of sleep in the last 72.  I was still sick as a dog, and had nothing left to give in that department.  The saving grace here was I could see that there was a noticeable change in the wave patterns – I could turn a few more degrees towards shore and head for Salisbury Sound.  The rest of the day was just a long, long day of improving sea state and motoring towards the safety of a harbor.  I piled on as much easterly heading as I dared, and jockeyed the throttle navigating waves for the rest of the day until darkness came.  At that point I was making maybe 4 knots through steadily improving sea conditions.  The wind was starting to lay down, and though the sea was still very uncomfortable and tall, the waves spread out a bit relative to what they were before and allowed for me to come off of the adrenaline focus on ending this trip.  I made it to shore at Leo’s Anchorage, the same place I launched this misadventure from, at 2310 on May 17th.  I have never been so relieved in my life as when I was able to drop the hook in Leo’s and allow myself the sweet relief of sleep. 

I woke at 1100 the next morning and took this picture of my wheelhouse windows.  I also took a video of the carnage, but I have been unable to watch it all the way through yet.  Then I started in through Neva Strait towards Sitka.


View from inside on the morning of the 18th

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FzVJwvhZ.jpg&hash=a441e19bcdc1345bbcef6d6429ec90e8)


A friend of mine that was on the dock at the processor in Sitka took this pic of me heading over to unload.  You can see the covering boards from the outside, and maybe see the loose rigging where I lost my stabilizer.

Limping into town

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FPIpmP5A.jpg&hash=75196d18e0dae7fcc86b25e216ea24a5)

Dockside pic of the front of my wheelhouse.  I worked really hard and fast to make sure I got these windows fixed asap.  Not a good look for me or my boat…
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2Fl82YKIz.jpg&hash=c78b94bf01df3ceaaef32b3892e1d338)

People in town had heard about all of the carnage out there, and were checking in on us.  One of the guys I knew was Guthrie on the Velvet and was fishing with out on the West Bank hadn’t been heard from yet, however.  When he limped into town on the 18th I was unbelievably glad to see him.  His boat was in a bad way, however.  She was leaking pretty severly through her bottom planking and had folded a trolling pole, taking out all of her antennae.  That left him without comm’s for two full days.  I was so glad to see him on the dock I shook his hand, and he pulled me into a big bear hug.  And I hugged him back.  And it was one of the most sincere “am I  glad to see you!” hugs I’ve ever experienced.  I barely new the guy, but was nearly reduced to tears when he finally got back and I shook his hand.  We swapped a few quick stories, then he had to get back to work keeping his boat floating.  Unfortunately, after he got all of his rigging and antennae fixed, the Velvet sunk less than three weeks later with no loss of life or injury.   I believe the beating she took out on the Fairweather Grounds during that storm was too much for that 58’ wooden boat to handle, and she sprung a plank.  That’s my assessment, anyway.
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FteJlbuh.jpg&hash=63835665deb8a4f88c47d560803e55f5)


Here’s what we do it for.  A fish.  This is a pic of one of my lings at the sampling station at SPC.  That fish got sold to the plant for less than $2/#, and likely ended up in a market somewhere as a pair of $9.99/# filets.  Nobody who ate that fish knows what it took to get it to shore and on their plate. 
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FoAVVTpE.jpg&hash=8019382a1a6d1ca3e85f7a597c3731be)

I hope that my telling this story causes some people pause for a moment to think about that when they enjoy the bounty of the ocean.  Not to be overly grateful, or fawn over fishermen.  But to just realize that these fish are out there, sometimes way out there, and it takes some effort to get them to a plate for enjoyment.  Knowing that just might make it taste a little better, too.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, it was pretty cathartic to finally put this story down to be read.

Everybody be safe out there-
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bearpaw on February 27, 2017, 05:33:43 PM
Heck of a story skillet, glad you are still around to tell it!  :twocents:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Mark Brenckle on February 27, 2017, 06:49:47 PM
Heck of a story skillet, glad you are still around to tell it!  :twocents:
:yeah:  as well as all the other great stories and information in these posts!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bowhunterforever on February 27, 2017, 07:03:15 PM
Heck of a story skillet, glad you are still around to tell it!  :twocents:
:yeah:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: yum tag soup on February 27, 2017, 07:53:01 PM
Wow! That's all I got. Glad your good to  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on February 27, 2017, 07:54:38 PM
Heck of a story skillet, glad you are still around to tell it!  :twocents:
:yeah:

That's crazy in a boat that size.  :yike:

I remember waves breaking over the bow of the USS Forrestal in the North Atlantic above the artic circle, but it wasn't really scary, kinda hard to sink a carrier.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Angry Perch on February 27, 2017, 08:00:47 PM
I didn't need to read that, Skillet. I don't like your little adventure so much anymore!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Special T on February 27, 2017, 09:19:12 PM
It's not an epic adventure unless there is a near death experience!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WAcoueshunter on February 27, 2017, 09:32:12 PM
Wow, glad you and the Diamond Lil are okay!  Really scary, just that much worse to go through that by yourself and in the dark.  That's beyond pucker factor. 


Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on February 27, 2017, 09:42:55 PM
As one who has been through it more than once, I appreciate what you went through Skillet.  There are times when you want to give up, but you know if you take even a small break, you're done for.  It's all survival mode.  One thing I've noticed is how focused you can be when your rear end is on the line.  But I've also known people who panicked from the danger and were unable to function.  You really find out what you are made of in times like these.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 27, 2017, 11:24:56 PM
Thanks for the kind sentiments fellas, I appreciate it.

I didn't need to read that, Skillet. I don't like your little adventure so much anymore!

Blame Boss300winmag - he asked for it!


As one who has been through it more than once, I appreciate what you went through Skillet.  There are times when you want to give up, but you know if you take even a small break, you're done for.  It's all survival mode.  One thing I've noticed is how focused you can be when your rear end is on the line.  But I've also known people who panicked from the danger and were unable to function. You really find out what you are made of in times like these.

I think this is absolutely true. I used to think that "tough" meant physically dominating, able to withstand pain, etc.  I look at it completely differently now.  Tough is a measurement of mental fortitude.  Are you a quitter?  Do you "shut down"?  Can you push through?  "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" has a whole new meaning to me now.

I'm still not tough compared to many I respect by my old definition.  But in taking on commercial fishing as a career/lifestyle, I have discovered that when forced to perform under extreme circumstances, I was not disappointed to find out what I was made of.  Unfortunate that it took me this long in life to have the opportunity to prove out what I had always suspected, but grateful I finally did. 

I really wish that every young man got the chance to test himself to an extreme where the risk is real.  100 years ago, that was nearly a daily occourance. Sadly, in our overly-litigious modern society, those opportunities are nearly non-existent.  But they are still there if one looks, especially to the north. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: plugger on February 28, 2017, 04:24:33 PM
My first opener was on the fairweather grounds. If memory serves me, we boated 76 kings that first day. Spent a lot of time in lityua bay either because of weather or waiting out openers. Is the shrimping and crabbing still good? What an amazing place. We spent a halibut opener in there because of the weather and decided to see if we could catch some just out of boredom. We ended up catching around 40 just inside the entrance, all cookie cutter 30 lbers. I actually made a couple hundred bucks.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on February 28, 2017, 09:42:28 PM
Skillet, do you know Tele and Joel on the Nerka? I watched them both perform at Fisher/Poets in Astoria this weekend. Very powerful writers and they both told their stories from the heart. They were my two favorite performers from the weekend.

Well, Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers were pretty good too.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 28, 2017, 11:51:41 PM
Skillet, do you know Tele and Joel on the Nerka? I watched them both perform at Fisher/Poets in Astoria this weekend. Very powerful writers and they both told their stories from the heart. They were my two favorite performers from the weekend.

Well, Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers were pretty good too.

Joel and Tele are friends; they are of the finest kind.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on March 01, 2017, 02:15:22 AM
Skillet, do you know Tele and Joel on the Nerka? I watched them both perform at Fisher/Poets in Astoria this weekend. Very powerful writers and they both told their stories from the heart. They were my two favorite performers from the weekend.

Well, Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers were pretty good too.

Joel and Tele are friends; they are of the finest kind.

From the stories they told, I'd have to agree.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Blacktail135 on March 01, 2017, 12:20:42 PM
 I enjoy reading about commercial fishing. A couple of books I've read that I thought were pretty good are: "Hard to the Wind" by Russ Hofvendahl and "We all choke the same Herring" by Vince Cameron. Thanks for the stories on this thread!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Wetwoodshunter on March 01, 2017, 01:33:11 PM
Unbelievable read Skillet!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: nontypical176 on March 01, 2017, 03:08:46 PM
Good read.  20 years ago I went up on a perse sein boat for a season.  It was cool and gives you a totally different outlook on life.  Would have went back but I lost 15 lbs to sea sick, so one season was enough.  It's funny all the scary stories from up there are on the boats.  My scariest moments were flying into and out of OldHarbor village.   The turbulence, animals, fog, rain and unimproved runways up there make just getting to the fishing grounds a real adventure.    I Was the last flight out of the village for 2 weeks due to weather and it was ugly when I left.   The young native kid on our boat lost half his family in boat accidents, he is the only living male left and still fishes. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 01, 2017, 11:03:17 PM
Here's a commercial fishing reality no matter the fishery you're involved in - boatyard work.  The Diamond Lil went on the hard today; the drudge work begins now.

(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi291.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fll312%2Fcaskillet%2FMobile%2520Uploads%2F20170301_100747.jpg&hash=412e365887c0c185cf85a14a56a30e0a)



When fish catching season is over, cash spending season begins in earnest -
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on March 02, 2017, 12:23:05 PM
So here is a true fishing story from one of the people I asked Skillet about, above. I received permission from her to share this.  It was my favorite story at Fisher/Poets last weekend in Astoria. This is a recording from an earlier Fisher/Poet show in Bellingham.  A coming of age story of sorts. It brings out the heavy responsibilities thrust upon those of us who grew up in fishing families and the realities of making mistakes. 

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on March 02, 2017, 12:59:28 PM
What are you getting done, Skillet?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 02, 2017, 01:57:51 PM
What are you getting done, Skillet?

It's a long list, but the primary jobs are fresh bottom paint, doing a new fiberglass fish hold liner, chip and paint all the small rust spots, cut out and replace some steel on the topsides, clean up some wiring, scrub and paint engine room. 

It's gong to be a lot of hours.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on March 02, 2017, 02:17:30 PM
What are you getting done, Skillet?

It's a long list, but the primary jobs are fresh bottom paint, doing a new fiberglass fish hold liner, chip and paint all the small rust spots, cut out and replace some steel on the topsides, clean up some wiring, scrub and paint engine room. 

It's gong to be a lot of hours.
Sounds like you are really enjoying the time off after a very long season.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 02, 2017, 02:17:52 PM
Sitka BT-

Thank you so much for posting that up.  When I decided to leave my straight job for a "life of slime," Tele and Joel were there to answer any number of my inane questions, providing quiet encouragement the whole way. 

One of my proudest moments this year was in August, when the Nerka and the Diamond Lil happened to be in Sitka at the same time - if only for a few minutes.  Tele saw we were doing a quick turn on the trip and were planning on leaving right away, so came over to chat for a bit.  I introduced Tele to my relatively new deckhand Mike as she was handing him our mooring lines.  Tele, gracious as always, welcomed Mike to the troll fleet and said "Pleased to meet you Mike.  You are very lucky.  The Diamond Lil is a wonderful boat and has a great captain.  Good luck to you, be safe."

Thought I was going to burst with pride.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 02, 2017, 02:40:34 PM
Sounds like you are really enjoying the time off after a very long season.

Ha, you know it.  Partying like a rock star over here.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Scvette on March 02, 2017, 05:31:15 PM
Cold and windy. N40 gusting to 50. Luckily close to shore so no big seas.

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 19, 2017, 08:01:16 PM
Just posted up in the "Looking for work/Looking to Hire" thread that I'm interviewing for a Deckhand spot for the summer troll season.  Check out the info there and PM me if you're interested.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on March 22, 2017, 01:59:43 PM
Don't you owe us some pictures and such on this thread by now?  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 22, 2017, 02:01:27 PM
Busted! 
I do, but the pics I have are on a comp I don't have access to right now.  I'll see of i can scare up a few pics and a story in the next few days...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on March 22, 2017, 02:04:06 PM
 :tup:  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Night goat on March 26, 2017, 02:15:16 AM
Well, it's official, today, i just landed me a gig seining up in Prince William Sound for the summer, season will be a little shorter for me than usual, but, the way I see it, I get paid for a 2.5 month vacation, unlimited sports fishing oppertunities seiners, seaplanes, skiffs, maybe some deer hunting, four wheelers, hell... Might even make a lil cash on the side. I hear price is gonna be good
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: HUNTINCOUPLE on March 26, 2017, 07:29:41 AM
Great read! Glad to here your back safe and sound.  :yike:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 on March 26, 2017, 07:51:14 AM
Well, it's official, today, i just landed me a gig seining up in Prince William Sound for the summer, season will be a little shorter for me than usual, but, the way I see it, I get paid for a 2.5 month vacation, unlimited sports fishing oppertunities seiners, seaplanes, skiffs, maybe some deer hunting, four wheelers, hell... Might even make a lil cash on the side. I hear price is gonna be good

That's awesome I've always wanted to fish there
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on March 26, 2017, 10:51:04 PM
Well, it's official, today, i just landed me a gig seining up in Prince William Sound for the summer, season will be a little shorter for me than usual, but, the way I see it, I get paid for a 2.5 month vacation, unlimited sports fishing oppertunities seiners, seaplanes, skiffs, maybe some deer hunting, four wheelers, hell... Might even make a lil cash on the side. I hear price is gonna be good

We'll have to meet up for a beer. Let me Know when you get there.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 26, 2017, 11:50:02 PM
Well, it's official, today, i just landed me a gig seining up in Prince William Sound for the summer, season will be a little shorter for me than usual, but, the way I see it, I get paid for a 2.5 month vacation, unlimited sports fishing oppertunities seiners, seaplanes, skiffs, maybe some deer hunting, four wheelers, hell... Might even make a lil cash on the side. I hear price is gonna be good

 Hope you slay up there man.   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 08, 2017, 10:09:51 AM
Been a while since I've posted, wanted to share a vid of some good chum fishing in Sitka Sound from yesterday.


My deckhand Kyle is a Washington guy, fellow hunter.  We've been doing pretty good on the coho this year too.  But you gotta troll dress the coho - chums are nice because they are after the eggs, so I just pop a gill and slush them in those deck totes. Kyle is a big fan of chums!  :chuckle:

Enjoy-
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Timberstalker on August 08, 2017, 10:36:17 AM
Holy cow, that's putting fish in the boat!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: pianoman9701 on August 08, 2017, 10:46:26 AM
Cool video, Chris.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on August 08, 2017, 11:41:24 AM
My brother just did a summer season on a boat up there.  He just got back he loved it. Who knew hipsters liked fishing :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on August 08, 2017, 01:17:11 PM
Always wanted a photo like that from my days up there. Ever since I saw the one in the P Bar, it was a goal. Got close a few times, never made it quite perfect
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bearpaw on August 08, 2017, 08:17:44 PM
Skillet, I enjoy reading and watching this topic!  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 13, 2017, 09:01:41 PM
%*¢¿~®& boats. Have a lingering air-in-fuel issue that caused me to want to get off the ocean blue this morning.  Nothing really serious, but not something I wanted to risk out in 25 kts fishing where nobody else is.  So the crew and I decided to take a much deserved half-day off on our way back to town. What to do?

I spotted a WW2 pill box up on top of Ataku Isl as we were coming through Biorka Channel.  Can you see it?  Decided we're gonna stretch our legs and check it out.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 13, 2017, 09:13:03 PM
It was a pretty short and sweet hike through very dense underbrush. Kyle wore sweats, I wore jeans. Neither was a great idea. But felt good to get soaked with freshwater nonetheless.

Got up to the pill box/bunker, it was on stilts. Wish I had more pics of it, but didn't think to take them.

Here's a pic of me lining up on some invading enemy forces.  You can all rest easy tonight - I'm watching out for those DPRK advance forces.

(Producer credit to Carpsniper for sourcing the armament for me).
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 13, 2017, 09:18:05 PM
Some of the interior wood had been burned long ago and left great charred writing sticks.  So some temporary graffiti was in order.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: carpsniperg2 on August 13, 2017, 09:23:39 PM
That is sweet fishing! Man the hours of fishing I have done to bonk one fish. Man that would be a kick in the pants!!!
Great video!!!

Hope the new guns are holding up well in the salt :IBCOOL:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 13, 2017, 09:26:33 PM
Headed back to the boat, on our way into town now. Just a few minutes ago, a humpback was putting on an aerial show.  Caught one lazy jump on vid.


Thought I'd share a non-fishing adventure. Gonna be some boat work in the morning, then back to doing my part to produce the finest salmon available.  Wild Alaska Troll!

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on August 13, 2017, 09:28:38 PM
Would have been funny to  chalk in Hunt Wa on the wall of that bunker. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 13, 2017, 09:31:42 PM
There's a few bunkers around here - that just might happen yet  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: JKEEN33 on August 13, 2017, 09:35:56 PM
Headed back to the boat, on our way into town now. Just a few minutes ago, a humpback was putting on an aerial show.  Caught one lazy jump on vid.


Thought I'd share a non-fishing adventure. Gonna be some boat work in the morning, then back to doing my part to produce the finest salmon available.  Wild Alaska Troll!

Good luck, stay safe! FYI, The car is still running great. Thanks again.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 13, 2017, 09:58:00 PM
 :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on August 13, 2017, 10:08:43 PM
There's a few bunkers around here - that just might happen yet  :chuckle:


The Adirondack shelter at Kakul narrows used to have our names in it, till some jack-nut burned it down a few years back. Also have signed into the shelter on Otstoia island up around North Arm. Cool pics!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 16, 2017, 12:44:48 PM
Here's a pic of one tough dude.  He's been hand-trolling out of his 26' St Pierre dory all season. I saw him fishing up off of Yakobi rock in some snotty wx a few weeks ago, and now he's down here in Sitka, 60-some miles away as the crow flies.  His cabin consists of a small house (about 36" high inside, tops) built on the forward third of his little ship, with only a canvas flap in the back to keep the wx out.  He's got an outboard in a well amidships, and a transom hung rudder.  Two short wooden poles and a couple of hand-cranker gurdies.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on August 16, 2017, 12:47:42 PM
 :yike: I am not sure tough is a strong enough adjective.  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on August 16, 2017, 12:49:39 PM
Dang!

I met a guy who lived on his boat at the Ballard oil dock. Ole, I think he hand rolled year round on the Washington coast and in the straight. Hands like leather and tough as nails!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 16, 2017, 12:56:08 PM
Good point Woodchuck.  Hand trollers on bigger boats are tough.  I can't swear to it, but this guy may be Chuck Norris.

I was advised early on by an old salt to never get in a fist fight with a hand troller.  I think that goes double for this guy.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on August 16, 2017, 12:57:57 PM
Good point Woodchuck.  Hand trollers on bigger boats are tough.  I can't swear to it, but this guy may be Chuck Norris.

I was advised early on by an old salt to never get in a fist fight with a hand troller.  I think that goes double for this guy.
Sounds like solid advice to me.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: pianoman9701 on August 16, 2017, 02:00:23 PM
I need your fish, Chris. When you coming back?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 16, 2017, 02:29:24 PM
Hi Pman - with the summer chinook shutdown I'm not able to work on kings again until the AK winter troll opens in mid Oct.  And given the doom and gloom we're hearing about ocean survival, there is dock chatter that we might not even get that fishery this winter.  That would really hurt my operation, so I'd be looking for other fish to work on.  I'll keep you posted. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 17, 2017, 07:45:30 PM
Well, got some kings over the last couple of days here in Sitka Sound before we got blown off the water tonight.  40 kts SE incoming, everybody's heading for town.  The P-bar will be hopping tonight  :chuckle:

Here's a pic of the biggest one this trip, and the hootchie that caused his demise.  Guessing right around 20# dressed, but the scale will tell the tale tomorrow morning.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Mark Brenckle on October 17, 2017, 08:09:31 PM
Cool, glad to see they opened the king season.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: j_h_nimrod on October 17, 2017, 08:59:07 PM
I miss fresh king on the BBQ!  Nothing better!  Not sure if I am alone, but an iced king makes my mouth water :drool:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 17, 2017, 09:16:24 PM
Haha, if these weren't already sold I might be chunking one up right now  :chuckle:

I get to eat fresh fish of all types quite a lot, but for my money nothing yet beats a super fatty fresh winter king/springer.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 17, 2017, 09:21:59 PM
Cool, glad to see they opened the king season.

You and me both.  I was going to have to hit Southpole up for a job sweeping her shop this winter otherwise  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 17, 2017, 10:16:30 PM
A little wrap up of my season on the Copper River Flats/Prince William Sound. 

The season started very slow due to management concerns over kings. We got very short openers and no inside fishing. It soon became apparent that the king run was actually fairly healthy this year as we caught a decent number of them in spite of the restrictions, but that didn't get us more time and area. Then disaster struck. One of my longest time fishing buddy's boat was found going in circles with nobody aboard. I had missed the initial radio chatter but when I got to the tender I heard the coast guard chopper talking on channel 16. over the loud hailer. about a search and asked what was going on and was told that Mick was missing. As I was delivering my fish I heard the chopper direct a boat into an area of the surf to check out something they saw. It turned out to be Mick, but they were too late to save him. He'd been in the water over an hour. His flotation gear hadn't saved him.  Totally put a damper on my season.  When I met Mick in 72, his wife (Girlfriend at the time) and I were 18 and Mick a couple years older. We grew up in the fishery together and you'll never meet a nicer couple.  Mick continued fishing Pete Dahl Slough for his whole career while I moved on. The Pete Dahl homesteaders (guys who never leave) are famous locally for being doom and gloom on the radio to discourage other fishermen from coming to the area. You'll hear them complaining they only had a flounder on the last set, or the caught a snag, or the sea mammals are stealing all their fish. They have it down to a science and Mick was one of the best, whining all the way to the bank. I used to tease them that they were like one of those furniture stores with the continual going out of business sales.  Pete Dahl fishermen......... Going bankrupt in the same slough for over 40 years. Then another friend flipped his boat on the Kokenhenic bar.

After that combined with the poor fishing it didn't take much to convince me to go to the Sound to try my luck at catching dogs. Usually if you get there early, there are few boats and some decent build up near the hatchery to work on. That wasn't the case this ear tho. In spite of few boats, there were hardly any fish and we fished for two week without hardly making anything. Usually I figure to make half to 2/3 of my season's pay the first month of the 4 month season when we get the highest price. If that was the case, then this year was a total failure. Then disaster hit again.

I was delivering at the end of the period and when I finished I took gas. As we were untied from the tender my oldest son who was fishing with me put our paperwork in the cabin and remarked he smelled gas.  There were a dozen boats waiting to deliver and we were drifting along side the tender and without thinking I hit the key to get out of the way. BOOM! The explosion blew the windows out of my cabin and blew the bolted on engine hatch from the roof and it went 30 ft in the air and landed on the deck of the tender. Luckily my son and I were outside and no one was hurt by the explosion. There was a small fire in the cabin which we put out in short order. So we got towed to town to replace or repair my boat. Turned out the fill hose into my tank was old and had cracked allowing gas to leak into the engine compartment under the cabin. Miraculously the damage was limited to the blown windows and hatch and some singed bedding and clothing and melted wires. I had a fabrication company in town repair the fuel tank problem, a friend installed new windows and I repaired the wiring and bought new bedding. We ended up only missing one period and got back out on the grounds, thankful it hadn't been worse. But by then, a month into the season I was thinking this was the season that was going to be the end of me.

Another week of poor fishing and my wife and youngest son came up to join my and my oldest son went home and got a town job. And then the dogs finally showed up. For six weeks we slayed them. Wife and son then went home and I picked humpies for two more weeks, then had a very decent silver season. So what had appeared to be a horrible year turned into a very good year. Except for the loss of Mick.  Oh, and there was another fellow who fell out of a setnet skiff in Main Bay and was never found this summer.  Definitely made for a somber season. My heart goes out to the families of those who didn't return.  Puts things in perspective.

But that's fishing, You never know how a season will turn out until it's over.
 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 17, 2017, 10:43:19 PM
Thanks for sharing Sitka.  Sounds like you went through it this year.  I had an old timer tell me that he kept coming back to fishing because it offered the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  After being on it for a little while, and reading your story, that rings true with me.

RIP Mick.  He went down with his boots on.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 17, 2017, 11:24:02 PM
Thanks for sharing Sitka.  Sounds like you went through it this year.  I had an old timer tell me that he kept coming back to fishing because it offered the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  After being on it for a little while, and reading your story, that rings true with me.

RIP Mick.  He went down with his boots on.

Thanks Skillet.  Mick had told his wife if he ever died he wanted his ashes spread at Pete Dahl Point. It turn out, that's where he passed.

By the way, how was your Sept? We were hammered by bad weather during silver season, but it seemed to be just good enough to fish each opener. But there were a couple I quit early and got up the slough as it was coming up. Blew 100 in town one closure but I don't think it got over 50-70 where I was hiding. A friend's seiner broke loose from the dock and went aground on spike Island and rolled over and flooded when the tide came back in and several roofs were damaged.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on October 18, 2017, 10:12:41 AM
Terrible deal about Mick.  He was one of my best friend's dad.  Great family and great people.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 18, 2017, 04:00:03 PM
Thanks WSU. You are right. Mick was a hard one to lose. I will miss his dry wit.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 27, 2017, 03:01:41 PM
Weather day here in Sitka, thought I'd share a couple of pics of a small black cod (sablefish) trip that was landed yesterday.  The closest rack has the highest value 7#+ carcasses on it.  These are some pretty valuable fish, closely managed by a individual harvest share quota system.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 27, 2017, 03:46:20 PM
Nice! I fished blackcod out of Kodiak one year. We made 10 day trips about 50 miles out. Had about  70 tubs of gear and used an auto-baiter which I came to hate. Was a slave driving machine. One of the coolest things I've ever seen out fishing happened while I was on that boat. We rode out a 50 kt storm one night, jogging in circles to stay close to our gear. Daylight the storm came down just before daylight and we were just drifting. At daylight, we noticed that we were surrounded by whales. Must have been close to 50 of them including one that was laying right under our bow. I wish I had pictures, but didn't have a camera that trip. They must have been tired riding that storm out too.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 27, 2017, 03:56:35 PM
I've heard that about autobaiters  :chuckle:

Whales are a big problem for the black cod fleet now.  Sperm whales in particular have learned to key in on the hydraulics turning on when they're hauling gear.  There's a pretty amazing video of one basically flossing his teeth with the groundline as it comes up, popping the cod off in his mouth.


It's gotten so bad in the last few years there's a sperm whale sighting network so fisherman can try to avoid the darn things.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on October 27, 2017, 07:50:17 PM
That's amazing a whale would do that!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Scvette on October 27, 2017, 08:23:34 PM
I've heard that about autobaiters  :chuckle:

Whales are a big problem for the black cod fleet now.  Sperm whales in particular have learned to key in on the hydraulics turning on when they're hauling gear.  There's a pretty amazing video of one basically flossing his teeth with the groundline as it comes up, popping the cod off in his mouth.


It's gotten so bad in the last few years there's a sperm whale sighting network so fisherman can try to avoid the darn things.

Skillet,good to see fishing is working out for you. You mentioned auto baiter  being slave drivers,I have a different opinion of them,they're great. We used to hand bait on this boat,got up to 305 tubs @ 225 hook a tub 68,000 hooks using 30 crew,that was hard work. We switched to an auto baiter cut the crew down to 22-23 guys and now we are setting 74,000 hooks everyday,it's a lot easier on the crew.we use less bait,we used to take 225,000-250,000lbs of squid a trip,now we take 90,000-120,000. Thank god the whales don't like cod.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 27, 2017, 08:47:36 PM
Thanks man, it's been a great ride so far.  I just wrote some insurance pool checks today, so that takes some of the shine off of it tho  :chuckle:

 We're not getting many fishing days - I went and tried it in 25 SW and 18' today, but just too big of water for effectively trolling kings in my boat. Coming down to 15kts and 11' tomorrow - easy!

Still, 90k# of bait... I thought I was staring down a big winter season bait bill at 6-8 doz herring a day  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 27, 2017, 09:04:38 PM
I've heard that about autobaiters  :chuckle:

Whales are a big problem for the black cod fleet now.  Sperm whales in particular have learned to key in on the hydraulics turning on when they're hauling gear.  There's a pretty amazing video of one basically flossing his teeth with the groundline as it comes up, popping the cod off in his mouth.


It's gotten so bad in the last few years there's a sperm whale sighting network so fisherman can try to avoid the darn things.

Skillet,good to see fishing is working out for you. You mentioned auto baiter  being slave drivers,I have a different opinion of them,they're great. We used to hand bait on this boat,got up to 305 tubs @ 225 hook a tub 68,000 hooks using 30 crew,that was hard work. We switched to an auto baiter cut the crew down to 22-23 guys and now we are setting 74,000 hooks everyday,it's a lot easier on the crew.we use less bait,we used to take 225,000-250,000lbs of squid a trip,now we take 90,000-120,000. Thank god the whales don't like cod.

It's not the baiting that is a problem with them. If they aren't "tuned" perfectly they tear up gear. So you spend your extra time rehabbing gear. Ours was way out of "tune",
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Scvette on October 27, 2017, 09:41:09 PM
I've heard that about autobaiters  :chuckle:

Whales are a big problem for the black cod fleet now.  Sperm whales in particular have learned to key in on the hydraulics turning on when they're hauling gear.  There's a pretty amazing video of one basically flossing his teeth with the groundline as it comes up, popping the cod off in his mouth.


It's gotten so bad in the last few years there's a sperm whale sighting network so fisherman can try to avoid the darn things.

Skillet,good to see fishing is working out for you. You mentioned auto baiter  being slave drivers,I have a different opinion of them,they're great. We used to hand bait on this boat,got up to 305 tubs @ 225 hook a tub 68,000 hooks using 30 crew,that was hard work. We switched to an auto baiter cut the crew down to 22-23 guys and now we are setting 74,000 hooks everyday,it's a lot easier on the crew.we use less bait,we used to take 225,000-250,000lbs of squid a trip,now we take 90,000-120,000. Thank god the whales don't like cod.

It's not the baiting that is a problem with them. If they aren't "tuned" perfectly they tear up gear. So you spend your extra time rehabbing gear. Ours was way out of "tune",

You probably were using a Marco system. These newer Mustad super baiters are pretty nice,I can set at 8.2-8.5kts baiting about 3-4 hooks a sec and still get a 98% bait up. We've done black cod using the auto baiter but it just doesn't fish as well as tub gear,plus we're just too big for that small quota.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 27, 2017, 09:51:29 PM
Yes, it was a Marco.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Mark Brenckle on October 28, 2017, 06:53:16 AM
Any video of the auto baiter? New to me, never knew they existed.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 28, 2017, 09:22:10 AM
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: goldenhtr on October 28, 2017, 09:43:26 AM

Really cool video. I never knew..............
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Mark Brenckle on October 28, 2017, 12:27:27 PM
Thanks Sitka BT, I had no idea that was even possible. It's a long way from my little earth worms!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 29, 2017, 08:07:23 PM
Cool video of the auto baiter! 

Coming in tonight with a two-day trip of winter kings and some nice bonus yelloweye rockfish.   Thought I'd share a pic of the goods-
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 29, 2017, 09:00:00 PM
You sell your yelloweye to Sitka Sound Seafoods Skillet? I get a 25 lb box of fillets from them every year. A buddy of mine is a herring spotter pilot and when he goes to Sitka he gets me a box and I trade him a Copper River King for them.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on October 29, 2017, 09:45:12 PM
OMG those rockfish :drool:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 29, 2017, 11:02:29 PM
I don't sell many fish to Sitka Sound Seafoods. I bought into the Seafood Producers Co-op, so they get most of my annual production.  I sold this trip to a cash buyer on the dock.

I could work out a great deal for you on some yelloweye, but I'm sure you'll understand I wouldn't be too excited about trading for kings  :chuckle:

Run, I happen to know another fellow in SE WA that could use some rockfish... Maybe we could get a group buy together for my next shipping day.  :dunno:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 29, 2017, 11:44:59 PM
Yelloweye is my favorite!  I'll keep you in mind as a backup Skillet. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on October 30, 2017, 09:53:59 AM
Mmmmm, yellow eye. My favorite. Lots of good eats right there.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 01, 2017, 02:30:31 PM
Couple pics from my last turn.  Avg assortment of rockfish species on a winter king trip.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on November 01, 2017, 02:45:02 PM
I don't sell many fish to Sitka Sound Seafoods. I bought into the Seafood Producers Co-op, so they get most of my annual production.  I sold this trip to a cash buyer on the dock.

I could work out a great deal for you on some yelloweye, but I'm sure you'll understand I wouldn't be too excited about trading for kings  :chuckle:

Run, I happen to know another fellow in SE WA that could use some rockfish... Maybe we could get a group buy together for my next shipping day.  :dunno:
Yes please. Hmm wonder if I know the guy :chuckle: If you see this send me text with prices and stuff. I will text you. I would love rockfish in my freezer.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DaveMonti on November 01, 2017, 03:06:27 PM
If there is a group order for rockfish, I'd love to be part of it!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 01, 2017, 03:42:21 PM
I could do a large-scale HuntWa rockfish group buy in mid-Nov if guys are interested?  I'm debating whether or not to go do a directed lingcod/yelloweye fishery in Nov - if I could get enough pre-sold here I'd go for it. 

Anybody else interested in some AK lingcod and rockfish?   :dunno:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DaveMonti on November 01, 2017, 04:37:12 PM
I'm interested in being part of a group buy. 

How big of an order would you need to make it worth your while? 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DOUBLELUNG on November 01, 2017, 04:39:48 PM
I could do a large-scale HuntWa rockfish group buy in mid-Nov if guys are interested?  I'm debating whether or not to go do a directed lingcod/yelloweye fishery in Nov - if I could get enough pre-sold here I'd go for it. 

Anybody else interested in some AK lingcod and rockfish?   :dunno:
I'm totally ignorant beyond "pay money - get fish" but I'm interested. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Encore 280 on November 01, 2017, 04:56:58 PM
Here's some fillets to feast your eyes on. I guess was caught on a sport rod in Southeastern sometime this last April. I don't know how much it weighed but it's a big'un..
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 01, 2017, 05:11:19 PM
I'm interested in being part of a group buy. 

How big of an order would you need to make it worth your while?

I'm totally ignorant beyond "pay money - get fish" but I'm interested. 

Wouldn't take too much per person - especially if I could get a volunteer in each community to help with distribution (for significant discount on their fish). Let me think on this a bit, I'll probably start a new thread on it tonight.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Alchase on November 01, 2017, 05:52:19 PM

Really cool video. I never knew..............

Very cool video!
When I am baiting plug cut herring with sliding trail hook, never fails I will hook myself with the trail hook.  :bash:
So seeing that many hooks gives me the willies!  :yike:

LOL
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on November 01, 2017, 06:25:50 PM
I could do a large-scale HuntWa rockfish group buy in mid-Nov if guys are interested?  I'm debating whether or not to go do a directed lingcod/yelloweye fishery in Nov - if I could get enough pre-sold here I'd go for it. 

Anybody else interested in some AK lingcod and rockfish?   :dunno:
[/quot


Yes depending on price
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Mark Brenckle on November 01, 2017, 06:50:16 PM
I could do a large-scale HuntWa rockfish group buy in mid-Nov if guys are interested?  I'm debating whether or not to go do a directed lingcod/yelloweye fishery in Nov - if I could get enough pre-sold here I'd go for it. 

Anybody else interested in some AK lingcod and rockfish?   :dunno:
[/quot


Yes depending on price
  I'd be interested as well. I could also help distribution in Snohomish and Skagit County.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: walt on November 01, 2017, 06:51:06 PM
I'm interested in being part of a group buy. 

How big of an order would you need to make it worth your while?

I'm totally ignorant beyond "pay money - get fish" but I'm interested. 

Wouldn't take too much per person - especially if I could get a volunteer in each community to help with distribution (for significant discount on their fish). Let me think on this a bit, I'll probably start a new thread on it tonight.

I too would be interested if we can get some to Spokane and happy to help coordinate/distribute.  I travel to Colville weekly and am always looking for a reason to head down south to chase pheasants and steelhead. (as if that's not reason enough)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 02, 2017, 12:54:01 PM
I appreciate everybody's interest in this, but it looks like it might be a little tight time-wise to get everything organized for this first rockfish opener.  I will start another thread in the Sponsor's Classifieds at some point in the very near future to set up the "ground team" for each area to help distribute fresh rockfish, lings, some salmon when it's in season, etc.  (If you're interested in being a point person for an area - Olympia, Seattle, Everett, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Spokane, Vancouver, etc., send me a PM and I'll get back to you asap). I'll be putting up as much as I can in flash frozen filets, however, so I can offer those over the winter if people are interested.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on November 02, 2017, 01:56:52 PM
How much per pound, and minimum buy in?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DaveMonti on November 02, 2017, 03:06:24 PM
 :yeah:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 02, 2017, 04:08:17 PM
Still have a few details to work out, don't want to misspeak until I have all the correct info.

The minimum would be a single 50# box, mixed with whatever you wanted from what I had on offer. Also shipping 80#'ers.  So your group of friends could order any combo of boxes - 50#, 80#, 100#, 130#, 150#, etc.  Once I can officially pull the trigger, I'll get a separate post started.

Yelloweye and other rockfish would be Eastern Cut (less head, guts and pectoral fins), ling cod will be Western Cut (less head and guts, but with pectoral fins intact).  This gives the highest yield per pound I can offer without fileting them myself.

I can take Paypal, CC, or a check if we chat first via pm.

I'll update as more info is available -
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Ridgeratt on November 02, 2017, 04:13:02 PM
Is that a 50# minimum than? How do you get them to the destination? Air freight.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 02, 2017, 04:27:48 PM
Yep, it's a lot of fish for one person - but hoping there are enough brother-in-laws out there to split up boxes with.  :dunno:

Working on the logistics. Most likely going to need a trustworthy volunteer from each airport area to pick the whole lot up from the local airport and meet up with the folks at a pre-arranged time and place.  Individual next day shipping to each address is prohibitively expensive from Sitka. 

Good questions, open to suggestions too-
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Ridgeratt on November 02, 2017, 04:43:51 PM
So if you send a 50# of fish will it be somewhat separated or just a BIG OL Block ? Would you maybe separate it with some kind of perhaps double sheets of freezer wrap so easy to work with?
Not sure about thawing out that large of chuck to repak and deal without some spoilage.  :dunno:

Look Honey we got a 50# block of fish.   :yike:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: CLARKTAR on November 02, 2017, 04:59:15 PM
Yep, it's a lot of fish for one person - but hoping there are enough brother-in-laws out there to split up boxes with.  :dunno:

Working on the logistics. Most likely going to need a trustworthy volunteer from each airport area to pick the whole lot up from the local airport and meet up with the folks at a pre-arranged time and place.  Individual next day shipping to each address is prohibitively expensive from Sitka. 

Good questions, open to suggestions too-
I might be able to pickup in Seattle. Would like to have people pick up in Issaquah.. if that works let me know

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 02, 2017, 05:07:33 PM
So if you send a 50# of fish will it be somewhat separated or just a BIG OL Block ? Would you maybe separate it with some kind of perhaps double sheets of freezer wrap so easy to work with?
Not sure about thawing out that large of chuck to repak and deal without some spoilage.  :dunno:

Look Honey we got a 50# block of fish.   :yike:

Ah, good question - this would all be FRESH rockfish I had caught, cleaned and iced myself in the previous couple of days.  Lots of shelf life left in these fish before they need to be frozen.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Ridgeratt on November 02, 2017, 05:09:14 PM
Sorry I misread and thought this was flash frozen.   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on November 02, 2017, 05:53:38 PM
I've been involved in group buys from AK. Single pickup man. We paid him he paid the producer(you) that what you are thinking?
I'd be interested in 15-20 lbs if some other Spokanites want to split a shipment.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 02, 2017, 06:05:24 PM
Yep, but I'd just take cards or Paypal instead so the guy doing the pickup and delivery didn't have to worry about handling any money.  Still a few steps away from making this a real thing. If I miss this yelloweye opener, there'll be other opportunities.  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: walt on November 02, 2017, 06:57:45 PM
I've been involved in group buys from AK. Single pickup man. We paid him he paid the producer(you) that what you are thinking?
I'd be interested in 15-20 lbs if some other Spokanites want to split a shipment.

I'm in.  I'm guessing @whacker1 may want in as well.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on November 02, 2017, 07:04:43 PM
I'd be up for distributing to Seattle, Shoreline, Lynnwood and Edmonds
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: THunt on November 02, 2017, 07:46:41 PM
I may be interested in transporting depending on the date to bring some back to Wenatchee/Chelan area.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 02, 2017, 08:18:51 PM
You guys are all great. I'm crossing T's and dotting I's as fast as I can to make this happen.  I'll start a separate thread tonight to keep this one on track.

Really appreciate the support shown so far!
 :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Ridgeratt on November 02, 2017, 08:25:15 PM
When you connect the dot's I could be interested.   :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on November 02, 2017, 08:58:50 PM
When you connect the dot's I could be interested.   :chuckle:
youd better!!!! :)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DaveMonti on November 02, 2017, 09:11:00 PM
I'm in!  I'm in Snohomish County.  I can split a 50 lb box with someone or an 80 with a few folks.  If you ship to Paine Field in Everett, I can pick up there and work something out for the distribution with local folks who want in.

Dave
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on November 03, 2017, 06:49:58 AM
FYI

http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,220255.msg2929965/topicseen.html#new
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jackelope on November 03, 2017, 08:03:44 AM
I'm in!  I'm in Snohomish County.  I can split a 50 lb box with someone or an 80 with a few folks.  If you ship to Paine Field in Everett, I can pick up there and work something out for the distribution with local folks who want in.

Dave

I'll split with you if it comes to it, @DaveMonti

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 09, 2017, 06:02:59 PM
I don't mind feeding salmon sharks the occasional coho, but when they get an appetite for my winter kings...  >:(

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on November 09, 2017, 06:25:53 PM
I don't mind feeding salmon sharks the occasional coho, but when they get an appetite for my winter kings...  >:(

He took half you get half. :yike:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on November 09, 2017, 07:22:52 PM
Oh that's just rude stoopid  sharks
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 09, 2017, 08:02:12 PM
There is a silver lining - I rarely get to eat these fish.

A little paprika, very light pat down with dark brown sugar, light sprinkle of sea salt and a bit of thyme.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on November 09, 2017, 08:08:09 PM
 :drool:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Angry Perch on November 09, 2017, 08:33:08 PM
Yum. I'll cut you a deal. One whole Lake Sammamish perch, for one half of a shark bit Alaska King. No limit!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on November 09, 2017, 09:20:49 PM
Nothing much better than a great winter king up there! Haven't had one in a long time!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 09, 2017, 09:43:39 PM
You know it. Anchored up in Symonds right now. 

That might have been the best king I've ever had. And I've got another chunk for tomorrow  :tup:

Sorry AP - your offer is excellent, but I'm just not going to be able to take you up on that one. 

Darn.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on November 09, 2017, 10:37:22 PM
You know it. Anchored up in Symonds right now. 

That might have been the best king I've ever had. And I've got another chunk for tomorrow  :tup:

Sorry AP - your offer is excellent, but I'm just not going to be able to take you up on that one. 

Darn.  :chuckle:

Always liked Symonds. Loved motor mooching the kelp beds around there. The bay on the south side of Symonds once gave me a 3 week bite all by myself while everyone was fishing the north side. All big greenbacks too. Miss those days.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on November 11, 2017, 09:30:28 AM
My office view this morning of the dormant volcano Mt. Edgecumbe.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on November 11, 2017, 07:48:32 PM
My office view this morning of the dormant volcano Mt. Edgecumbe.


Awesome! Climbed to the top of that mountain in June of 2004 hell of a view from up there!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on November 11, 2017, 07:51:39 PM
Sweet!!!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on December 06, 2017, 05:57:27 PM
I think I've mentioned this before - but commercial fishing gives you the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.

Got back to Sitka, seeing all my buddies and getting ready to fish soon.  Fish prices went up again - to the highest I've ever seen - everybody optimistic for the upcoming weather break. Good times!

Then the ADFG announcement about 2018 Taku and Stikine river kings hit.  Based on current projections, there will be NO directed king fishery in SE next year.

For a troller, who expects to earn at least 35% of their annual AK income from the July and August king owners, this is a major gut punch.

It remains to be seen whether or not there will be a sport fishery as well. If not, that would crush the lodges up here.

I really, really hope some revised numbers come in soon to show higher abundance.

Gonna get with a few buddies at the P and drink about it!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: carpsniperg2 on December 06, 2017, 06:33:21 PM
Sorry to hear that man.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on December 06, 2017, 06:37:00 PM
Sorry to hear that man.

 :yeah:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on December 06, 2017, 06:42:46 PM
Thanks fellas - no pity party here tho!  Already figuring out alternate plans.

Who wants to go tuna fishing???   :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on December 06, 2017, 06:52:20 PM
They were way wrong on our Copper River King projection last year so here's hoping they are wrong there too although it may be too late to do you any good.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on December 06, 2017, 07:11:01 PM
I was actually somewhat prepared for this, the Stikine in-river returns last summer are what shut our August opener down.  Was talk of this happening, but the numbers that are in the doc are really low.  Way lower than they suggested would prevent a fishery.

Our fishery is set in stone at the North of Falcon meeting. Even if in-river returns came back with fishable numbers, they've already swam past the trollers.  It would also be really tough to open a fishery they closed during that meeting.

But - I'll get a viable fishing plan put together for 2018 and beyond. It's why I invested in this caliber of boat.  It gives me options a lot of guys don't have.  :tup:

 

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on December 06, 2017, 08:21:59 PM
I've heard of a few guys running out of Craig to catch albacore, but never did hear of anyone doing it from Sitka. Would be a hoot!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on December 06, 2017, 08:46:27 PM
Back in the 90s a buddy filled his boat out of Sitka during an El Nino. But there were so many fish that year the canneries quit buying them. He spent the winter peddling them out of his boat.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on December 06, 2017, 08:47:43 PM
Sorry to hear that!

Fishing is a pain, 2013 we got $1.50/lb. for sockeye in Bristol Bay. Two years later it was $.40, then the kick in the bros was way up in Kotzebue they were getting $.40 for chums. Go figure. This year was back up to $1.25 or so, for sockeye that is.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on December 06, 2017, 08:57:53 PM
Oh, that's harsh - chums on par with reds??

In 2014 and 2015,  some charter ops were catching albacore 20 miles off of Bartolome for a few weeks, and some trollers got in there too.  In 2015, my friends on the Nerka (freezer boat) got a decent score just out past the Edgecumbe wx bouy.  Those were the warm water "blob" years. 

I'll likely fish albacore out of Westport and Ilwaco if I do it.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on December 08, 2017, 05:01:17 PM
Good news update - the dept release was pretty poorly worded, and was supposed to reference spring fishing only.  Ocean salmon in July, however limited it may be due to a miniscule quota, is still on the table. 

Got a decent vid of humpacks feeding in Silver Bay a few hours ago.  Pulled over to the side of the road where there was obviously a bait ball and the humpbacks/birds/sea lions were feeding on it. I think there's a quick appearance of some porpoises as well.

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Angry Perch on December 09, 2017, 08:09:10 AM
That is amazing. And to think, I pull over to watch when I see a family of raccoons crossing someone's driveway!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on December 09, 2017, 01:32:49 PM
Cool!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Fl0und3rz on January 23, 2018, 06:49:18 AM
Hope you and your shipmates are all well and OK after the latest quake.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/alaska-earthquake-prompts-tsunami-warning-52543035


Earlier reporting said 8.2 but now I see 7.9.  Nothing to sneeze at there.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on January 23, 2018, 07:03:05 AM
I chatted with Skillet this a.m., sounds like it was a 1ft wave where he is docked and all is well.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Fl0und3rz on January 23, 2018, 07:31:53 AM
Oh good.  I know those can magnify in shallow or narrow bays, so it is always a concern.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on January 23, 2018, 07:38:02 AM
Let me know if you end up tuna fishing this summer. I’ll be in Westport doing the same thing. Maybe I could buy you a beer at the knotty if you’re in town when I am.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Camo on January 24, 2018, 08:15:30 PM
WSU, you sport or commercial fishing tuna?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on January 24, 2018, 08:33:52 PM
Sport
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 24, 2018, 08:58:37 PM
Would look forward to tipping back a barley pop with you WSU.   I'll let you know if I fish tuna.   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on January 24, 2018, 09:03:24 PM
I’ll buy!!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Hard2handle on January 25, 2018, 09:59:07 AM
Skillet,
  If your in town , give me a shout,509-945-4664...Lets hit potholes brother ! Hope all is good.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 09, 2018, 02:17:13 PM
Hey Hard2Handle!  I'm heading out of Sitka for a few weeks, chasing a bite.  Will touch base with you when I get back.

View from my office a few minutes ago. It's good ocean traveling weather.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 09, 2018, 02:34:32 PM
Man, it's nice out here today.  We get a few every winter.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DaveMonti on February 09, 2018, 02:38:46 PM
With that view, I'd almost give up what I'm doing to be a deckhand for you Skillet!  Beautiful scenery!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: cavemann on February 09, 2018, 02:42:11 PM
that is freakin awesome!!  thanks for sharing Skillet..
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on February 09, 2018, 02:46:17 PM
How is the bite?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 09, 2018, 03:25:48 PM
It's reportedly pretty darn good compared to what we've been getting in Sitka.  Hopefully keeps up. I got a little longline gig on another boat I'll be working down there as well between salmon trips.  I'll be stopping over in Port Alexander tomorrow, never been there and looking forward to checking it out.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bearpaw on February 09, 2018, 03:37:05 PM
awesome photos, someday I'm going north for a month in the summer, never been up there
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Angry Perch on February 09, 2018, 04:17:42 PM
Man, it's nice out here today.  We get a few every winter.

Dang, not even a walleye chop out there.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on February 09, 2018, 05:09:23 PM
Gorgeous! Some big calderas in the last photo!
I am dying to spend some time on the salt!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: j_h_nimrod on February 09, 2018, 06:37:08 PM
Verstovia and Edgecumbe, loved that place. PA is an interesting place, probably a little different than the years I spent around there, but that place would be hard to change too much. If you get into Port Armstrong tell Ben Contag hi.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 13, 2018, 12:03:40 PM
Swing and a miss on the kings.  The big bite is over down here - should have known better than to chase radio fish, haha.  Sold my small trip in Craig today (I got my fuel and food for this big adventure covered, that's about it), next move is to bait up longline gear and set it tomorrow morning.  Gonna chase the rockfish for a few days.  Looking for a nice crewshare off of a buddy's boat while I wait for the kings to show up again.


Here's my office view of Craig from the buying dock.   That's a whale skull there on the Craig Inn. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on February 13, 2018, 01:03:25 PM
Whale skulls go nice with pink  ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 13, 2018, 05:35:37 PM
So long for now, Craig. I'll miss your $1/# lower price for my kings (on the few that you gave up), $4.29/ doz eggs, $12.99 half racks of Diet Coke, and $7 gallons of milk...

But I won't miss it much.   :chuckle:



Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on February 13, 2018, 05:44:55 PM
You are living quite the life. Thanks for sharing what most of us would have no idea about. I'm enjoying your experience!!!
Love the pics. Keep em coming
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 13, 2018, 05:52:13 PM
Will do.

By the way, those vid and mags yo sent up are great for the two or three minutes between the time I rack out and when I fall asleep.  Not getting through them nearly as fast as I thought I would  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: carpsniperg2 on February 13, 2018, 05:53:27 PM
Have fun, catch lots of fish, stay safe and keep the pics coming. Always love seeing them.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on February 13, 2018, 05:59:26 PM
Will do.

By the way, those vid and mags yo sent up are great for the two or three minutes between the time I rack out and when I fall asleep.  Not getting through them nearly as fast as I thought I would  :chuckle:
Haha. Awesome! Glad you like em
Just to appease the political crowd they are not porn vids and magazines  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on February 13, 2018, 06:00:45 PM
Well some would call them that
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 13, 2018, 06:11:18 PM
Oh, I'd be up for more than three minutes if they were - probably more like five or so  :chuckle:

Here's a pic of my running partners on this trip, I was heading over to raft up on them this afternoon to build and bait our longline gear.  We're all about the same age, but these guys have been at it for a long time and are hard core.  Damn good fishermen.  It's a privilege to wprk with these guys - and feels dang good when I beat them when we're scratch fishing kings. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on February 13, 2018, 06:19:18 PM
How do you meet up with and decide who you will fish with? Tinder for AK fishermen? :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 13, 2018, 06:35:32 PM
It's a really interesting dynamic, and getting in with the right group of guys isn't easy.  I'm running out of cell coverage, so will detail more when I get the chance.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Rainier10 on February 14, 2018, 08:03:16 PM
Boo yah! Skillet asked to have this posted since he is spotty on cell coverage. I asked if it ate a goat.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on February 14, 2018, 08:09:57 PM
Boo yah! Skillet asked to have this posted since he is spotty on cell coverage. I asked if it ate a goat.

Dam that’s a big ole ling!  :yike:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on February 14, 2018, 09:00:41 PM
Boo yah! Skillet asked to have this posted since he is spotty on cell coverage. I asked if it ate a goat.
I think it ate a greenhorn dang that looks like some yummy fish and chips.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 on February 14, 2018, 09:59:19 PM
It's a really interesting dynamic, and getting in with the right group of guys isn't easy.  I'm running out of cell coverage, so will detail more when I get the chance.

You guys dingle barrin?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 16, 2018, 05:53:33 PM
Nope, we were longlining rockfish, got a few lings as bycatch.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bearpaw on February 21, 2018, 10:42:31 AM
I really enjoy reading about your experiences, thanks for taking the time to share your story!  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skyvalhunter on February 21, 2018, 12:08:33 PM
awesome picture!!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 22, 2018, 10:05:21 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-
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 22, 2018, 10:09:31 PM
This is what the charts look like going into that pass - narrow in spots, but a pretty easy transit by local standards.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 22, 2018, 10:27:34 PM
Ran up into Sea Otter Sound through  Tonowek narrows that night.  In the narrowest part of the narrows there is an old totem to Chief Tonowek.  Tradition has it that to not offend the Chief, you are supposed to toss some tobacco out in the water for him as you pass. I didn't have any on my boat, so asked my running partners to double up their contribution for me.

You can see in the pic (taken tonight a opposed to during the trip - the blue line is my track through on this passage) there are some tricky turns in the approach to Karheen Pass.  No problems, just a bit of a pucker factor gong through there in pitch black. Must have trust your equipment and ability to navigate using it.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 22, 2018, 10:41:37 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. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on February 22, 2018, 10:44:58 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Camo on February 22, 2018, 10:46:55 PM
Dude, that looks like a sketchy run in the daylight! Did you run it on a flood?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 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 didn’t the mirage sink? Did they salvage?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB 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  :)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: PolarBear 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet 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.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: PolarBear 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!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 23, 2018, 12:20:23 PM
Built in 1913, still earning her keep!

I really dig this early pic of her, deck stacked with dories that the men would lay their own longlines from, pull them BY HAND, land the fish into the dories, then row back to the "mothership" Republic to offload and pick up fresh baited tubs of gear.  Lather, rinse, repeat fur as long as daylight allowed, then gutting/icing fish all night.  Hydraulic line haulers changed everything.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/FMIB_44781_Power_Halibut_Schooner_Republic_-_This_is_one_of_the_125_motor_vessels_operating_out_of_a_single_port--Seattle.jpeg)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 23, 2018, 01:01:52 PM
Great pics Sitka blacktail!  Looks like a nice haul.  Man, I wish I had quota (without the debt it would take to obtain it now)...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Alchase on February 23, 2018, 02:05:57 PM
Built in 1913, still earning her keep!

I really dig this early pic of her, deck stacked with dories that the men would lay their own longlines from, pull them BY HAND, land the fish into the dories, then row back to the "mothership" Republic to offload and pick up fresh baited tubs of gear.  Lather, rinse, repeat fur as long as daylight allowed, then gutting/icing fish all night.  Hydraulic line haulers changed everything.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/FMIB_44781_Power_Halibut_Schooner_Republic_-_This_is_one_of_the_125_motor_vessels_operating_out_of_a_single_port--Seattle.jpeg)

That is so cool, reminds me of a classic "Captains Courageous" great flick!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 23, 2018, 02:20:13 PM
That old pic of Republic reminds me of one of my favorite paintings, Winslow Homer's "The Fog Warning"

Tough men on those ships, all.

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRxcSYnuyjj418tN2j0KN7wE9QS46DsUKyvzp04U_hdlTcElg)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: j_h_nimrod on February 23, 2018, 10:56:14 PM
I love the old history of commercial fishing, especially in SE AK. I walked by the Republic numerous times over the years, beautiful old boat and IIRC the oldest boat left in the fleet out of Sitka. I remember walking past the Merlin when it reached 110 years old, not long before it was sunk by a whale. Those old fishermen were tough!  I spent a lot of time in Chatham along south Baranof and read a fair number of stories of guys salmon fishing the area for years in small dories and making the trip by oar, sail, or small motor from the fishing areas all over SE.

Skillet - you ever spent time around Patterson Point and Mist Cove?

I also remember deciding what I wanted to do and lining up a hand crank permit plus 3500lb of halibut for $10,000!  I passed and still kick myself. I have a good life from what I chose but fishing would be a pretty good second.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: PolarBear on February 24, 2018, 09:09:21 AM
Yeah, that's her!  She's a really neat old vessel.  I was almost talked in to working on her for a season but decided to be a Deputy Sheriff instead.   :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 24, 2018, 11:42:23 AM

Skillet - you ever spent time around Patterson Point and Mist Cove?

I also remember deciding what I wanted to do and lining up a hand crank permit plus 3500lb of halibut for $10,000!  I passed and still kick myself. I have a good life from what I chose but fishing would be a pretty good second.

I don't believe I've been to Patterson Pt. or Mist cove yet. 

Ahhh, that hand troll permit is worth $10k by itself today, and that quota - assuming it was 2C, is right at a cool $250k.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Duckslayer89 on February 24, 2018, 10:31:02 PM
My cousin Dewey Owns and runs the Republic out of Sitka. He long lines halibut and black cod.

Dude that’s your cousin? Freakin legend. No *censored*... I fished on the Vansee my last season before BNSF. Built in 1913. Those guys were bad ass back in the day on the Republic. Tough bunch of guys. Brutal work and they use to catch a ton of fish.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: PolarBear on February 26, 2018, 12:09:44 PM
My cousin Dewey Owns and runs the Republic out of Sitka. He long lines halibut and black cod.

Dude that’s your cousin? Freakin legend. No *censored*... I fished on the Vansee my last season before BNSF. Built in 1913. Those guys were bad ass back in the day on the Republic. Tough bunch of guys. Brutal work and they use to catch a ton of fish.
Yeah.  Dewey and his deck hand Jeff use to hunt with us in Republic (the town not the boat) and those guys were animals.  Dewey was the best camp cook that we ever had. I think he had or still has one of the biggest long line halibut quotas in AK.  I have been told that he is the king of Sitka.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 26, 2018, 12:15:37 PM
My cousin Dewey Owns and runs the Republic out of Sitka. He long lines halibut and black cod.

Dude that’s your cousin? Freakin legend. No *censored*... I fished on the Vansee my last season before BNSF. Built in 1913. Those guys were bad ass back in the day on the Republic. Tough bunch of guys. Brutal work and they use to catch a ton of fish.
Yeah.  Dewey and his deck hand Jeff use to hunt with us in Republic (the town not the boat) and those guys were animals.  Dewey was the best camp cook that we ever had. I think he had or still has one of the biggest long line halibut quotas in AK.  I have been told that he is the king of Sitka.  :chuckle:

I've heard it said by others that he's a 1%'er, from here all the way out west.  Means he is at the max amount of quota an individual can legally own, which is one percent of the ENTIRE stock in each area.  That is... a lot of high value fish.

Ya, I'd say Dewey's name is well known in these parts.   :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 13, 2018, 11:55:20 AM
Three old wooden halibut schooners - Republic, Masonic and Arrow. 

Over 300 years of fishing experience right there.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: pianoman9701 on March 13, 2018, 11:57:24 AM
Don't forget a picture of the boat under the bridge, if you can, Skillet.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on March 13, 2018, 12:02:21 PM
It's on my to-do list when I get through the locks  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: full choke on March 13, 2018, 05:01:23 PM
Hehe- I just noticed the Sea Lion in your last pic. Surprised it is still floating.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on April 03, 2018, 03:05:34 PM
Hehe- I just noticed the Sea Lion in your last pic. Surprised it is still floating.

If that's the old Alaska Packers scow Sea Lion, I worked on that boat when I was 18 out of Cordova. The colors are right.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on April 28, 2018, 09:05:36 AM
Yep, that's Norm's boat, contracts with SPC and usually picks up troll fish in Lower Chatham.

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on April 28, 2018, 09:16:15 AM
Can't believe it, but my "break" is already over and I'm ready to head back out.  Loading up on fuel and heading back out through the locks this afternoon. Going to start off the coast of WA for kings and halibut, then decide whether to chase tuna down here or run north to AK for the July 1 king opener. 

I'll let the fish and the markets tell me what to do, gotta stay flexible.  I will be back in the Puget Sound soon with fresh whole halibut, maybe some fresh ocean troll kings, flash frozen AK coho portions and flash frozen AK yelloweye filets.  If anybody is interested, send me a pm and we'll get a plan together.

Happy hunting y'all
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on April 29, 2018, 04:21:50 PM
Where and when will you pull into port with the whole Halibut?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on April 29, 2018, 05:15:22 PM
Probably going to have a few extra each week after I drop off fish for my customers around Seattle and SeaTac.  I'm getting enough interest I may start a new thread when I have a better handle on the details.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: carpsniperg2 on April 29, 2018, 05:17:36 PM
Gun luck man and keep safe.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: hunthard on April 30, 2018, 12:57:15 AM
Add me to the list of interested on the whole halibut. :drool:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: PolarBear on April 30, 2018, 03:08:10 AM
 :yeah:
Me too
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Ridgeratt on April 30, 2018, 05:07:33 AM
I could be interested also , But would need a little lead time to meet you on the pier.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on April 30, 2018, 06:35:36 AM
I could be interested also , But would need a little lead time to meet you on the pier.  :chuckle:
Keep me in the loop, maybe we can consolidate a run over.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jackelope on April 30, 2018, 08:03:46 AM
I'm in for whole halibut and some yelloweye fillets.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on April 30, 2018, 01:40:44 PM
Looks like we'll be starting on the Copper River either the 14th of May or the 17th. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Whitpirate on May 02, 2018, 09:16:38 PM
I'm interested in talking with you on fish....
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 03, 2018, 08:46:19 AM
First trip of 2018 in the books and pitched off to a buyer last night.  Thanks for all the PM's, once I get an idea of how much interest I have and where, we'll get some fish out to you guys.

I think an eastside run is totally doable - if not on this next week, the one after.  The last thing I want to do is not have time to meet my commitments and disappoint anybody. 

Thanks for the interest, I'll start a new thread here soon and we can get the details put together.  Until then, PM's are great to help me with planning.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 03, 2018, 08:47:58 AM
Looks like we'll be starting on the Copper River either the 14th of May or the 17th.
Right on man, thanks for supplying us with those famous kings and sockeye!  Good luck, be safe-
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 92xj on May 03, 2018, 09:02:30 AM
I could be interested also , But would need a little lead time to meet you on the pier.  :chuckle:
Keep me in the loop, maybe we can consolidate a run over.

Same here.



Skillet, I didn't read the whole thread but I'm assuming you are bringing back some caught of the trip fish to sell to huntwa folks.
I'd totally be up for a random $100 mix bag of your fresh catch if you work out some sort of Eastside delivery....
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 03, 2018, 01:17:05 PM
Great, I'll let you know!  :tup:

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: DaveMonti on May 03, 2018, 03:01:58 PM
I'm in, and in the Monroe area, so I could coordinate with others in the area.  I know jackelope is nearby, so I can at least coordinate with him for pickup and delivery.

Thanks!
Dave
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: kckrawler on May 03, 2018, 05:39:14 PM
I'd be very interested as well!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: NRA4LIFE on May 03, 2018, 07:25:37 PM
I'm out near Maple Valley and will meet up with Chris next week.  I can meet him anytime if anybody wants to procure any out here.  I will deliver any where near here.  Let me know.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 06, 2018, 08:02:05 AM

Fishing has been a little spotty, and logistics this week are gonna be tough - I still need to get wheels out to the coast (no transit service on Sunday... so if anybody wants to earn a few bucks and haul me from Neah Bay to Port Angeles today let me know!) and fix a few things on the boat.   I'll be starting a new thread today and looking to schedule meet-ups after I can get the truck out here.  Thanks again for all the interest -

Chris
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on July 18, 2018, 12:53:31 PM
Read this article the other day and thought I’d post it up. At the end there is a short video of the fishing boat capsizing. The tidal current is that strong!

http://www.kdlg.org/post/fv-kristi-sinks-near-clark-s-point-all-board-survive

Stay safe out there everyone!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on July 18, 2018, 01:48:40 PM
Very fortunate nobody was hurt.  Water is scary powerful and things happen in the blink of an eye.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on July 18, 2018, 02:26:50 PM
The tides there can run up to 4 knots! Add some wind and things can get hairy quick!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 22, 2018, 03:58:58 PM
Thought I'd post up a couple "experience" vids from my time in SE this year. No actual fishing videos, though.  When you've seen as many dead fish as I have the novelty wears off after a bit.

Bear catching fish in Port Hubert on the west Baranoff isl.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 22, 2018, 04:13:27 PM
Large pod of humpbacks bubblenet feeding on Morris Reef in Chatham Strait

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on September 22, 2018, 10:14:34 PM
Nice....thanks for sharing!!!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on September 23, 2018, 12:59:59 PM
How'd your season end up Skillet? I just gave up on the Copper but not for lack of fish. Had 1650 lbs of silvers on the Thurs opener. And the price is darn decent this year. Big fish this year too. Had an honest 11 lb average for most of the season. Had one small delivery of 18 fish a couple eriods ago that averaged 14 lbs, Our normal average is 9-10 lbs.

The canneries are buying tomorrow for the last period of the year but I have friends flying in to drive home with me starting Thurs, so I elected to skip it and put boat and gear away and get ready for the trip home. Never had a huge silver period this year due to 400 boats fishing vs our normal 200 for silvers, but it was steady OK fishing so I ended up with a decent season. And the weather the last 3 1/2 weeks was unbelievable. Less than 15kt winds that whole time and mostly variable under 10. The glassy ocean didn't help me either as it allowed lots of boats to fish outside which slowed fishing inside where I usually fish. But I can't complain with how the season turned out considering the Copper sockeye run was a bust. Chums saved my season this year. Put in some very big openers on them. All in all it was a lousy summer with a few golden moments and ended up with a decent season put in.

Here's a few shots from this summer. The Blackfish is a small 3 ft porpoise we have in the area. It's not even acknowledged as existing by fish and game, but we have quite a few of them in our area. The Sandhill crane migration always signals the end of the season.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on September 23, 2018, 01:07:01 PM
Here's a couple more. A wild sunrise from a few days ago. Kanak Island, my home for silver season.  And some guys working on nets on a closure.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on September 23, 2018, 06:20:34 PM
Thought I'd post up a couple "experience" vids from my time in SE this year. No actual fishing videos, though.  When you've seen as many dead fish as I have the novelty wears off after a bit.

Bear catching fish in Port Hubert on the west Baranoff isl.


Awesome!!!  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 01:51:40 PM
Looks like you put together a good season Sitka BT, good on ya -  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 02:10:07 PM
Had a slow Sept for coho, but really enjoyed the area for the first time.

Stopped at Baranoff Warm Springs and met a few friends from Washington there for a "Fisherman's Thanksgiving" on the dock.  We all contributed some dishes that were generally themed on wild harvest, and the bounty was great.  Fresh venison, pickled beach asparagus, smoked king tips, mashed potatoes with an amazing wild mushroom gravy, the list goes on.  The Diamond Lil brought some seared albacore medallions from loins that were caught just a few weeks earlier by @3boys (thank you!), muled up to Sitka and then cooked to perfection in my skillet for my extended troller family.  Afterward we all enjoyed a soak in the beautiful Baranoff Warm Springs, which is a natural series of pools overlooking a waterfall.  It was a pretty great experience, and over of the reasons I continue to choose this lifestyle over the rat race.

First pic boats - Diamond Lil, Nerka, Arminta, Grace
Second pic - part of the benefits of living up in SE Alaska
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on September 27, 2018, 02:27:22 PM
Are the warm springs speedo friendly? I'm asking for a friend of a friend......of a friend.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on September 27, 2018, 03:08:57 PM
Baranof Hot Springs has rules against speedos. Technically, clothing of any kind is frowned upon. Just ask the lovely lady I mistook for a grizzly bear last time I was there.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 04:35:56 PM
Ya, can't be squeamish about people going au naturale around there.  Especially those that shouldn't. :chuckle:

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on September 27, 2018, 04:53:44 PM
Ya, can't be squeamish about people going au naturale around there.  Especially those that shouldn't. :chuckle:
So you're telling me that h2o in a speedo would be overdressed?  :o
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 04:54:28 PM
Spent the last week fixing the boat, upgrading the boat, and rigging the boat to do the Spot Prawn pot fishery here in SE.  Basically, just hemorrhaging cash...  :chuckle:
Got a friend with a permit and no freezer boat, so we're going to team up and give it a whirl.  It should be a fun, easy fishery.  We're only allowed to run gear from 8am to 4pm.  The rest of the time we'll be popping heads off of live shrimp (keeping them alive throughout the day in an insulated tote I've converted to a huge livewell on deck), quick freezing them, glazing them, and then packing into cases.  Pots go on the water at 8am on Oct 1st, and we keep fishing until the quota in each area is caught.  Looking at a 12-15 day trip here.

 A big part of the game is strategizing where to start and where to go next after your starting area's quota is caught.  We're holding the strategy summit tonight over a few barley pops...

A couple of pics to follow-
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 04:56:36 PM
Ya, can't be squeamish about people going au naturale around there.  Especially those that shouldn't. :chuckle:
So you're telling me that h2o in a speedo would be overdressed?  :o

If you've ever seen that giant hairy person known as H20, you'd know I'll be forcing him to wear a Mustang survival suit if we go to the hot springs...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on September 27, 2018, 04:59:31 PM
Ya, can't be squeamish about people going au naturale around there.  Especially those that shouldn't. :chuckle:
So you're telling me that h2o in a speedo would be overdressed?  :o

If you've ever seen that giant hairy person known as H20, you'd know I'll be forcing him to wear a Mustang survival suit if we go to the hot springs...
:chuckle: :chuckle: :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 05:08:22 PM
Here's our deckload of gear.  140 ladners, 1400 fathoms of groundline, 1200 fathoms of buoy line.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 05:12:01 PM
And in the hold right now is best hanging bait you can get - black cod heads.  3500-# worth.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 27, 2018, 05:14:39 PM
On our way down to -38F. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on September 27, 2018, 05:41:10 PM
Very cool. Looking forward to shrimp pics.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: blackpowderhunter on September 27, 2018, 06:23:26 PM
cool thread.  thanks for sharing  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on September 28, 2018, 05:00:29 AM
Looks like you're enjoying yourself Skillet.

I'm in Tok for the night, heading home. Season is done for me. Couple buddies flew up to drive home with me and we are bound for Dawson City later today to explore the Klondike and see if they left any gold nuggets laying around. Then, southbound again. Should be to Liard Hot Springs in two or three days for a relaxing visit.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 28, 2018, 07:32:03 PM
Sounds like a great way to end a long season, safe travels Sitka BT. 

Loaded with enough  gear, food, fuel, and bait for 15-ish days of prawn feezing mayem.  Heading out in the am, have a long run to the grounds we're starting on.

I'll be back with (hopefully) a couple thousand pounds of tails.  Very likely I'll be able to do a HuntWa group buy on those, among other frozen fish goodies, in early November.  Frozen product in November should be a much easier thing to deal with than fresh fish in 100 degree heat. Watch for a post on the Sponsor's Classifieds - :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: carpsniperg2 on September 28, 2018, 08:17:27 PM
Keep and travel safe.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 28, 2018, 08:24:28 PM
Mt Edgecumbe giving us a proper send-off tonight.  This taken from the top of my mast in Eliason.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Whitpirate on September 28, 2018, 08:26:05 PM
Sounds like a great way to end a long season, safe travels Sitka BT. 

Loaded with enough  gear, food, fuel, and bait for 15-ish days of prawn feezing mayem.  Heading out in the am, have a long run to the grounds we're starting on.

I'll be back with (hopefully) a couple thousand pounds of tails.  Very likely I'll be able to do a HuntWa group buy on those, among other frozen fish goodies, in early November.  Frozen product in November should be a much easier thing to deal with than fresh fish in 100 degree heat. Watch for a post on the Sponsor's Classifieds - :tup:


I’m in
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Dan-o on September 28, 2018, 08:30:14 PM
Sounds like a great way to end a long season, safe travels Sitka BT. 

Loaded with enough  gear, food, fuel, and bait for 15-ish days of prawn feezing mayem.  Heading out in the am, have a long run to the grounds we're starting on.

I'll be back with (hopefully) a couple thousand pounds of tails.  Very likely I'll be able to do a HuntWa group buy on those, among other frozen fish goodies, in early November.  Frozen product in November should be a much easier thing to deal with than fresh fish in 100 degree heat. Watch for a post on the Sponsor's Classifieds - :tup:


I’m in

Me first.

And don't screw with me.  It's been 24 hours since I've had Whitpirate pork.     >:(
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Wetwoodshunter on September 28, 2018, 11:19:35 PM
Hey Skillet, were you loading pots today at the marina? I am in Sitka finishing up the AMSEA certified training course.

We were doing vessel abandonment drills out on one of Allen Marine's catamarans.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on September 29, 2018, 07:57:35 AM
I was at the Eliason work float for a short time to load buoys on. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on September 29, 2018, 08:02:05 AM
Sounds like a great way to end a long season, safe travels Sitka BT. 

Loaded with enough  gear, food, fuel, and bait for 15-ish days of prawn feezing mayem.  Heading out in the am, have a long run to the grounds we're starting on.

I'll be back with (hopefully) a couple thousand pounds of tails.  Very likely I'll be able to do a HuntWa group buy on those, among other frozen fish goodies, in early November.  Frozen product in November should be a much easier thing to deal with than fresh fish in 100 degree heat. Watch for a post on the Sponsor's Classifieds - :tup:


I’m in

Me first.

And don't screw with me.  It's been 24 hours since I've had Whitpirate pork.     >:(


Uh Dan-o........this is a family friendly site.....not Tinder.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 07, 2018, 06:18:35 PM
Quick update-
Pulling into the thriving metropolis of Hydaburg on Prince of Wales island, we ran short on bait  :bash:

Anyway, fishing has been pretty decent. Doing about 240 pot lifts a day.
I will say I do like the pot fishing, and my boat is a natural pot boat.  Hmmm...

 I'll post up some pics when I get back to Sitka.  Hoping you guys are laying up the protien!  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on October 07, 2018, 07:15:54 PM
Quick update-
Pulling into the thriving metropolis of Hydaburg on Prince of Wales island, we ran short on bait  :bash:

Anyway, fishing has been pretty decent. Doing about 240 pot lifts a day.
I will say I do like the pot fishing, and my boat is a natural pot boat.  Hmmm...

 I'll post up some pics when I get back to Sitka.  Hoping you guys are laying up the protien!  :tup:

Sure did, my freezer is full, had to buy a 7.1 cf for just the burger.😉
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 06:38:25 PM
Quick update-
Pulling into the thriving metropolis of Hydaburg on Prince of Wales island, we ran short on bait  :bash:

Anyway, fishing has been pretty decent. Doing about 240 pot lifts a day.
I will say I do like the pot fishing, and my boat is a natural pot boat.  Hmmm...

 I'll post up some pics when I get back to Sitka.  Hoping you guys are laying up the protien!  :tup:

Sure did, my freezer is full, had to buy a 7.1 cf for just the burger.😉

You draw an elephant permit??
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 06:53:53 PM
2018 Spot Prawns are a wrap.  Back in Sitka, got them all boxed up and offloaded into cold storage.  My crew is paid and back in WA by now, and I'm enjoying a few days of R&R during this weather we're having before I need to get out after the winter kings.

I've decided I really like pot fishing.  It's a great diversion from the standard trolling, lots more deck action and a boat running.  My boat has a very large amount of flat deck space with low bulwarks, and this makes it a natural for shrimping/crabbing. 

I took on a permit holder who owned all his own gear.  Basically, I brought the freezer boat rigged to haul pots to the party, he brought his permit card and gear.  We split the profits after we take out for food, fuel, bait and crew.  There was some learning involved on day one while we set the gear, but I got the hang of it fast as did he with working off of my boat.  Lots of good energy, and a good feeling about the season.

As I mentioned before, there is only 8 hours a day we can run gear.  On day 1, we set the gear out and were done with all 140 pots (14 strings of 10 pots each) by 10:30.  We covered water from 55 fa down to about 75 fa, over about 4 miles of shoreline.  Each string consisted of a 300 fa shot of line in a barrel.  We had it flagged at 100 fa intervals, so we had an idea of when the "bouy line" was out and the ground line began.  Some boats build a chute to launch pots out of the back with, but I decided we were going to save the hassle and launch from the side.  It was a great call, worked out well for us. 

We started by throwing the buoy out, running out 100 fa until we got to the flag.  That's when we started snapping on pots at regular intervals.  For a shallow set like 55 fa, we'd space them at 10 fa apart.  Ideally, our last pot was pretty close to the second flag.  We don't use anchors, just the weight of the pots to sink the string.  After the last pot, I'd throttle up and we'd run out the last 100 fa and throw the second buoy (each string end is marked by a buoy).

Here's a vid of our first set.  The line is pretty snarly coming out, as it was packed in those tubs and sitting since last October. 

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 07:08:41 PM
We found shrimping was much better deeper this year.  Most of our sets were most successful in the 80-95 fa range, with a few that paid at 100 fa (600 feet).  With that depth, it got pretty hard to land the string on the little edges I wanted to, as the pots sunk pretty slowly and there were some big tides we were working against.  I tried to schedule the deep drops during slack, but just running the most gear every day took precedence.  So, I'd end up planning the drift of the pots during my approach to the ledges I was fishing.  At one point,  I was trying to land a 95 fa string at the bottom of a very steep bank, and was setting them over the side of the boat in 60 fa of water knowing the outflow would take them over deeper water. 

When we were fishing that deep, we needed to also dedicate more of the 300 fa to buoy line and less to groundline.  So the pots got snapped on closer together, and ended up competing with each other a bit more.  A compromise we needed to make to fish the deep sets.

I didn't get any pics or vids of hauling gear, that was a lot of action on deck and no time for that kind of thing.  I do have some pics to share, of:

Shrimp in the livewell.  it was just a tote I kept on deck that I ran a 2" pump hose into and rigged a standpipe inside to manage water levels.  We kept the shrimp alive while we were running gear, and would start popping heads as soon as the last string of the day was reset.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: quadrafire on October 16, 2018, 07:11:44 PM
Thanks for the ride Chris :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 07:15:35 PM
Here's a couple pics of the crew.
The permit holder surveying the set up right before launching, and my deckhand popping heads.  Man, it seemed like we were always popping heads...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 07:19:07 PM
Once the shrimp were tailed and sorted (with eggs/no eggs), my stint in the freezer began.  I'd lay them out on sheets and freeze them solid.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 07:22:53 PM
After we froze the day's catch, phase 2 of freezer work began. To preserve these in the best possible condition and prevent freezer burn, they all needed to have a thin layer of glaze applied as a barrier to the oxygen.  Then, back onto the plates to cure the glaze.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 07:29:53 PM
It was rare to hit the rack before midnight, and after 3-ish hours in the blast freezer I was ready to sack out.  Thankfully, the guys I fished with always had a hot meal ready for me when I got out.
I think the finished product is with all the effort, though.  Wild, sustainable and chemical free.  Pot fishing these guys is virtually impact-free compared to trawling them up off the ocean floor, and keeping them alive until we popped the heads prevents the enzymatic decomp you see in other prawns.  They look great and I  can tell you they taste pretty darn good, too.  :tup:

All in all, a lot of work - but worth it.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on October 16, 2018, 07:31:42 PM
 :tup: :tup: :drool:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WAElkhunter89 on October 16, 2018, 07:34:43 PM
Those shrimp look fantastic. Eagerly awaiting the November salmon run, been watching the Sponsorship board everyday  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 16, 2018, 07:45:29 PM
Thanks fellas, happy to share the journey.

Going to get out there soon and see what the winter line has to offer up in terms of kings. I have to warn, though, that fish are scarce and prices are sky-high right now.  If I get into a pile of fish, I might be able to do a limited group buy, but it will be short-notice and my long-standing commercial customers get first dibs on these fish.  Just wanted to get that out there to keep everybody in the know.  :tup:

I will, however, be doing a group buy for coho filets (vacpac and some glazed), spot prawns, and possibly halibut portions.  Stay tuned!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on October 17, 2018, 12:26:15 AM
Once the shrimp were tailed and sorted (with eggs/no eggs), my stint in the freezer began.  I'd lay them out on sheets and freeze them solid.

Oh man, I love shrimp eggs. First thing I do after steaming them is suck all the eggs.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skyvalhunter on October 17, 2018, 05:08:16 AM
Do you do a group buy for the shrimp?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 17, 2018, 09:21:00 AM
I'm going to do a HuntWa group buy on the shrimp and some coho filets, possibly some halibut too,  just trying to get the schedule arranged.  :tup:

Once the shrimp were tailed and sorted (with eggs/no eggs), my stint in the freezer began.  I'd lay them out on sheets and freeze them solid.

Oh man, I love shrimp eggs. First thing I do after steaming them is suck all the eggs.

Shrimp eggs are pretty tasty!  The egg-on tails are much larger on average, too.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Dhoey07 on October 17, 2018, 09:35:55 AM
Any idea on shrimp cost?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: hunthard on October 17, 2018, 05:48:36 PM
Tag
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on October 20, 2018, 07:22:51 PM
Quick update-
Pulling into the thriving metropolis of Hydaburg on Prince of Wales island, we ran short on bait  :bash:

Anyway, fishing has been pretty decent. Doing about 240 pot lifts a day.
I will say I do like the pot fishing, and my boat is a natural pot boat.  Hmmm...

 I'll post up some pics when I get back to Sitka.  Hoping you guys are laying up the protien!  :tup:

Sure did, my freezer is full, had to buy a 7.1 cf for just the burger.😉

You draw an elephant permit??

Nope just a very large steer.😉
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 21, 2018, 10:09:54 AM
Any idea on shrimp cost?

Working out the details still, I just arranged to ship them south on a barge line to keep the price as low as possible.  Details to follow on a new Group Buy Thread soon!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 21, 2018, 10:28:18 AM
Looks like I'm taking a few more days off...

"PKZ042-220515- Cape Decision to Cape Edgecumbe- 308 AM AKDT Sun Oct 21 2018
...GALE WARNING THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE TONIGHT....
TODAY...SE wind increasing to 35 kt. Seas 18 ft. Rain in the afternoon. .
TONIGHT...SE wind 35 kt. Seas 18 ft. Rain. .
MON...SE wind 25 kt. Seas 13 ft. Rain. .
MON NIGHT...SE gale to 40 kt. Seas 18 ft. Rain. .
TUE...S wind 30 kt. Seas 18 ft. .
WED...SE wind 30 kt increasing to storm force wind to 50 kt. Seas 16 ft building to 29 ft. .
THU...S gale to 45 kt diminishing to 25 kt. Seas 32 ft subsiding to 23 ft."
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Whitpirate on October 21, 2018, 10:48:15 AM
oOOF that's some weather.

Stay safe. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on October 21, 2018, 11:44:06 AM
It is for a boat my size.  I'm just going to double up the mooring lines, crank up the stove and hunker down.  Lots of little boat projects I can do, books to read, etc. 
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: elkaholic123 on October 21, 2018, 12:06:33 PM
Any idea on shrimp cost?

Working out the details still, I just arranged to ship them south on a barge line to keep the price as low as possible.  Details to follow on a new Group Buy Thread soon!
:tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on January 31, 2019, 06:03:31 PM
Here's a great video of the West Crawfish chum smash of 2018.  A few of those seiner boats grossed over $100k that day.

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on January 31, 2019, 06:07:39 PM
I see jumpers just in the still photo.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on January 31, 2019, 06:11:48 PM
That's a lotta fish.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: j_h_nimrod on January 31, 2019, 07:46:39 PM
I heard that it set the one day record commercial chum catch of over 1 million fish. Indications are that next year could be bigger.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: jmscon on January 31, 2019, 08:20:30 PM
3....2....1....go!
That looks like a beautiful place to fish!
The anticipation would be killing me to be anchored up or idling waiting for the gun to go off!
Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on January 31, 2019, 08:30:38 PM
Haven’t watched the video but where is that exactly?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: j_h_nimrod on February 01, 2019, 11:14:07 AM
Haven’t watched the video but where is that exactly?

Link to the projects parent company and information on the project.

https://www.nsraa.org/?page_id=1835

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Stein on February 01, 2019, 11:32:27 AM
Man, I bet you have to haul in a bunch of chum to get $100k.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on February 01, 2019, 06:54:45 PM
Man, I bet you have to haul in a bunch of chum to get $100k.

120,000 to 125,000 lbs depending on price. In Prince William Sound we got $.80 to .85 a lb for a good part of last year. SE usually gets a little more as they are closer to markets and have better shipping options.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: snake on February 01, 2019, 08:02:27 PM
How long did the season last? Hours? Days?  How much have you guys been getting for reds the last few years?  My brother set nets Ugashik for Reds.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Dhoey07 on February 06, 2019, 10:44:12 AM
Any idea on shrimp cost?

Working out the details still, I just arranged to ship them south on a barge line to keep the price as low as possible.  Details to follow on a new Group Buy Thread soon!

Any thing in the works for a shrimp deal?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Woodchuck on February 06, 2019, 11:10:39 AM
Any idea on shrimp cost?

Working out the details still, I just arranged to ship them south on a barge line to keep the price as low as possible.  Details to follow on a new Group Buy Thread soon!

Any thing in the works for a shrimp deal?
@Skillet
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on February 07, 2019, 06:24:47 PM
Hey fellas. Been longlining P-cod for the past few weeks, really spotty cell coverage. 

Couldn't put the pieces together for a November spot prawn buy.  I have some product left though, and will be back down and selling fish (possibly off my boat in Fisherman's Terminal for a few days) sometime in March.  As soon as I get an idea of when I'll be heading back, I'll post up and put the bug in everybody's ear and see if we can do a group buy on the prawns, coho filets and yelloweye - as long as I can get it down in time.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on February 07, 2019, 06:26:43 PM
 :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: outdoorsdad on February 25, 2019, 12:53:21 PM
tag
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bigdave on February 26, 2019, 08:39:42 AM
yum!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on April 02, 2019, 07:15:01 PM
Boat is ready to go back in.  Lots of blood, sweat and more blood to get her to this point.  Haha, why the HELL don't I get a smaller fiberglass boat??

 I ordered my vinyl decals from @yellowdog again, but waited too long to get them on before I splash. Should have them soon, his work is worth the wait.

Moving her to fisherman's terminal tomorrow. 

Big shout out to Travis for the help - you are a stud!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Whitpirate on April 02, 2019, 07:21:26 PM
Let us know what slip you are in down there at Fishermans and I'll try and come in for a visit and buy opportunity.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on April 02, 2019, 08:26:25 PM
Roger that  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 08, 2019, 09:08:22 PM
The longline season is well underway, with fresh Alaskan halibut and black cod hitting the market.  I'm sure you've seen it in your local store.

It isn't all fun and games, however.  Two nights ago the halibut schooner Masonic went up on the rocks at Coronation Island, mayday call came across at 2:30 am. All hands safely lifted off by the coast guard.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on May 08, 2019, 09:11:11 PM
Scary stuff. Glad everyone is ok. Hope the vessel is salvageable
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 3boys on May 08, 2019, 09:15:22 PM
Bum deal. I've seem that boat up there many times.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 08, 2019, 09:17:13 PM
Shout out to @yellowdog , he cut another fine set of decals for my old gal.  Quick, competitively priced, high quality stuff.

Thanks again man!  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 08, 2019, 09:19:37 PM
Bum deal. I've seem that boat up there many times.
Ya, it's an institution in Sitka.  Bill is a survivor, and I'm sure he'll get it going again. May have to write off this early season, but I bet by this fall he's fishing it again.

Plus, he'll finally get a place of honor on the wall at the P Bar  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 3boys on May 08, 2019, 09:29:31 PM
Bum deal. I've seem that boat up there many times.
Ya, it's an institution in Sitka.  Bill is a survivor, and I'm sure he'll get it going again. May have to write off this early season, but I bet by this fall he's fishing it again.

Plus, he'll finally get a place of honor on the wall at the P Bar  :chuckle:
That P-Bar pic was the first thing I thought of when I saw your post. They might have to start putting pics on the ceiling in there. When you heading north?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Salmonstalker on May 09, 2019, 02:31:48 PM
Bum deal. I've seem that boat up there many times.
Ya, it's an institution in Sitka.  Bill is a survivor, and I'm sure he'll get it going again. May have to write off this early season, but I bet by this fall he's fishing it again.

Plus, he'll finally get a place of honor on the wall at the P Bar  :chuckle:

-Or the Sourdough  ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 10, 2019, 02:19:45 PM
Bum deal. I've seem that boat up there many times.
Ya, it's an institution in Sitka.  Bill is a survivor, and I'm sure he'll get it going again. May have to write off this early season, but I bet by this fall he's fishing it again.

Plus, he'll finally get a place of honor on the wall at the P Bar  :chuckle:
That P-Bar pic was the first thing I thought of when I saw your post. They might have to start putting pics on the ceiling in there. When you heading north?

Probably June 23rd-ish.  You looking for a ride?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 10, 2019, 02:25:26 PM
Today is the official first day of my 2019 season. Heading out of Neah Bay right now, going to spend the next 4 days on the ocean getting after kings and halibut. If any of you guys out fishing on the prarie tomorrow see me, feel free to do a drive by and throw me a barley pop.  I'll keep the net handy, and will post a thank you on the forum.
I'll also keep the camera handy for any of you that do a drive by and moon me, and will also post that on the forum...
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: carpsniperg2 on May 10, 2019, 04:54:23 PM
You going to be doing some HW buys again this year amigo?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 3boys on May 10, 2019, 05:41:04 PM
Bum deal. I've seem that boat up there many times.
Ya, it's an institution in Sitka.  Bill is a survivor, and I'm sure he'll get it going again. May have to write off this early season, but I bet by this fall he's fishing it again.

Plus, he'll finally get a place of honor on the wall at the P Bar  :chuckle:
That P-Bar pic was the first thing I thought of when I saw your post. They might have to start putting pics on the ceiling in there. When you heading north?

Probably June 23rd-ish.  You looking for a ride?
i wish. I will be in Norway for a summer solstice party. See you in August!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: YellowDog on May 10, 2019, 07:29:25 PM
Shout out to @yellowdog , he cut another fine set of decals for my old gal.  Quick, competitively priced, high quality stuff.

Thanks again man!  :tup:

My pleasure cutting the Diamond Lil lettering for your great looking boat. Have a safe and successful season!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 15, 2019, 09:20:22 PM
Quick update -
Fishing's been slow out here on the coast of WA, but the fish are big and fun to catch. Got an 11. 8# average in mid may.  No hogs, but very few runts either.  Just solid fish, they're gorging on 6-7" herring.

Here's a pair of 13#-ish fish that I'm having cut and vacpac for retail.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on May 15, 2019, 09:57:09 PM
Could almost shave looking at that gillplate it's so shiny.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 15, 2019, 10:07:33 PM
I'll save the heads for your travel shave kit. :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WAElkhunter89 on May 16, 2019, 01:23:26 AM
You going to be doing some HW buys again this year amigo?

In for this as well.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skyvalhunter on May 16, 2019, 05:23:10 AM
Some nice looking fish there Skillet!!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 16, 2019, 11:16:05 AM
Thanks guys. Time is tight, but looking at ways to do a group buy.  The price of kings has come down to the point I can likely justify doing a king and halibut buy for the Hunt Wa'ers.  Will likely also offer up coho filets and spot prawns at the same time if I can do it.  Watch for a possible group buy thread.  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: hunthard on May 16, 2019, 01:58:54 PM
Tag
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 92xj on May 16, 2019, 02:20:22 PM
Thanks guys. Time is tight, but looking at ways to do a group buy.  The price of kings has come down to the point I can likely justify doing a king and halibut buy for the Hunt Wa'ers.  Will likely also offer up coho filets and spot prawns at the same time if I can do it.  Watch for a possible group buy thread.  :tup:

If and when you do this, I will be in for one full box with a mix of all 4 listed. 
Your last half box I got lasted about 2 weeks, did not order enough and learned that lesson.
Please keep us posted.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: NRA4LIFE on May 16, 2019, 03:49:36 PM
I'd be in for a box of all four as well.  Please let me know where/when.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on May 16, 2019, 04:20:13 PM
Roger that fellas.  A full 80# box of these goods can get pretty pricey, depending on the mix. I'll figure out something for us though.  Thanks for showing the interest, I'll start a separate thread soon to keep this one on point.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Blacktail135 on May 16, 2019, 08:41:19 PM
Roger that fellas.  A full 80# box of these goods can get pretty pricey, depending on the mix. I'll figure out something for us though.  Thanks for showing the interest, I'll start a separate thread soon to keep this one on point.

 :tup: Was out of town for last fall's group buy. Keeping my eyes open for this years.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: HUNTINCOUPLE on May 16, 2019, 09:28:25 PM
Thanks guys. Time is tight, but looking at ways to do a group buy.  The price of kings has come down to the point I can likely justify doing a king and halibut buy for the Hunt Wa'ers.  Will likely also offer up coho filets and spot prawns at the same time if I can do it.  Watch for a possible group buy thread.  :tup:

Real nice! :IBCOOL:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on May 16, 2019, 09:32:48 PM
I’d be interested in some prawns!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on May 22, 2019, 09:26:07 AM
We've had two openers on the Copper River.  It's still pretty slow, but good prices so far. $14/lb for kings and $10 for sockeye on the first opener. It dropped to $10/lb for kings and $6 for reds on the second opener.

First opener my kings averaged 24 lbs, second opener only 17 lbs.  My sockeyes have been running 6 lbs.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: tmike on May 22, 2019, 10:31:41 AM
Good deal. Sounds like the fish are a bit healthier and a good price. Let’s hope they keep coming this year.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WAElkhunter89 on May 22, 2019, 10:33:44 PM
We've had two openers on the Copper River.  It's still pretty slow, but good prices so far. $14/lb for kings and $10 for sockeye on the first opener. It dropped to $10/lb for kings and $6 for reds on the second opener.

First opener my kings averaged 24 lbs, second opener only 17 lbs.  My sockeyes have been running 6 lbs.

Are you selling Copper River Salmon? Currently deployed overseas, but would love to have some in the freezer for when I get home.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 09:28:01 AM
Just a quick update from the WA coast -

Been out fishing the Prairie last few days, doing alright.  Fishing is pretty scratchy with the occasional big day.  The amount of bait out here is good, with bait profile leaning towards 6" herring.  We just have to have hooks in the water when the fish roll through. I have gotten a few clatters of fish with huge herring in them however, so I keep a few big spoons down.

Couple quick pics for you guys (jumbo king, big bait ball, deadly big-bait spoon), then back to work boxing up fish!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on June 05, 2019, 10:33:30 AM
How bigs that jumbo?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 11:34:13 AM
Mid to high 20's gilled and gutted I'm guessing. A touch over 40" long.   I'll scale that it tonight while I'm boxing fish.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 92xj on June 05, 2019, 11:36:35 AM
Mid to high 20's gilled and gutted I'm guessing. A touch over 40" long.   I'll scale that it tonight while I'm boxing fish.

Need my address again to slap on that box?

 :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on June 05, 2019, 11:39:39 AM
Mid to high 20's gilled and gutted I'm guessing. A touch over 40" long.   I'll scale that it tonight while I'm boxing fish.

Fantastic. That's a great fish.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 11:42:08 AM
Mid to high 20's gilled and gutted I'm guessing. A touch over 40" long.   I'll scale that it tonight while I'm boxing fish.

Need my address again to slap on that box?

 :chuckle:

Great offer of help, but this one already has a home. I'll definitely keep you in mind if I need to get rid of another big one down the road.  Better than planting roses on it  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skyvalhunter on June 05, 2019, 11:52:58 AM
 :drool: That's awesome at least your not throwing them in the ditch like some others
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 12:05:03 PM
Mid to high 20's gilled and gutted I'm guessing. A touch over 40" long.   I'll scale that it tonight while I'm boxing fish.

Fantastic. That's a great fish.

These are the fish we spend all this time and money to get after.  Got her on that big hammered gold spoon.  I actually felt the poles shake the boat when she realized she was hooked and not happy about it. It was a great battle at the back of the boat, several runs to the very end of the 3 fathom leader before I got her head turned.  Feeling the power in a big one that you're fighting by hand is a rush. Sensing that line zipping out through your gloved fingers, knowing if you don't put enough pressure on she's going to run you out of line and pull the hook out, but too much pressure and you'll do the same thing prematurely, the hand-to-fin combat... There's nothing else like it.  After She was done running, she charged the wire and put a wrap on it, but I unclipped the leader and fed it around the wire just before she yanked against it.  I muscled her into the current seam coming off the back of the boat and just as her head touched the surface it was met with a terrific blow from my gaff.  Flipped the gaff, stuck her, then almost needed to two-hand her aboard. 

And to think, just 30 years ago this was a "meh" fish.

I'll admit, I don't get many fish like this every year, and when I take a big warrior like this (adipose intact, so possibly a wild one) it is bittersweet.  I am grateful for every fish's ultimate sacrifice to my livelihood, and when I best a warrior like this it makes me pause and give thanks.  It is the memories of battles like these that keep the fishing fire stoked for the long months to come.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on June 05, 2019, 12:18:55 PM
Mid to high 20's gilled and gutted I'm guessing. A touch over 40" long.   I'll scale that it tonight while I'm boxing fish.

Fantastic. That's a great fish.

These are the fish we spend all this time and money to get after.  Got her on that big hammered gold spoon.  I actually felt the poles shake the boat when she realized she was hooked and not happy about it. It was a great battle at the back of the boat, several runs to the very end of the 3 fathom leader before I got her head turned.  Feeling the power in a big one that you're fighting by hand is a rush. Sensing that line zipping out through your gloved fingers, knowing if you don't put enough pressure on she's going to run you out of line and pull the hook out, but too much pressure and you'll do the same thing prematurely, the hand-to-fin combat... There's nothing else like it.  After She was done running, she charged the wire and put a wrap on it, but I unclipped the leader and fed it around the wire just before she yanked against it.  I muscled her into the current seam coming off the back of the boat and just as her head touched the surface it was met with a terrific blow from my gaff.  Flipped the gaff, stuck her, then almost needed to two-hand her aboard. 

And to think, just 30 years ago this was a "meh" fish.

I'll admit, I don't get many fish like this every year, and when I take a big warrior like this (adipose intact, so possibly a wild one) it is bittersweet.  I am grateful for every fish's ultimate sacrifice to my livelihood, and when I best a warrior like this it makes me pause and give thanks.  It is the memories of battles like these that keep the fishing fire stoked for the long months to come.

Great description of an epic king salmon fight. I always loved that part of fishing in AK, albeit a little different than what you're doing. The fish are what keep us all coming back, and rare instances where paths cross with special ones keep the fire burning.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 12:59:41 PM
Just got this vid sent to me by a buddy fishing out on the Prairie right now.  It's the crew's first time running gear this year, so don't bust his berries too bad for being slow - I've already done enough of that for all of us. :chuckle:

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on June 05, 2019, 01:29:47 PM
WOW love those Kings! Have reeled in a few like that out there. Will make it back out there in July hope they are still coming through then! Best of luck with the rest of the season hope its a good one!

Thanks for sharing!  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 02:52:34 PM
Just got another great vid of Joey landing a nice king a few minutes ago.  Darn near a live stream from the decks of F/V Majestic IV out on the Prairie !  :chuckle:

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on June 05, 2019, 03:08:26 PM
Looks a little breezy but not too rough.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 03:17:14 PM
Yep, that's a normal day at the office.  There's so much water moving across the prairie though, a wind shift or tide change can churn it up fast.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on June 05, 2019, 07:36:56 PM
Theres a picture on the wall of the P Bar of a troller swinging a big king over the rail like that. I always wanted a picture like that. Someday maybe.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 05, 2019, 09:28:24 PM
Theres a picture on the wall of the P Bar of a troller swinging a big king over the rail like that. I always wanted a picture like that. Someday maybe.
I know exactly which pic you're talking about. 

I know a guy, if you find yourself with some free time in May/June in the coming years.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 7mmfan on June 05, 2019, 09:59:52 PM
Theres a picture on the wall of the P Bar of a troller swinging a big king over the rail like that. I always wanted a picture like that. Someday maybe.
I know exactly which pic you're talking about. 

I know a guy, if you find yourself with some free time in May/June in the coming years.

I'll have to get his contact info.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: WSU on June 06, 2019, 12:10:59 PM
How long are your trips in this May/June fishery?
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on June 06, 2019, 04:14:33 PM
Anywhere from 2 to 5 days.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 10, 2019, 03:43:04 PM
Thought I'd throw a quick update up on the thread while I have a few minutes.

AK king season was short at 5 days.  Decent fishing. I started at the Fairweather Grounds (120 miles from my slip), but moved back to Cape Edgecumbe (12 miles from my slip) for day 3 through 5. 

Coho fishing started out pretty slow right after, and it's been slow right up until now.  150/day is pretty elusive.  Been happy with a 100/day avg in my trips.  And then I had a major breakdown (see diesel gurus help thread), so my July total catch is way behind schedule. Coho has been so slow, in fact, that AKDFG shut us down for 8 days. Which gave me the opportunity to...

Go longlining out on the Fairweather Grounds to pick up the small amount of halibut quota I bought this winter. Was a fun trip, I'll let the pics speak for themselves.  The big hali I'm holding didn't actually get hooked, he swallowed a yelloweye that was hooked and it got stuck in his throat.

Second king opener coming up on the 13th, scrambling to get the boat ready for that now.

Hope everybody's having a great summer!



Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: bearpaw on August 10, 2019, 03:48:06 PM
Glad you're getting a few fish. I'm calling dibs on a chunk of halibut!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: h20hunter on August 10, 2019, 04:16:31 PM
That's crazy! Nice haul.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Goldeneye on August 10, 2019, 05:14:03 PM
Great trip.  All those yelloweye make me hungry for some.  LOL!  Glad that trip worked out at least.   :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Alchase on August 10, 2019, 07:01:57 PM
Looks like that huge halibut still has the yellow eye in his mouth!

I miss grubbing on yellow eye, it has been way to long since I have had any.

Thanks for sharing those pics are impressive!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Sitka_Blacktail on August 11, 2019, 06:57:19 AM
Here in Prince William Sound/Copper River we've had a strange season. Season started decently on the Copper River Delta and I actually had my best king season in 5-6 years.  Then things slowed down so I moved to the Sound to fish chums and reds. Management was protecting the area around the Esther hatchery because they needed to take over 6 million pounds there for cost recovery. So they locked us into small postage stamp areas away from the hatchery. Fishing wasn't great, but the kept giving us extensions so that we were basically fishing 7 days a week. For over a month we had only two 12 hour closures a week. So we kept grinding away, and even tho we didn't have any big days, by the end of the week we'd have put in a real good week.  We were catching enough reds I didn't feel the need to try to get in on the big dog derbies.  Down at Port Chalmers on Montague Island the dogs came in hot and heavy. Guys put in big seasons there, but it's the type of fishery where you need two or three crew men to get through all the fish. Boats were putting in 10 to 20 thousand lbs a day there, but I knew at my age it would hurt me to even try there. So we kept plugging away in our little spot and ended up with a very decent season.  Towards the end of July, I took a tow back to town from on of my tenders and have been on an extended break since. Been working on nets, fixing up the boat and doing a little sport fishing. Have a couple buddies just came up and we are heading out today for some halibut/ling cod/rock sport fishing. We'll probably put out the shrimp pots too. In a week, I'll get into silver salmon mode for the rest of the season, hopefully two 24 hour openers for a month. 

Here's a 180 lbs halibut I caught a couple weeks ago, sport fishing.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Dhoey07 on August 12, 2019, 10:34:22 AM
I'd love to see the cheeks on that sucker  :drool: :drool:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: 3boys on August 12, 2019, 12:06:42 PM
Thought I'd throw a quick update up on the thread while I have a few minutes.

AK king season was short at 5 days.  Decent fishing. I started at the Fairweather Grounds (120 miles from my slip), but moved back to Cape Edgecumbe (12 miles from my slip) for day 3 through 5. 

Coho fishing started out pretty slow right after, and it's been slow right up until now.  150/day is pretty elusive.  Been happy with a 100/day avg in my trips.  And then I had a major breakdown (see diesel gurus help thread), so my July total catch is way behind schedule. Coho has been so slow, in fact, that AKDFG shut us down for 8 days. Which gave me the opportunity to...

Go longlining out on the Fairweather Grounds to pick up the small amount of halibut quota I bought this winter. Was a fun trip, I'll let the pics speak for themselves.  The big hali I'm holding didn't actually get hooked, he swallowed a yelloweye that was hooked and it got stuck in his throat.

Second king opener coming up on the 13th, scrambling to get the boat ready for that now.

Hope everybody's having a great summer!
  I will be up tomorrow and was going to toss you a barley pop as a show of fisherman solidarity.  Now that you can catch kings and I can’t all your getting is a Sitka full moon!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on August 12, 2019, 10:15:09 PM
Thought I'd throw a quick update up on the thread while I have a few minutes.

AK king season was short at 5 days.  Decent fishing. I started at the Fairweather Grounds (120 miles from my slip), but moved back to Cape Edgecumbe (12 miles from my slip) for day 3 through 5. 

Coho fishing started out pretty slow right after, and it's been slow right up until now.  150/day is pretty elusive.  Been happy with a 100/day avg in my trips.  And then I had a major breakdown (see diesel gurus help thread), so my July total catch is way behind schedule. Coho has been so slow, in fact, that AKDFG shut us down for 8 days. Which gave me the opportunity to...

Go longlining out on the Fairweather Grounds to pick up the small amount of halibut quota I bought this winter. Was a fun trip, I'll let the pics speak for themselves.  The big hali I'm holding didn't actually get hooked, he swallowed a yelloweye that was hooked and it got stuck in his throat.

Second king opener coming up on the 13th, scrambling to get the boat ready for that now.

Hope everybody's having a great summer!



Awesome pictures! Love those Yellow Eye!
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 22, 2019, 10:15:09 AM
Thought I'd throw a quick update up on the thread while I have a few minutes.

AK king season was short at 5 days.  Decent fishing. I started at the Fairweather Grounds (120 miles from my slip), but moved back to Cape Edgecumbe (12 miles from my slip) for day 3 through 5. 

Coho fishing started out pretty slow right after, and it's been slow right up until now.  150/day is pretty elusive.  Been happy with a 100/day avg in my trips.  And then I had a major breakdown (see diesel gurus help thread), so my July total catch is way behind schedule. Coho has been so slow, in fact, that AKDFG shut us down for 8 days. Which gave me the opportunity to...

Go longlining out on the Fairweather Grounds to pick up the small amount of halibut quota I bought this winter. Was a fun trip, I'll let the pics speak for themselves.  The big hali I'm holding didn't actually get hooked, he swallowed a yelloweye that was hooked and it got stuck in his throat.

Second king opener coming up on the 13th, scrambling to get the boat ready for that now.

Hope everybody's having a great summer!
  I will be up tomorrow and was going to toss you a barley pop as a show of fisherman solidarity.  Now that you can catch kings and I can’t all your getting is a Sitka full moon!

What an amazing dinner, it was great to hang with "Team 3boys" again. Thank you! 

And to set the record straight, not only was @3boys able to fish kings on his trip up here, they slayed them on their last day.    Maybe he'll tell the story.  :tup:
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: Skillet on August 22, 2019, 05:17:01 PM
We've got a blow coming. 40 kts and 15 ft this afternoon and tonight.  That's beyond my desire to fish in. So I came in last night to reset. I'm offloaded, fueled, provisioned, and tied to the boards with every line I own.

Perfect time for an update.

Second kings were just ok, only lasted two days.  With a hungry fleet and  only 25k kings left in our quota, nobody expected it to last very long.  There were some shenanigans trying to get unloaded that cost me two days.  Getting heated just thinking about that again, so we'll let that one go...

Coho are getting bigger, but not as big as last year's. Today's delivery was a 5.99# head-off average weight. 

My ace deckhand, Johnny, is stepping off Sept 1, so I took on a second deckhand to train with him before he goes.  Codenamed "Big Red," she's green to freezer trolling but is picking it up fast and has fresh drive.  I have no worries about her being up to speed when Johnny leaves.  I've not had female crew yet, and at this point regret not recruiting the ladies to work the deck more aggressively.

Couple pics, and an FAS offload vid.

Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: runamuk on August 22, 2019, 07:31:05 PM
Jelly so so jelly of all the fish I do not have in my freezer. And my baby brother fishes up there now and still....no fish in my freezer  :dunno: :'( :'(

I love all the pics though.
Title: Re: Commercial Fishing
Post by: RB on August 22, 2019, 09:35:12 PM
Awesome! Stay safe!