Thursday, June 23, 2011
It's been a while since I've been able to sit down at the computer. As I've mentioned in the past, it's the busy season. Fishermen, much like farmers have to make their money during a reletively short time span. It can get hectic to put it mildly, so when it's time to fish, there's no question about the proverbial fish or cut bait debate, you fish, and hope like heck that you are successful. The bottom picture shows a small fraction of the trollers fishing Homeshore for Chum and Pink salmon- also known as Dogs and Humpies. Last year several folks from Sitka approached a fish buyer about providing a packer to buy the fish and transport them to the plant. There are several wild runs that go to various areas around Juneau, and there is also a large number of fish returning to DIPAC- Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery. Historically these fish have been targeted by the gillnet fleet, even though all commercial fishermen are assessed a three percent tax to enhance the runs. Last year I joined the fleet at Homeshore and enjoyed a decent return for my effort. There were at most forty boats last year. My how a year can change things. Word got out and now we have somewhere between eighty and one hundred plus trollers working on the stock. It's crazy. I don't believe I've ever seen this many trollers here before, even during the coho season. Homeshore is really exposed to the East and West winds and so anchoring there can be a miserable experience. Some guys don't seem to mind. In fact I would venture to say that most of the fleet doesn't seem to mind, judging by the number of boats I've seen anchored there not that there are many other options. I, on the other hand, hate to be rocked about all night. I don't like other boats too close to me, I don't want to hear them playing their loud music or laughing hysterically, or talking in an obnoxious voice or any number of other things. When I go to bed at night I like it to be quiet, and I would prefer to anchor in a protected location. Some folks like to go to bed with a special blanket or stuffed animal, I like to go to bed in a snug harbor, or some semblance there of.
The only really good place to anchor on the Homeshore side of Icy Straits when the West wind is blowing is way down at Swanson Harbor or way up in Excursion Inlet in Sawmill Bay or one of my favorite places, which is much closer than both of the others, Noon Point. Its on the East end of Pleasant Island. How could you not want to be at a place called Pleasant Island... and even more so...at Noon Point. Noon Point, how in the heck did anyone come up with that name? Was it time for lunch when whomever names geographical areas came across it? Tim Banaszack and I used to joke about the place for some reason, probably just because it was such an unusual name. In any event, it's a lovely place, as you can see from the top picture; good holding bottom and well protected from the West wind. Carl Peterson, one of the fellows who got this whole chum salmon fishery going in Icy Straits, owns the boat in the middle picture. Its named the Last Dance. I like the name of the boat even though I don't dance. It sounds kind of sad, although not as sad as the Last Twinkie, or the Last Cupcake, or the Last Piece of Custard Pie. You probably wouldn't have anyone ever call you on the radio if your boat was named the Last Piece of Custard Pie- it would take too long to say the boat name. And if your boat is named that, what is your name... Rumplestiltskin? You'd probably be called Rump for short. Still, with a name like the Last Dance, it gives you something to contemplate while you're waiting for the fish to bite. Hopefully this won't be the Last Blog Entry.