Wednesday, September 27, 2017

2017 Fishing Season- All Done but the Crying

 Well, the 2017 fishing season is pretty much in the bag. At least as far as the cohos go. Without a doubt, it was the best year I've ever had in the thirty nine years I've been commercial fishing. One of the most fun for sure. For  most of July we had the best weather I'd ever seen. Day after day of calm seas, coupled with a steady run of cohos passing through Icy Strait from the beginning of the season to the end. We had so many good weather days that I was starting to wish for a little storm to pass through just so I could get some rest. Frankly, I was exhausted. Catching too many fish isn't the kind of thing that you want to bitch about too loud though. "Oh gee, I'm so tired of making all this money." Of course being  money, it comes and goes like the tide. I look at my checkbook and wonder where it all went. I know I made some, but where's it at? I learned years ago that when you have a good season, you need to invest in your business. Get the new equipment you need. Have a few more planks replaced, order the fishing gear that you might need next year now, don't wait. The money may not be there next year. For as good as the season was, there were still a few drawbacks. My radar went out on me-twice! I spoke to the technician who worked on it down in Sitka and asked if this particular model of Furuno radar was known for having problems. He assured me it wasn't. "It's just that all of your issues with the radar are so strange!" Go figure. Why can't I have normal problems like everyone else? Of course, maybe there really isn't any such thing as normal problems. Anyway, the last day I had a desperate desire to make the trip across Icy Strait to Homeshore. The water was calm, but the day dawned foggy as my brain when I first awaken. Unfortunately, it stayed foggy on the Homeshore side until after 3:00 PM. It takes me an hour and half just to go over there and of course the same to come back, so going wasn't really an option. Of course my friend Fagan was sure to let me know what a great day he had. Seventy five compared to the sixteen I had to settle for on this side of the Strait. Oh well, that's life. One nice thing about being out on the boat, you never know what you're going to see. I liked the rainbow quite a bit. We actually get quite a few around here because of it being a rainforest. I came into the bay recently and a pair of yearling Brown bears were walking along the beach at high tide, maybe searching for any dead fish that washed up onto the gravel. They're pretty industrious in their food search, and not that picky. Some bears will dig up rocks on the beach to get whatever marine creatures are hiding there. If there aren't any fish they'll dig clams or eat beach grass, or skunk cabbage. A few years ago there was a whale carcass on the beach out past Point Sophia that seemed to attract quite an audience. I can't imagine how they could get past the smell to scarf down any of that rotting flesh, but they don't seem to be particular. They used to go up to the dump and were known to munch down on Pampers. All the more reason not to eat one of those bruins. On another day I was in the bay when I spotted what I thought was a pair of porpoises. As it turned out they were just a couple small Orcas. Later I spotted one of the adults. I think they send out a scouting group in advance. As you can imagine, the fishing took a turn for the worse for awhile. The bottom picture shows two cruise ships, one tied to the dock and one anchored close by. I believe that was another day that it was foggy in the morning. I was sweating blood trying to make sure I didn't get in their path. There would be nothing but splinters and paint if I was to have an encounter with one of those monsters. One day we had three of the damn things in port at once. One was getting ready to leave, one was anchored out and another one was wanting to tie up. Way too many ships. It's my understanding that next year there is going to be a ship every day. I wouldn't bitch so loud if I could collect a fifty cent head tax from each passenger to offset the aggravation. I can pretty much guarantee that isn't going to happen. Anyway, I still need to try to catch 652 lbs of halibut for the city before October 10. On the eleventh the winter king season will open. I'm hoping to go catch a handful. It would be a nice way to end the fishing season.


  1. So happy to hear you had a good fishing season. I will pray that you are able to end well. Great pictures. Love you, Camille

  2. Hi Camille, thanks. It was a lot of fun, but it left me really tired. I'm looking forward to next year already though. Love you too.

  3. So glad you've had such a great season, Tom!

    1. Thanks Jill. Just wish it would carry on all year like a real job. Guess I'm in the wrong place for that with the weather and fish being seasonal creatures and all. Anyway, it's something to look forward to each year. Not sure how much longer I can carry on, but I'll try to endure to the bitter end.