Friday, March 30, 2018

The Village Idiot

The Village Idiot

This Bald Eagle is enjoying his perch atop the Village Idiot's trolling poles




     While the above named post might lead the reader into thinking that this post is about myself, I can soundly reject that notion and would encourage you to look closely at the stern of the boat in the top picture. As you can see, plainly or not so much so, the boat in question is none other than The Village Idiot, home ported in what used to be a lovely little fishing village on the outer coast of Chichagof Island, at the very entrance to Cross Sound. Unfortunately, like so many fine places in Alaska, the area has been taken over by the tourist industry and it's changed the whole character of the the village.I believe that there are nine lodges crammed into the harbor now, puking out an ungodly number of charter fishermen several times a day from spring to the fall every year.  I would much rather see the moniker Village Idiot on one of those boats, along with Buffoon, Knucklehead, Bumbling Oaf, Greedy Jerks, Simpleton, Lawless and any number of other uncomplimentary names. However, in the years when Elfin Cove was still primarily a fishing village, the owner of the boat, Bob Bell  and his wife Deb along with their two sons, took up fishing for a living. Bob, or Bobbo as he's known, used to be a plumber as I understand. I'm not sure why he opted out of that, I'm sure the money is good, but I guess they like a little more adventure in their lives, and fishing afforded them a chance to make a living during the more pleasant summer months and then go elsewhere in the winter.  Debbie has a boat named The Madame Ching. Both boats are converted gill net boats I believe. To the best of my knowledge they fish almost exclusively in the area around Cross Sound and down the coast to Deer Harbor. When I first bought my GPS, I followed Bob as he trolled in a large circle from Hocktaheen to Surge Bay. I set the tracking function on so that I could get an accurate picture of where to fish and where to avoid. The area out there is peppered with pinnacles. You can be trolling along at 24 fathoms and all at once the water is only 20 fathoms deep or even less. I've lost more than a little bit of gear out there, and at $3.00 a pound for lead, you don't want to be losing a couple of fifty pound cannonballs, to say nothing of the flashers and spoons and other gear. The nice part is that fish are attracted to the area, so if you can keep your gear off the bottom, you can make a paycheck every day. Following the track that was laid down has proven to be a most profitable venture. I noticed that if I stray off of it just a little bit, the results can be disastrous. Both of Bob and Deb's boys are grown up and have their own boats, and to the best of my knowledge are both very good fishermen, maybe even better than their parents, since they enjoy the enthusiasm of youth and are a little more aggressive in their fishing. The Bell's enjoy a very adventurous life style, skiing in Colorado kayaking somewhere down south and this winter heading to Tibet or Mongolia, I can't recall why, maybe to ride horses in the desert. I look forward to their return this spring, but like many commercial fishermen this year, I'm afraid they'll be coming home to a rather dismal fishing season. There won't be any spring king salmon season due to a terrible reduction in the numbers of fish returning to spawn, and I just heard today that the price of halibut is down about $2.00 a pound from what it has been for the past three or four years; and that's on top of a fifteen percent reduction in the commercial quota. It's going to be a tough year to be a fisherman. Maybe Bobbo had it right when he named his boat.

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