National Fisherman

At Sea Diary

Matt MarinkovichMatt Marinkovich’s weekly At Sea Diary entry is a popular feature of the National Fisherman Web site, and now you can post your own reflections on Matt’s experiences fishing in the Pacific Northwest and North Pacific.

Thursday, July 28 — I arrived home on San Juan Island on this morning after a solid two months in Bristol Bay.

I had plans of kicking back for a week before I did any fishing-related activity at home, but that idea went to hell when my brother Frank called, informing me there may be a sockeye opening soon, right in my backyard. I would have blown it off, but all my fish customers were asking when I would be catching sockeye, and went on to tell me how excited they are at the thought of a fresh sockeye. So after only three full days at home, I was back on my gillnetter, thinking fish.

It took three solid days' work, which were dispersed through a week, but the Satisfaction hit the water on Thursday, August 4, 2011, just in time to make the first sockeye opening in Puget Sound on Friday, from 2 p.m. to midnight.

That first opening was actually pretty good! I figured on only catching a few, so I didn't bring very many ice chests (where I store cleaned fish to sell on the island). Chaos ensued after I had 150 fish on one set, with no organized place to put them. I wound up selling some fish to the tender but I still had a very successful selling day on San Juan Island. Linda, my deckhand in Bristol Bay who also lives on San Juan Island, joined me for this opening, and also sold a batch of fish at the farmer's market.

Our next opening came a week later on Thursday, August 11, 8 a.m. to midnight; a full day of fishing. There were fewer fish than the previous opening, and more boats as well, but I managed to catch enough for the islanders, and we had a great time doing it.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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