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.

August 1-10, 2008 — With a seed of the Samish Bay king fishery already planted in my mind in the spring, I took the windshield off the Lady Ruth in April, then thought about the project every time I drove past the boat as it sat along my driveway. I also ordered up enough web for 200-fathoms of 30-mesh deep king gear, plus an easy-to-hand-haul 30-pound leadline to go along with it.

Although both of these projects had their beginnings initiated, I took no further action on either of them until the season was fast approaching. The first opening was slated for Sunday, August 10, which left me an extremely abbreviated time to prepare my boat and net. I didn't lift a finger until after August 1, and progress moved in sporadic spurts at best.

I always say I don't want my Puget Sound fishing to cut too deeply into my family time, but I always give myself these tight deadlines that cause me to be consumed by my project, despite my higher ideals. Nonetheless, I tried to graciously blend my family life and fishing into one free-flowing entity. I moved the boat down in front of my garage so it was readily accessible, and filled the "slow moments" in my family time by running out, grabbing the sawzall, and going to work on the Lady Ruth.

The tasks needed to convert this crabber into a gill netter involved cutting away the front combing, constructing floorboards on the newly exposed forward deck, building a set of "horns" for a net guide in the bow, building a windshield in front of the steering station, rewiring just about every electrical component beside the engine panel, adding a red "fish" light and deck pump, eliminating all potential gillnet snags, and then slapping all the gear on the boat needed to actually complete a night's fishing. Easier said that done, but it is definitely a job that could be completed, so long as attention to detail was tossed overboard along with all the material the sawzall cut away.

Let's not forget about the net. I could have saved more time than I care to think about had I not been so particular about paneling that stupid net together. I bought a multi-strand gillnet so I wouldn't be sharing that confined deck space with a super-fluffy spider web of a net, which would be the case with a monofilament net. So I went with 150-fathoms of easy-to-handle multi-strand net and only 50-fathoms of obnoxiously fluffy, but better fishing, mono.

I wanted to be certain my competitiveness was not sacrificed for ease of handling, so I cut up that 50-fathom piece of mono into about 20 pieces, and then cut the rest of the net up so the mono panels were spaced evenly throughout the net and sewed it all back together in panels, which made a very fishy and very competitive net indeed. This procedure involved way too much cutting, trimming, and sewing, sewing, sewing. I thought there would be no end to it. I spent some late nights out in the garage screwing around with that damned net. I think I had as many hours into that net as I did the boat itself. I'm not sure — I didn't keep track; but my wife Maureen, well, she didn't keep official track, but I know I made some significant withdraws from the "love bank" in my spending so much spare time with this sport-gillnetting project.

I kept my fingers crossed that the end product would be a cash deposit to justify those withdraws from the love bank. But even then I know that money can't buy love.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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