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.

July 10-11, 2007 — By the end of Tuesday, July 10, there was scarcely a current to be had; one by one everything started fading out, especially after it got dark because I ran my deck lights. First the cell phone went, then the radios. Every light was dim, even after I quit running the deck lights; the cabin lights were less than the glow of a match. When the GPS faded away, I knew it was time to do something about this situation.

I quit fishing while it was still flooding, this time not even close to catching the limit. I put fresh batteries into my handheld GPS so I could still navigate into the river, and ran for camp. I arrived at high water and grabbed two new batteries out of the parts room. I also grabbed the battery tester, and fed upon the battery boneyard like a vulture, finding batteries with signs of life and bringing the three best along for the ride as sacrifices to the battery gods. I headed back into the night with all lights out to conserve the juice.

While fishing the flood on the next opening on Wednesday, July 11, I got word my alternator had arrived and was heading out on a tender. I hooked up with the tender that evening, just as my supply of sacrificial batteries was depleted. I was praying the whole time that it would all come together, because I was just about at the end of my rope after dealing with this alternator crap.

The engineer on the tender was a huge help in pressing a part into the new (actually it was used and corroded) bracket. I was extra-careful because I knew I couldn't take any more of this battery b.s. and missed fishing time. When it all came together, my prayers were answered; the boat fired up and the alternator charged! We lightened our load by leaving on the tender three dead batteries, a generator, and two empty jugs of gas.

I suppose this story has a happy ending, but I cannot find it. I know I'm not supposed to dwell on the fact that this guy and his stupid engine he slapped together probably cost me 20,000 pounds of fish in lost fishing time. Nor should I concern myself with the fact that when I was finally back up and running and fishing with a clear head, the run had tapered down and we were pretty much scratch fishing for the remainder of the season.

On the bright side, my boat now has the correct alternator, and at the end of the season I even ordered a correct spare for the engine so I will never have to go through that experience again. Yippee!

TO BE CONTINUED...

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