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.

Our night's sleep amounted to less than two hours on the morning of Tuesday, November 6, 2007, but Dave and I were up for the challenge of our day ahead. It was flat calm, which is never good for fishing, but we were ready to catch what we could. We set our second set off the beach, less than a mile north of the Clinton ferry landing. On this first set, I took the time to untangle the colossal twist Fawn John put into my net when he got web in the wheel on the Halloween opening. So although we had only 30 fish that set, it wasn't a total waste of time in the grand scheme of things.

The second set was Dave's vulture set. After I laid out the net, Dave put on his Vulture of Life mask and began tying the crystals to the hand-blown floats with organic hemp twine. The Vulture worked without speaking, but I suppose he didn't have much to say with that crazy mask over his head. When all was secure the Vulture of Life released the crystal, then after sending down about 80 feet of twine, launched the glass ball. He repeated the procedure two more times, then the Satisfaction sat adrift amongst the three glass balls for a full 20 minutes. The Vulture of Life stood sentinel on deck, overseeing his energy-receiving crystals as they absorbed the ju-ju of the moment.

After the crystals received an acceptable amount of positive energy from the salmon-producing waters of Puget Sound, we let go the end of the net and plucked the balls and their priceless cargo from the sea. When all the crystals were aboard and safely stowed, the Vulture removed his mask, and the exercise was over. Dave gave me a glass ball as a keepsake.

After all that drama we had only nine fish on the Vulture set. We realized that although we could see schools of fish boiling in the water nearby, unless the wind picked up to get them moving, it was going to be a slow day fishing. The fish were really dark from sniffing around the fresh water mixed up in Everett Bay, which left us a very limited selection of salmon for Dave to sell on the street.

I wound up catching just over 100 fish for the day, of which Dave took 15 for the handful of lucky fish consumers in the Seattle area. I dropped Dave off at the Clinton ferry landing, helped him load his truck (well, it was actually my truck and he was just using it for the day), and he boarded the ferry, headed for the metropolis.

I offloaded my fish at a tender that was anchored in the bight at Possession Head around 8 p.m. I sold 85 black dogs for about $550, then headed off to Hood Canal on a calm, dark and beautiful night.

Dave's sales were quite slow the next day in Seattle, even though he stayed away from the salmon-saturated streets of Ballard. I encouraged him to wear his vulture mask while selling, but he insisted that was not the point of the mask. He sold only seven fish for his efforts, and I'm not sure what he did with the rest. I know someday the Seattle public will be begging for my salmon; I just need to figure out how to get to that point. I need some of that ju-ju!


Inside the Industry

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center has announced that Dr. Jon Hare has been selected to serve as the permanent science and research director effective Oct. 31.

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It’s no secret that fraud is a problem in the seafood industry. Oceana repeatedly touts a mislabeling epidemic. While their method has been criticized, the perception of rampant fraud  has been established.

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