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.

September 29 to October 3, 2007 — The best thing about gearing the Satisfaction up for the summer season was that the boat was all set to go when chum season rolled around. Last year I was installing my stern roller just hours before I was to leave for Seattle; this year the boat sat waiting, all ready to go fishing except for putting the fall net on.

The first big net-loading day was on September 29. I recruited my daughters (aged 10 and 12) for this giant net switcheroo on a cold and rainy Saturday. We had to haul off the king net, and then pull my old summer net off the dock and onto my boat so we could load it into my truck at the net chute. Next I had to load my new summer net onto my boat so I could pull around and put it in the place where my old net just vacated. In all we moved a 300-fathom gillnet eight times, counting unloading my old sockeye net at my house and loading my fall net into my truck and then onto my boat. I know there is an easier way to do this, but I have yet to figure it out. The girls did a great job, and my wife, Maureen, came down with Lucy, and they helped for a while, too.

I recruited Wayde to help me with my fall net-loading antics on Wednesday, October 3. He owed me money, and I told him the only interest he ever has to pay is to help me out when I need a hand. He is an indentured servant of sorts, and I indented him on this day to load 200 fathoms of my old net into the truck, then stitch a newly hung 100-fathom piece onto the end. And all this had to be done by 11 a.m., when Wayde had a dental appointment he didn't want to miss.

I was on his boat bright and early at 8 a.m., and after a fair amount of dilly-farting around, we were on task at my house by 9. The net loaded quickly into the truck, but it was a regular haystack. I sliced it off at the 200-fathom mark, and pulled the truck into the field. Next I scooped the new piece up with the trash forks on my tractor, and dumped it in the field out by the truck. We found the ends, lashed the leads and corks together, and started lacing the web together full speed.

We were both working at a frantic pace, as the 11-hour was fast approaching. Wayde was working with super-speed because he really needed to make his appointment. We laced until we met in the middle, then jumped up onto the pile and started pulling the net into the truck. I haven't seen Wayde work that fast in years; that net was aboard my truck in no time. I still needed to lace a breast line onto the end of the net, but I could do that in town somewhere.

We jumped into the truck and high-tailed it into town. I was speeding on the straightaways, but took it real slow around the corners so my super-haystack of net wouldn't topple. We made it to the dentist's office by 11:05, which is close enough to 11 in my book.

While he was at his appointment, I drove over to the ferry landing overflow holding lot (it's always empty in the off-season) and stretched the end of my net out to sew on my breast line. When I was finished I moved back over to the dentist's office to lay in wait for Wayde. I snagged him on his way out, and we went right down to the boat to load my net. It was a total stuff-job on that drum, but we managed to pack it on.

Now the Satisfaction was ready for the chum season in Seattle.


Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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