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.

Tuesday, April 2, 2012 — After leaving Seward in a record 8-hour turnaround, we were back on the fishing grounds on the morning of Tuesday, April 2.

We tried a different spot, and fortunately the whales must not have liked the fish from this area, because they weren't nearly as bad as when we were in the Seward Gully. We fished exclusively for blackcod, but wound up catching a few straggler flat-ones along with the black-ones. Fishing was good, the fish were big, and everyone was happy.

We were fishing in a period of increasingly strong tides (the strongest tides of the year fall just before Easter). When the tides get bigger, the current gets stronger, and when fishing in the deeper waters where the blackcod dwell (200-500 fathoms or deeper), it makes the gear very difficult to haul because of all the drag on the line as it is being pulled through quarter- to half-mile-deep water with a strong current. Plus, if we get hung up on a glob of lost gear or God-knows-what down there, it makes it a really sticky situation — one ripe for losing gear.

Because of these strong tides, our plan was to fish just two days, then fish halibut for one day, which lie in shallower water where the strong tide would cause fewer complications. But it turned out the tides were already incredibly strong, and on the morning of the second day, although we had already started baiting, we cut the trip short, and didn't even set the gear we had just baited.

We were going to use the baited gear for halibut, but unfortunately just as we were finishing up our blackcod fishing efforts, there was a problem with the rudder assembly, which could have left us without steering, so after a quick repair we headed straight in without fishing for halibut. Instead, we took the bait off the gear by hand, which isn't nearly as exciting, or profitable, as throwing it in the water and waiting to see what comes up!

We were all done and headed in on the evening of Tuesday, April 3. It was a short trip, indeed.


Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.

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