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.

Friday, April 28, 2006 — Our delivery was scheduled for 7 a.m. on Friday, April 28, at the Arrowac dock in Bellingham, Wash. Instead of simply enjoying the easy task of pitching off tens of thousands of pounds of halibut, I lined up a bunch of work for myself.


Longlining 2006 — Music has always been a difficult luxury to obtain on the Discovery. We have tried many different set-ups over the years, but none has proven to last. The boom-box in the galley wired to the back deck seemed to work the best, but after it got trashed, it never got replaced; today its old bracket holds the Brita water filter by the galley table. Our MO is to have an old beater boom-box and keep it out on deck.


March 30-31, 2006 — This year, I dined on one of the most fabulous meals I have indulged in in years. It was a king crab — two to be exact. They were brown king crab, caught in Chatham Sound by one of the local Sitka fishermen. He was selling them off his boat at the loading dock in the big boat harbor on the north side of town.


April 24-27, 2006 — The challenge of this run south was trying to get to Bellingham by Thursday, so we could get a slightly better price for our halibut, which would be available for the weekend market. This added urgency brought the throttle up to 1,600 rpm from the engine and many glances at the logbook to study previous years' transits. It didn't look good for us making it by Thursday at noon, but there was a slim possibility, provided we made the tide at Seymour Narrows and weren't slowed down by weather.


April 20-23, 2006 — The weather held for us the whole time we were fishing the last of our halibut quota, up until the last string, when a swift breeze picked up out of the southeast on the evening of Thursday, April 20.


April 17-20, 2006 — We arrived back in Seward on the morning of Monday, April 17. There were a few other boats that had called in ahead of us, so we had to wait until the following day to deliver the last of our Blackcod. All we had left to catch was 40,000 pounds of halibut, which we were running south to deliver in Bellingham, Wash., so we were almost done.


April 15-16, 2006 — Finally, on the morning of Saturday, April 15, the boat sailed out to go fishing. The forecast was for northwest 30 knots, so we would have it on our tail as we ran out to the grounds, then it called for a one-day break in the weather, on which we could catch the remainder of our blackcod.


April 13-14, 2006 — Thursday, April 13, found us laying in Seward waiting for the weather to improve. Had the forecast not been calling for 30 to 50 knots outside, we would have been running out to the blackcod grounds, but instead we were tied to the dock. We baited the remainder of the gear, which provided a fair bit of toil, but we were all feeling quite idle. We went out to dinner at Ray's, a pretty nice spot, and Roald treated us to a fancy meal, restaurant style.


April 8-12, 2006 — The run out to the grounds was flat calm when we traveled out of Resurrection Bay and beyond on the late morning/early afternoon of Saturday, April 8. But by the time dinner was served, the weather had fermented into a rancid buck, which really threw my galley into a loop.


March 30-April 8, 2006 — We left Sitka around 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 30. The run across the gulf started out flat calm, but soon developed into the familiar Discovery roll. Luckily the swell was on our stern quarter so we weren't bucking; but it was still a pain being tossed around the bait house when we were baiting up our halibut gear.


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The National Working Waterfront Network is now accepting abstracts and session proposals for the next National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Tampa, Fla. The deadline is Tax Day, April 15.

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