National Fisherman


Early August 2006 — I swore I wasn't going to fish the Salmon Banks off of San Juan Island, Wash., this summer.

I had way too much stuff to do in my life that wasn't related to fishing, and I know that if things really need to get done shoreside, sometimes a fishery might have to be skipped altogether. My plan would enable me to get way ahead of a ton of projects I had been neglecting, but there was one aspect I did not factor into the equation: I am addicted to fishing.

I was back for less than a week before I determined the most important thing for me to do with my time was to dash off to La Conner, Wash., and get my Puget Sound gillnetter, the Satisfaction, ready to go fishing.

I drove my truck over to La Conner, and I didn't even leave a way to get it back to San Juan Island. I went right to work on the out-of-the-water projects. I installed a new transducer for the upstairs depth sounder, changed the zincs, and touched up the bottom paint.

To keep my bunk dry I changed out my leaky porthole so I wouldn't have to live with a wet sleeping bag all season long again. To keep the bilge dry, I installed a new float switch in the engine room bilge.

It took just a day to get her seaworthy and in the water, heading back to Friday Harbor. Of course the boat was still in disarray, and I figured all the smaller, non-essential projects could be fit in any time I have a spare second when I'm on the boat.

With all my traveling back and forth, leaving my truck in La Conner, getting the net loaded onto the boat, and taking extra time to get her ship-shape, I had devoted a solid three days to the get-the-boat-ready project. Right away there was an opening, which was the reason I was doing all this nonsense, and that slurped up a couple more days.

Before I knew it, a week had vaporized. This would normally be just fine, but I was supposed to be starting work on the addition to our house, and my office was so backed up on paperwork it wasn't even funny. People were calling me asking where I was and what had happened to me, befuddled at my disappearance and my neglect for the commitments I had made.

And these relatively unimportant people in my life were the least of my concerns; I had also neglected my wife in the same manner. She deserves better, I know. She understands what fishing is about, and I believe she understands better than I, my addiction to fishing.

So with the notion of taking the summer off, I was once again geared up and ready to embark on another gillnet season in the sunny San Juan Islands.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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