National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.





Living to Fish, Fishing to Live

Life and Trials of Fishing Fever in Alaska

By Dennis Sperl

Ensign Group International, 2011

Softcover, 404 pp., $12.95

Exploring the 'fishing fever' phenomenon

"This book tries to explain the fishing fever phenomenon by examples of how the infection gets into one's blood," writes Dennis Sperl, a Petersburg, Alaska, fisherman in "Living to Fish, Fishing to Live". His book's stories and poems, Sperl writes, offer examples of "a life-long affliction that has no cure."

Sperl, 68, who fishes for salmon, halibut and shrimp on his wooden 58-footer, the Saga, caught the fishing fever as a youngster. On the book's back cover, Larry Lindstrom tells a story that illustrates how the fever still grips Sperl, whom we profile in the upcoming June issue of NF.

Lindstrom writes that once in the middle of a shrimp trawl, he asked Sperl if the excitement and anticipation of pulling in a net full of shrimp or hauling in a line full of salmon or halibut ever lessens with time.

"As we awaited the beam trawl to break the surface," Lindstrom writes, "he said, 'It might, but I have only been doing this for 50 years, so I'm not sure.' (His huge smile and pumping fist when he saw a good haul of shrimp in the net, proved that 50 years of experiences did not dampen his enthusiasm.)"

I'm betting all commercial fishermen can relate. Ultimately, Sperl's stories and poems illustrate the concept of loving what you do. You become so completely absorbed in what you're doing, hours pass and you hardly notice. And like Dennis Sperl, commercial fishermen are truly, fully, madly, deeply in love with their craft.

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.

Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
U.S. Canada Other

Postal/ Zip Code
© 2015 Diversified Business Communications
Diversified Business Communications