iThat story is part of the new anthology Hooked! True Stories of Alaska’s Commercial Fishermen and Women edited by Leslie Leyland Fields. What I liked most about these stories was the honesty of the writers: Nobody comes across as a know-it-all or preachy, and they freely admit their mistakes — which of course make for good stories. On his first time out as a skipper, Sig Hansen tells the story of dropping two lines of 20 crab pots into 400 fathoms of water that he thought was 120 fathoms because of a double echo off the fathometer (that’s $50,000 worth of pots gone forever). And Mary Jacobs admits that her bitchiness didn’t disappear with maturity.
These are stories about fishing, the good times, bad times and sometimes tragic. I think Hooked! could be helpful reading for the next generation of greenhorns as a reminder that everyone has to start somewhere. We forget this over time, but we’ve all experienced that knot of anticipation in our stomachs and sleepness nights.
On his next trip, Mike remembers being nervous that he’d end up like the greenhorn he had heard was so incompetent that the crew put him the fish hold for a couple hours then sent him to his bunk for the remaining two weeks of his trip (allowed out only to use the head).
As you can probably guess, Mike turned out all right.