"There’s never a dull moment around here,” says Matt Hamilton, Quality/Project manager at Fred Wahl Marine Construction after going over the list of boats currently in for repairs and alterations at the Reedsport, Ore., boatyard. The list includes sponsoning and lengthening, a near total restoration, some bottom-plate work, a repower, a new build, and a yacht or expedition-style pleasure craft, as it has been called, that has probably never been near crab pots but will soon be hauling them.

The Dynamik is one of the boats being sponsoned and lengthened. She’s a crabber and shrimper that works the fishing grounds off California, Oregon and Washington. When the Dynamik arrived at Fred Wahl Marine Construction, she measured 66' 6" x 22' 7". She’ll go back in the water at 71' 6" x 30' 10".

Lengthening and sponsoning the Dynamik accomplishes several things: Stability was improved, more fuel capacity gained and the fish hold’s capacity was increased.

The second sponsoning and lengthening involved the Taryn Rose, a Reedsport crabber and longliner, which went from 49' 5" x 15' to 56' 6" x 22' 6". The added length was obtained with the addition of a new stern. The Taryn Rose also gained a new upper pilothouse. She was previously known as the Lillie M but was renamed with the middle names of the owner’s two daughters.

The 98' 1" x 32' 4" crabber Keta came down from Sand Point, Alaska, to gain some length and for a major restoration from the engine room aft. The engine room was gutted and the hull aft of the engine room bulkhead cut off and sent to the scrap heap. Now there’s a new refrigeration system, circulation pumps and a new main engine, a 1,100-hp Mitsubishi. The new stern section stretches the Keta out to 123 feet. That allowed the fish hold capacity to be expanded to 10,000 cubic feet and the fuel carrying capacity to top out at 41,000 gallons.

The only new fishing boat being built at Fred Wahl Marine Construction is a 58' x 30' spec boat with a bulbous bow. In early October the hull and wheelhouse had been plated and were ready to be painted. It would make a good combination seiner and crabber or longliner, says Hamilton.

When the 70' x 23' Georgia Lee, out of Ketchikan, Alaska, was hauled out on the boatyard’s travel lift, you never would have mistaken her for a fishing boat, not with a very large aluminum cabin taking up the aft deck. It contained two staterooms and on top of the cabin was a helicopter landing pad. At that point the Georgia Lee was a charter boat working in the Pacific Northwest.

The aluminum cabin and helicopter pad? “All that’s coming off,” says Hamilton. In its place will be a working deck with a picking boom and crab block, and below deck will be two floodable fish holds. When the Georgia Lee leaves Reedsport, the Pacific Northwest’s squid, crab and tendering fleets will have a new member.

The 165-foot tender Aquila was in for some new bottom plating and will then be stored until spring. The 68' 6" x 30' 2 1/2" Wynona J, a crabber and shrimper out of Newport, Ore., was due for arrival in late October for a repowering. 

Aliotti Enterprises in Bellingham, Wash., is building three Bristol Bay gillnetters. Two are being built on spec and one is taken. That’s going to Tom Aliotti, the boatshop’s owner, who has fished Bristol Bay for over 30 years. Every year he takes one of his shop’s new boats to Bristol Bay, fishes out the season, then puts the gillnetter up for sale. (Last season’s gillnetter is still available, says Aliotti.)

Three gillnetters under construction at Aliotti Enterprises will be almost carbon copies of the Anna Maria, shown here in a 2019 photo. Aliotti Enterprises photo.

Aliotti appears to have settled on a design that started in 2019 with the Anna Maria and the North Coast, two 32' x 15' 6" gillnetters whose lines are being followed for the three gillnetters currently under construction, as they were for the four gillnetters built for the 2020 season. A few minor changes have been made mostly in widening the tophouse by 8 inches.

The house-forward design features a pair of 500-hp FPT EVO engines matched up to UltraJet 340HT waterjets. Aliotti says the FPT and UltraJet combination gets the gillnetter on step with 10,000 pounds aboard while running at 25 knots.

Thirteen fish holds pack a total of 24,000 pounds. The salmon are kept chilled with Pacific West Refrigeration 10-ton RSW systems. These are keel-cooled units, which allows the boats to fish in shallow, sandy conditions.

Gillnetters aren’t the only boats Aliotti Enterprises is building. There’s also a pair of 24' x 10' pusher boats for British Petroleum that will be used to move oil booms around.

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Michael Crowley is the former Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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