Four Thousand Hooks
A True Story of Fishing and Coming of Age on the High Seas of Alaska
By Dean Adams
University of Washington Press, 2012
Softcover, 270 pp., $16.95
One of the neat things about Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle is the Author’s Corner and Bookstore, where you can get your mitts on a wide range of books about fishing. Plus there’s seating and a special section for book signings, discussions and more.
It’s easy to see why Dean Adam’s book “Four Thousand Hooks” was featured at Pacific Marine Expo last year. Want to find out what’s on tap in the Author’s Corner this year? Just click here and scroll down for the 2013 show’s lineup.
Last year Adams was on hand to promote his new book, “Four Thousand Hooks,” a memoir of his introduction to longlining as a 15-year-old working during the summer of 1972 as a crew member aboard his uncle’s halibut schooner, the Grant. Adams offers his synopsis of the book the promotional video below.
The book is described as a coming-of-age story. But it’s more than that.
For one thing, it offers an excellent glimpse of what it’s like to go longlining on a halibut boat. Even simple tasks become complicated when you don’t have sea legs and are unaccustomed to performing your job on a rolling, pitching boat. And if you get seasick, that ratchets up the difficulty even more.
The challenges keep piling up — cleaning the fish, baiting the hooks, coiling the fishing gear; young Adams wrestles with performing his tasks correctly and quickly to keep up with the rest of the veteran crew. Perhaps the biggest challenge is handling the punishing pace of fishing for hours on end.
The tale unfolds nicely, and you keep turning pages, eager to find out whether Adams will meet those challenges. I suspect readers, especially those unfamiliar with the fishing life, will be thinking of their 15-year-old selves and wondering if they could meet all the physical, mental and emotional demands Adams faced.
It’s rewarding to see young Adams persevere and adapt to the job. It says a lot about our ability to meet extraordinary challenges, and suggests that maybe we’re all stronger and more capable than we realize. “Four Thousand Hooks,” filled with fascinating details of the fishing life, makes for awfully good reading.