Genius runs in the family
Washington fisherman documents restoration of an heirloom seiner
By Sierra Golden
Drive through the shipyard in Port Townsend, Wash., on a warm spring afternoon, and you’ll find many commercial boats standing in various states of repair, the sunlight breaking through their rigging. Yard workers and boat owners are painting, fiberglassing, rebuilding engines and installing refrigeration systems. The sounds on the radio clash and meld with the dull thumping of metal on wood as workers pound new ribs into place on an old wooden seiner.
Jason Crosby, the fifth-generation fisherman working on his own boat in this maze of a yard, takes being a Renaissance (fisher)man to a new extreme. Crosby was born in Bellingham, Wash., in 1969 and raised in Friday Harbor. Originally from Denmark, the Crosby family settled in Gig Harbor, and quickly became a successful fishing family.
Crosby and his twin brother, Chris, began fishing at 11 years old, seining Puget Sound on the Genius with their grandfather, mother and uncle. “They’d tie up at Fish Creek. At 3 o’clock in the morning, we’d go around to the Salmon Banks. Me and my twin brother, we both piled gear… we were plungers… pitching fish. You know, all the greenhorn jobs we pretty much got.” He began seining salmon in Alaska at 18 and has since fished Alaska halibut, blackcod, crab and herring, as well as Oregon sardines and California squid.