Any Commercial Fishermen on here imported to the Merchant Marine?

I have been Working as a Merchant Mariner for a little over a year. Before this I was an owner/operator of a commercial fishing business in Maine. I would be interested in just shooting the breeze with anyone who has or is contemplating a similar move. My first love is still fishing. Fishing gave us a very good life for many years. Now, however, fishing is changing and we decided to move on. It took several years and much anguish for us to come this decision though.

I left comm. fish in 2005. And so far, have no regrets. The operating costs, loss of competetive buying in Alaska made this decision easy. Others did same, some permanently, some return to catch when they can.
I will return someday, but for fun and the great food part of it, no stress.
Commercial fishing was great for the thrill and freedom and remains that way for a few. Just not everyone anymore. It is hard to stay satisfied with all the changes and dwindling returns for most.
To sail deep-sea has been a welcome change, never as exciting, but twice as secure. And great people, mostly.

I came from a salmon fishing family and was out working with my dad on his boat when I was ten. I saw how hard it was for him though and made the choice not to become a commercial fisherman and instead went merchant marine. Still after 25 years of sailing, salmon fishing is still right there in my blood however and I would love to own a troller some day in my retirement.

Anyway seacomber, where did you fish up north and what did you fish for?

I started too at 10 w/ my father trolling in S.E., he towed my 14’ skiff when I wasn’t handlining halibut and sport fishing king salmon. Then after the pipeline, bought a troller. I sold out for a seine salmon permit and ran a company boat before I leased and bought into two 58’s. Anyway, I fished Kodiak for Pacific Cod with jigging machines, Togiak and Sitka sac-roe herring with seines, longlined Gulf of Alaska halibut and black cod, Aleutian Is., crab and cod as deckhand, Yakutat & S.E. AK., rockfish, and Alaska-Washington-California Spot Prawns, fresh, frozen and live.

c.captain, I think your desire and unending yearn to return to trolling salmon is a good one. Trolling salmon is a viable fishery yet, those troll caught salmon are the best.

Man, you covered the whole darned coast…I am impressed

I fished with my dad for Fraser River reds in the Straits and then occasionally Fall Silvers and Kings on weekends in the Sound (if there was an opening). George Boldt put him outta business fishing and he went to tugs after that.

Later when I got my license, I was a mate & then master on crab and salmon processors for about 8 years. Last year in fisheries was 1994. Really didn’t look back but I miss going north…the damn Gulf of Mexico is such a physically nothing place. Hell Dutch Harbor is a paradise compared to Fouchon.

This is the trollerI want to buy but I still would need a SE power troll permit to go with her to be viable as a salmon troller. Oregon and California are history and I don’t believe Washington would be worth trying.

[LEFT]Being a freezerboat with a thrifty Gardner for power how viable is she for Albacore tuna and is it even worth it these days? [/LEFT]

I like the Tradewind, nice lines. And the Gardner seems to be a popular choice with the B.C., fleets, who I respect for their innovative designs, open friendliness and unselfish advise. They have led the way when it comes to salmon and albacore trolling and also freezing-at-sea.
I cannot speak with alot of knowledge toward the viability of albacore trolling, but I do know that frozen-at-sea is preferred for its unrestrictive trip limits, better profit, say compared to day or ice fishing. I also know that the albacore swing in closer to the BC and PNW shores Aug-Oct.
Albacore fishing can be tiresome, sitting offshore in a NW for days can get old, plus bar crossings in Wa.Or.Ca. coast are the only refuge. Unless you go to Neah Bay or Bellingham.
Many trollers from the West Coast have moved their fishing to S.E. Alaska. You were right, they have lost their salmon season, however, after that season, I do not know how many of them return south for tuna.
I never thought I would hear Dutch is a paradise, but if you told me I would be out of fishing 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that was possible either. Thanks for the tip.

Is the Glass Door still open for business in Yakutat??

injunear, former deckhand said it was in 06. I was never in there.

sure is nice to be at home each night with the family.i’m looking to try my hand at a little part time seagoing.I don’t know yet how you professional mariners feel about that as we really don’t like part timers in the lobster business.This fishery is about to get undone by the federal government with all their whale b.s. regulations and trap limits.I’ll keep at it as i own it.But a little seasonal offshore work will be great if that comes back…

It’s good to hear similar experiences. I started out when I was 10 as well (being a nuisance to my father and his deckhands mostly) and he couldn’t get rid of me. I never thought I would do anything other than fish. Most of my life was spent dragging in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank area. I have lobstered and did some mid-water trawling but for the most part I was a draggerman. I have two boys and neither of them wanted to go fishing, (both of them work down here in the GOM) Up in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank fishing has become more an exercise in politics than it is fishing. I used to think that being part the process made a difference and for ten years or so we fought that battle. Now it’s more about how, “Green”, we can be, so it’s a little difficult to swallow the whole mess. I do miss the fishing though, for me life just didn’t get any better when you hauled back and had a big old bag of fish.

and likewise a nice bursting trap of bugs is pretty,the price went to $2.30 per lb last season in october,prime time and that just about broke our backs.making as much per week as we were used to making daily,and with the price of everything associated w/running a boat,it’s been a long cold snowy winter up here,and does the wind blow out on this island.I’ve only been lobstering for 20 years now and did a little when i was in high school,but went navy for a few years.rain snow mix here on vh this am.finallly getting a break in cold weather.guess i’ll have to wait until after this season to get my bst and try to break into the…

Arbus,are you going to the Forum this year?

i guess not,i went last year and had to listen to the feds tell us about sinking ropeand the exclusion line that goes thru penobscot bay,and the rockyest bottom on earth that will cost us $$$in lost gear.enought of that crap!!!Man on top of everything else,no wonder i’m looking elsewhere,we own a home in rockland also and spend alot of my off season there and call it home so living on the island can be a deduction and the boy can attend school of our choice over there for now.another year like this and who knows who will be left on the island or in the lobster no i guess i’m not going to the forum,but who knows we may go back tomorrow.5 ferries a day now come and go.state run boats.500 ton capt’s on under 100 ton boats,state must have some time off??You in maine?arbus…

I grew to hate the forum as well, same deal. “This is what we are going to do to you this year”. I’m in LA now, will be home the end of March.

I remember the first time I stepped onto a shrimp boat like it was yesterday but it was 1978. I loved everything about it except the pay. I didn’t make any money that year but saw lots of interesting things like five foot “Sea Snakes” slithering out from the tail bags and sending this newbie running for some higher deck. After one too many seven day trips and making only $125.00 an old salt recommended I go to the oil fields in LA (said I could make [B]$100 A DAY[/B]) so I told the Mrs. that I was going to LA to make some big money. I got myself hired on with Nolty J Theriot as an OS at $36 a day + $4 day bonus. I got my first big break when the mate found out I knew how to use Loran A. When the company gave him his own boat he ask me to be his mate. I like shrimping for the fun of it but like the famous Forrest Gump said “Shrimping is Hard”:smiley:

I hear you on the “shrimping is hard.” The same with groundfishing up north. One day you’re a hero, the next you’re a zero. For a long time it always seemed to average out. It made for a hell of a ride though.

What is ground fishing?

Similar to shrimping down here, but instead of towing multiple otter trawls we tow one single net, on the bottom. The net is as large as we can make it with the power configuration of the vessel. The species that we catch are: Haddock, Cod, flounders, Monkfish, (AKA Anglerfish) Pollack, Hake, shrimp. We have to use a finfish excluder device in our shrimp net, same as a TED, but with closer bar spacing in the grate. We cannot land 1 pound of any other species with our shrimp and the grate for us works pretty well.