Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fishes & Dishes Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fisherperson, Cook or Armchair Adventurer in Your Life

The holiday season is upon us.  Have you been good?  I have been....more/less.  As good as a fisherman can possibly be anyhow.

In case you haven't finished your holiday shopping for that salty dawg in your life, fellow bloggers and fishermen from the F/V Savage have made a must have gift list!  I had to share.  My favorite is bronze Octopus tentacle ring (size 6, PO Box 1135 Cordova, AK 99574).  

Here is the link to Fishes & Dishes site:

These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things...

Fishes & Dishes Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fisherperson, Cook or Armchair Adventurer in Your Life.

Happy Holidays from Fishes & Dishes!

Alaska Weathervane Scallops & Apron

Give the cook in your life one of these thick and sturdy aprons ($23 )emblazoned with an Alaska Weathervane Scallop, the best in the world! If they'v been very good, and feed you often, treat them to a box of Weathervanes too ($105-120), which come in 4 convenient 1- pound blocks to a box.

Klawock Oceanside Smoked Salmon Gift Box

Klawock Oceanside is a family run business, and Mary Lang is one of the contributors to Fishes and Dishes (The Chain Locker). The salmon they buy in the Alaskan summer is turned into some of the best smoked salmon you’ll ever taste. This beautiful, limited edition wooden gift box is sure to please anyone on your gift list. Filled with 3 cans of Sockeye, 2 cans of Coho, a can opener, crackers and two birch forks, it's a steal ($52), and shipping is included!

They also have 3 packs of Salmon nicely gift wrapped in cellophane and topped with a bow ($24) (contains 1 can Sockeye, 1 can King and 1 can Coho).

Crab Casserole

Mussels and More Mussel Bowl

Beautiful Alaska seafood deserves a proper presentation. These beautiful 9”, high-fired stoneware crab casseroles($68) from potter Jeff Tinius are perfect for serving up your favorite seafood dish or chowder. Available in four colors from Annie Kaills in Juneau.

The mussel bowl ($58)from Mussels and More is perfect for serving up Mussels with Cider and Bacon (from the Fishes & Dishes cookbook). Replete with barnacles on the bottom of the bowl, this is a beautiful piece and available at many stores throughout Alaska and the Pacific NW as well as online. Click here for store locations.

Salmon Sisters Anchor Leggings and AK Marine Hoodie
These two hardworking fishing sisters out of Sand Point, Alaska are the brains and creative talent behind Salmon Sisters’ awesome fishing inspired clothing. Pick up a pair of their lusciously thick and soft Anchor Leggings -for her ($38), printed with a sassy white anchor, or an AK Marine hoodie -for him ($45) emblazoned with a fishing boat and “Our Oceans, Our Lifestyle’ on the back. 10% of each sale of the hoodie goes directly to the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC).

Ray Troll Gear

Ray Troll is an Alaskan treasure, and his witty artwork graces t-shirts worn by cool people everywhere. Pick up a T, Hoodie, poster or book from Soho Coho (prices vary) and you'll be sure to please any of the people on your Nice list!

La Lune Jewel Anchor Cuff

We are coveting this hand hammered and etched anchor cuff ($50) by La Lune Jewel, made by a Seattle artist and daughter of a SE Alaskan Marine Pilot. 

Moon Raven Design Octopus Ring

We love all things octopus, and especially love this bronze Octopus tentacle ring ($59) from Moon Raven Design out of Victoria, BC. Made to order in any size from 5 up to 13.5 for the Octopodidae lover in your life.
 I never take mine off.

Chinook And Company's Sockeye Fish Oil

Stay healthy and take your fish oil! Chinook and Company’s 100% pure, natural Alaska Sockeye salmon oil capsules provide vital Omega 3's and other essential fatty acids. ($18.95). Sustainably harvested in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Alaska Distillery Smoked Salmon Vodka

What to drink with that smoked salmon frittata? How about a Bloody Mary made with Alaska Distillery Smoked Salmon Vodka ($35.99)

Fish-Work: The Bering Sea by Corey Arnold
Chosen as one of the best photo books of the year by PDN and American PHOTO magazine when it came out, Fish-Work: The Bering Sea ($65)  by fisherman and photographer Corey Arnold brilliantly captures the stark beauty and harsh reality of working as a crabber on the Bering Sea. Signed copies of Fish-Work: The Bering Sea are available directly from the artist.

Alaska Blues by Joe Upton

Alaska Blues ($15.95by Bainbridge Island author Joe Upton is an award winning memoir of a season of trolling in SE Alaska. Here’s what David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars, had to say about it“…A beautifully written book about commercial fishing in coastal waters. Joe Upton delivers both the reality and romance of Southeast Alaska.” I couldn't have said it better myself.

Working On the Edge:Surving in the World's Most Dangerous Profession: King Crab Fishing on Alaska's High Seas by Spike Walker

Before the Deadliest Catch, there was Spike Walker and this now classic memoir. Working on the Edge ($15.95exposed the harsh conditions and incredible dangers and unique culture of crab fishing on the Bering sea. If you know a Deadliest Catch fan, then this is a perfect book for them.

Happy Holidays!
Coho-HO HO!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

National Fisherman's 2013 Crew Shots

National Fisherman's annual crew shots is out!  Check it out to see if there is anyone you recognize!

Check out the link here: National Fishermen's Crew Shots, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Katmai National Park

Every now and again when you are out fishing you have to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.  So when I got the chance to fly out to Katmai National Park this past summer while I was gillnetting in Bristol Bay, I jumped at it.  From King Salmon, Katmai is only a 20 minute float plane ride away.  You can fly out there for the day, stay the night in an (overpriced) lodge or you can camp.  Camp with all those bear, are you crazy?  Don't worry, there is an electric fence around the camp ground.  Besides, with all this delicious salmon around you think these bears want to nibble on you?  Granted, it is unsettling to be so close to so many bears.  Grizzly bears, none the less.   This sure wouldn't happen in other parts around Alaska.  But out at Brook's Falls, in the heart of Katmai, food is in such abundance, these bears are happily satiated on sockeye salmon.   Which is also the reason you see so many together in such a small area.  Lets take a look.

Brook's Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska

Bears waiting for sockeye salmon

They wade in the water, catching salmon, occasionally

Look at this old guy.  See how little his ears look?  He's BIG!

Grandpa bear

Someone got lucky!

Yummy wild Alaskan salmon

Gut salmon?

Dur...I thought I saw one..

I got one!  I got one!!


Hold my calls Roy, I'm busy

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Scenes from the 2013 season

watchin' corks

steering station

Fishermen's bible aka tidebood

the fleet heading to the Copper River Flats, Cordova

Fog. This is actually a color photo!

Who me? Otter in the Harbor

Sunset Copper River Flats
Sitting on anchor

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Anglo American pulls out of  Pebble Mine!  What does that mean?  Basically, Anglo American,  the company with the deep pockets is bailing out of the project because the proposed mine is "too risky".   Ya think?  You think putting the world's largest open pit mine at the headwaters of the world's largest wild salmon run is too risky?  I'm glad they finally see it my way.  And the way of 654,000 other folks who signed the EPA comment petition to protect the Bristol Bay Watershed. (

Anyway, you can read all about it right here: or here:

Looks like if enough of us little folk speak loud enough, we can make a difference!  Good job everyone who helped make a stink about all this!  Lets just hope this is the beginning of the end. And what would I have to say to Pebble Mine?  Just what the skipper of the Bristol Bay gillnetter Licka-D-Split would say, "Don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you".

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My ass took a beating in Bristol Bay

Literally.  I've never been so beat up before in my life.  But 5 weeks aboard the Fischer and my ass was black and blue.  And I wasn't the only one who got beat up by Bristol Bay, fellow crew member Steve took his fair share.  Hell, even the boat took an ass beating.

If memory serves, the boat was the first to get it.  We had been fishing free week in Egegik, that week where you don't have to drop a card to change districts, you can freely fish any river system you want.  After a hard days work fishing, the line to deliver at the tender was super long so we dropped the pick to wait it out.  Skipper figured we might as well have a little dinner, then go deliver.  We were on anchor all of 3.2 seconds when our buddy Clayton buzzed by.  Clayton, being Clayton, ran right past us, on step, going some 30 knots and close enough that we probably could have hi-fived him. 

I was standing in the galley, making up the coffee for the next morning.  All the sudden, I heard a loud crash noise, the boat lurched forward and I flew back against the galley door.  Got the door handle right in the shoulder blade.  After bouncing off the door handle, I fell so quickly against the step leading to the door, I didn't even have time to catch myself.  I sat there a split second, totally stunned and wondered what the hell just happened.  I looked at the skipper.  What the hell was that?
He shrugged and we both ran out on deck. 

Turns out, what that was was a boat ran into our stern.  A 32' fiberglass boat, ( I don't want to name names, but ah.... Eskimo Viking) with metal plates on his bow,  evidently for ramming, and quite effective, I might add,  going 10 knots packing 5,000 pounds or so of fish packs quite a punch.  He hit like a ball ping hammer only on a much, much, larger scale.  WHAM!

At first, he tried to blame us. 

EV:You must have stopped suddenly right in front of me.  

Skipper:  I'm on fuckin' anchor! You dumb #*&@"#%$!!!

EV: Oh, oh.  Sorry.  Uh, the sun was in my eyes.

Wanna see the damage?

The damaged rail from the Eskimo Viking

I kind of liked that rail after that.  I was always on the starboard side and the bent rail made a nice little seat for me, complete with back rest.  Hey skipper, can you just leave that for me?

Nothing a little splash zone didn't fix.

Skipper just cut off that flap with a sawzall, bolted an old buoy over it and sealed 'er with splash zone.
But remember I said my arse  also took a beating during all this?  Even 10 days after the fact, still looks a bit nasty.


It was all down hill from there.  Steve, aka Hollywood, who flew out to fish the peak of the season, got on board and immediately fell into the laz (lazarette).  Sean had left the hatch open, announced that the hatch was open, then went to the bow to tie up the boat as we were landing.  Steve went to tie up the stern but ended up in the laz instead.  He managed to scrape every bit of himself from his shins to his armpit before, luckily, landing on the 5 gallon bucket of hydraulic fluid that was strategically placed.  Otherwise, he would have fallen yet another 2 feet.  That's ok Steve, I'll get the stern line.  And, oh, by the way Steve, the laz is open.

Steve's laz ride

In an effort to keep this blog somewhat PG rated, photos of my other bruises won't be shown.  But, suffice to say, they were just as pretty.  After getting rammed, I fell into the fish hold for the first time in my career.  Fortunately, it was full of fish.  After that, I was flung from my seat at the galley table, over the little wooden ledge that hold the seat cushions in place, and across the galley.  And finally, just when I thought my ass beatings were over, I mean, we were tied up to the dock at the end of the season getting ready to get pulled out the next day.  The season was over, what else could happen?  Yeah, my foot slipped on the top step and I fell into our 6' deep fo's'cle.   Lets just say that comparatively, that first bruise looked like child's play.  And that concludes the ass beating portion of Bristol Bay 2013. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Bristol Bay Report

At last!  Photo highlights from my Bristol Bay season aboard the f/v Fischer.  The last you heard from me I was heading west to gillnet Bristol Bay back in June.  Admittedly, I know there has been radio silence from me for some time, my apologies.   I've been back from the Bay for a few weeks now but was off on my next venture already, without time to write or internet connection.  I have been gearing up to write a post but dragging my anchor on it.  However, today I ran into my buddy Dan at Costco and he guilted me into submission and told me I need to update my blog.  So here ya go, the Bristol Bay report.

I had a good season. We fished Naknek and Egegik.  The weather was (mostly) nice, the crew was (mostly) nice, (OK, that's a lie, but I'm trying to be nice, more scuttlebutt on that later), the skipper had his shit together, and though there weren't a ton of fish around, we managed to scrape up a few.  The price had jumped from $1.00 a pound last year to $1.50 a pound, so that helped.   Shoots, last time I fished out there, back in 2006, it was .70 cents a pound, so I can't complain. Really, I can't complain,  I signed a waiver.  Haha, just kidding.  Actually, there wasn't much to complain about, I had a blast out there! We'll, I can find a few things to complain about, but I'll have to fill you in bit by bit, otherwise, we'll be swamped.  So I'll start by showing you the boat I was on and introducing you to most of the crew.  Without further ado, the f/v Fischer.

f/v Fischer, just slightly out of the channel

As you can see here, going dry is a common occurrence out in the Bay, too.  We were running in after an opener and missed the channel, just slightly, by about 20 feet.  Skipper said he knew it was around here somewhere. So close.... It was blowing about 40 out and kind of lumpy, so being on solid ground was a nice treat.  Until we had some mending to do.   Dry or not, mending gear in a gale is no fun.  But, I digress. Enjoy the photos and my little video.  Its my first attempt at downloading a vid, I hope it works.

Fischer, who the boat is named after

Fischer and his dad, Kelly, the skipper

myself and Sean, the other deckhand

This is the first of my Bay report.  More to dribble in soon.  Until then, go slime a salmon!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Goin' salmon fishing in Bristol Bay

What day is it anyhow?

Well, it must be either Tuesday or Friday because fishing just closed on the Copper River Flats after a 24-hour period.  It’s been tricky the past few weeks trying to figure out what day it is because commercial fishing was closed for 2 weeks while fish & game waited for the escapement numbers to go up, which they did.  Fish have been coming into the river like gangbusters the past few days, exceeding escapement by the tens of thousands.

At least when the fleet is fishing 2 openers a week I can guess a few of the days.  If guys are heading out to fish, its either Wednesday or Sunday.  If they are out fishing, its either Monday or Thursday.  If they just got back, its either Tuesday or Friday.  Saturday is always a crapshoot.   I almost ripped my arm off the other day trying to deposit a check at the bank on a Saturday.   I could have sworn it was a weekday, I mean, five out of seven days a week are, right?  That’s pretty good odds.  But when I pulled on that locked door, well, I figured it out on the second tug.

Being that we here in Alaska and are approaching the solstice, we have near 24 hours of daylight.  So guessing the time gets tricky, too.  I see the time on bank clock downtown and have to wonder if its 10:30 am or pm.  I don’t wear a watch. Besides, the watch I do own is an old school Swiss Army dial style, so that wouldn’t help anyhow.

Nonetheless, I do actually know what today is, I don’t know the date but I know it’s the day I drive my car on the ferry to Whittier, about a three and half hour ferry ride across Prince William Sound.  From there, I drive through the Whittier tunnel that goes 2.2 miles under the mountain.  I drive about an hour and half to Anchorage where I catch about an hour flight to King Salmon, Alaska.  From there, it’s a short 11 mile cab ride to Naknek, where my next job awaits.  A fishing vessel called the Fischer.  After we launch, it’s about a 4 hour run to Egegik, the river where we’ll be commercially fishing for sockeye salmon for the next five weeks.  Being that fishing has been my way of life for almost 20 years now, these kinds of commutes never even dawn on me.  But as my Dad pointed out to me when I called him from the ferry terminal this morning to tell him I’ll be out of contact until the end of July, he frankly stated, “that’s more transportation than I’ve ever taken for a job”.  Probably so.

Until then, good fishin’ and I’ll catch ya on the flip side. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Screwy start to the season

It's been a crazy start to the season.  The season opened with 50 knots of wind and 15 foot seas.  A lot of guys sat it out and I don't blame them.  I got to go out on the second opener.  The weather was about as nice as it gets out there.  I even got photos to prove it.  The third opener was cancelled because not enough fish were going up the river.  The fourth was epic with over 500,000 fish caught. That's a record amount for a 12 hour period.  We have yet to have a fifth opener, it was closed Thursday and will be closed again tomorrow.  Its stand by to stand by for now with daily announcements.  Fish are starting heading up the river now, but Fish and Game wants to see a few more click by the counter before they let us take a whack at them.  I just hope they don't make us wait too long and we miss them!

There are photos form last Monday's commercial opener.  Enjoy!

Gillnet reel

boats in the harbor

f/v Black Bird

sunset on the anchor

sunset in the Grass Island anchorage

the net off, filing with fish (hopefully)

f/v Star Thrower