National Fisherman has a surprise for its readers this month.
Spike Walker, writer of the famous book on commercial fishing in the Bering Sea, Working on the Edge, has written a new story entitled Staying Alive. Part one of the story is published inside the current issue of the magazine, with the conclusion set to be published in next month’s issue.
The true tale centers around an Ilwaco, WA commercial fisherman’s horrific struggle at the mouth of the intimidating Columbia River during the winter Dungeness crab season of 1980.
This is a story I couldn’t wait to read because it is written by Spike and because I am so familiar with all of the locations he so beautifully writes about in the set-up to the piece (it is the most well-written lead-in to a story I’ve read in a while–he perfectly captures the setting, the family at the center of the story, and the fishery).
My husband is, of course, a commercial Dungeness crab fisherman in the area, and we spend a lot–make that a quite a lot–of time on the Washington and Oregon coasts. I consider Long Beach, Ilwaco, and Astoria (and actually, even Westport) my favorite stomping grounds for both work and play.
I met the impressive Spike Walker on two occasions; once at Fish Expo in Seattle a few years ago, where he signed my copy of another of his books, Coming Back Alive, and at the Fisher Poets Festival in Astoria, Oregon, where he was kind enough to give an essay of mine a read and some feedback. I also had the pleasure of interviewing him for a story I wrote for National Fisherman about the infamous Elbow Room bar in Dutch Harbor (which I believe has now closed its doors).
In addition, Jerry Fraser, editor of National Fisherman, writes a nice introduction to Spike’s latest story in the front of the magazine. So, go get your copy, because you are in for a treat this month (and next).