I’ve been maintaining this blog for well over a year. Do you realize that in all that time, we’ve never actually heard from the guy I write so much about, the one who makes it all happen? It’s true. Although it appears that George reads the blog, my husband has never written in with any opinion, comment, story, or otherwise.
I was able to corner George today (after chasing him around most of last week) and convince him to sit down for an interview. The following is the result of my little Question and Answer with the elusive Captain.
How do you think the 2009 Dungeness crab season went overall?
Overall, pretty poorly. It was the lowest abundance of crab in twenty years. The unusually good weather caused the crab that were there to be caught extremely quickly. By the time the price started to go up, most of the crab were already caught.
How would you like to see the upcoming halibut and blackcod longlining season go this year?
Well, I would obviously like to see it go well. We are hoping for good weather right off the bat, and we’re hoping that demand is there so that we get a decent price.
Where do you catch your halibut and blackcod?
Near Seward (Alaska).
How important is a good crew?
Very important. It’s very important because first of all, you need them to be reliable and actually be there when it’s time to go fishing. Experience is good, but most important is a crew that knows how to work.
How do you feel about your crew?
How do I feel about my crew? My crew is going to read this. I like my crew. They’re good workers, conscientious. They’re easy to be around, and they’re motivated. They’re smart. They care about taking care of the boat, and that’s important.
How often do you think about home and your family when you are at sea?
All the time.
How important is it to know the household is running well?
Mmm. Well, it’s very important. It’s a lot harder to focus on what I’m doing if I’m worried about what’s happening at home.
Do you worry about losing part of your bond with your children as a result of being gone so much?
No, I don’t worry about losing it, because they’re always happy to see me when I get home. After a few days it’s like I never left.
What do you like about being a commercial fisherman?
Independence. Of course, I love being on the water. I like that it’s capitalism in its purest form. You get out of it what you put into it most of the time. You do need to plan ahead for the years that don’t go well.
What don’t you like?
Lots of variables that you can’t control, like weather, ocean conditions, abundance, markets in some cases.
If you had not become a commercial fisherman and captain, what do you imagine you would have done otherwise?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I don’t know, maybe a home builder. I studied engineering in college but I was a long ways from getting into you know, real engineering. I did some land surveying, but it wasn’t my calling.
What kind of education did you receive for your commercial fishing career(including first mate and captain of Bering Sea vessels and owner operator of own fishing family vessel)?
Well, there was firefighting and radar certification. Sea School, which is prep classes for taking the Coast Guard exams. I have a Master of Fishing Vessels (up to 1600 tons) and Mate of Inspected Vessels (also up to 1600 tons).
Any final thoughts?
Looking forward to salmon seining this summer.