Archive for National Fisherman – Page 2

It All Began with a Boat Building Story…

On December 16 a few years back, I traveled to Reedsport, Oregon to pay a visit to Fred Wahl Marine Construction. I was sent by Michael Crowley, the Boats and Gear Editor at National Fisherman magazine, to take pictures and conduct interviews for a feature story on a brand new, $2.5 million longline fishing vessel (Shemya).

Now, looking back, I’d guess that Fred Wahl and Mike Lee were not too pleased to have a young gal sporting lip gloss and long hair walk through their gates to write such an important boat building story! I will always be grateful to them for showing kindness and patience as I did my best to ask the right questions (coached the night before over the telephone by my dad).

I am also grateful to Fred and Mike for something else—just a little something—for introducing me to my husband, George. That’s right!  George was the Shemya partner and captain on the yard that day, and it was he that Fred walked me across the gloriously stormy and blustery yard over to the dock to meet.

George and I look forward to seeing Fred and Mike each year at Pacific Marine Expo. After missing a couple of Expos for reasons of pregnancies, crab seasons, and newborns, we finally made it back this year. We were pushing Eva and Vincent in the double stroller when we heard our names being called. We turned around and to our wonderful surprise, there was Fred, Mike, and Fred’s beautiful wife smiling and waving us over.

Thanks, Fred and Mike: I can’t speak for George (ha ha) but that day I spent in Reedsport at Fred Wahl Marine Construction was one of the most magical of my life. I’m so glad that Jerry Fraser and Mike Crowley at National Fisherman sent me on the story with full confidence that I could pull it off.

Here are two pictures of the Fred Wahl Marine Construction booth at Pacific Marine Expo 2008 (I didn’t notice the official Expo sign prohibiting photographs until we were leaving!):





Commercial Fishing: A Recession-Proof Job

My sister sent me this link to an article she found in the MSN Money Blog. The article, called Smart Spending, ranks commercial fishing as #4 in its list of “Best Recesssion-proof Jobs.”

I was pretty excited to follow the link and read that commercial fishing made the cut because, as the article states, demand for fish is increasing in the U.S. even as foreign supply is declining.

My family enjoyed a debate over this statement during Thanksgiving weekend (followed closely by another lively discussion regarding the Oregon and Washington Dungeness crab fleets. Is this the usual kind of Thanksgiving chit chat that goes on in households when both fishermen and buyers are in attendance?).

Speaking of crabbers, I’ve been eager to let you know about a letter in the December issue of National Fisherman magazine that was written by a California fisherman named Jason Woods. It is one of the most thoughtful and original letters to National Fisherman I’ve read.

After I finished Jason’s letter, I folded down the corner of the page as a reminder for George to read. As usual, though, George was one step ahead of me.

“Keep that issue of NF,” he said. “I’m taking it to the boat.”

“Did you see that guy’s letter?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “I want the crew to read it.”

We liked the letter very much because it cast a positive light on the commercial fishing industry and on Woods’s own fishing career, and gave solid advice on how to be a successful fisherman in 2008.  My attention was captured in particular by the following statement:

“…I believe it is as possible now as ever to enjoy a career in America’s fisheries.”

Woods goes on to write about how his fishing helped put his wife through both the University of Southern California and University of California at Santa Barbara, to drive decent vehicles, operate seaworthy vessels, buy a home, and adopt a toddler.

He writes about the importance of a fisherman making time for his family, developing a business plan, maintaining a good PR image, doing the boat’s paperwork, having a better handle on the law than the guys enforcing it, performing boat safety drills with crew “no matter how corny it feels,” and maintaining one’s boat.

The above are some of the highlights of Jason’s letter, but paraphrasing can’t really do it justice. His thoughtful words are worth going out to get the December issue, if you don’t already have a copy.

See You at Fish Expo!

I can’t believe the week of Fish Expo has already arrived. And yes, I do know that Fish Expo had its name changed to Pacific Marine Expo a few years ago, and that it is now held at the Qwest Field Event Center, not the Convention Center. 

I have the fondest of memories of the grand event, though, and it will always be Fish Expo to me. I attended the National Fisherman-sponsored Expo with my family as a child in the 80s, and then went back in my mid-twenties for a few years as a writer for National Fisherman and the Show Daily. The fun I had attending the information sessions, networking, socializing, walking up and down the aisles of exhibits and vendors, and getting in line for Spike Walker book signings was unparalleled.

Anyway, here is information on Pacific Marine Expo, copied from the Fishlink Sublegals newsletter:

PACIFIC MARINE EXPO: Pacific Marine Expo is the largest commercial marine tradeshow on the West Coast. Serving all aspects of the market, including commercial vessels owners, commercial fishermen, boatbuilders and seafood processors, this annual event covers it all. The event will take place from 20 to 22 November at the Qwest Field Event Center in Seattle, Washington. For more information or to purchase tickets go to

See you there!

November Issue of National Fisherman

We received the November issue of National Fisherman magazine in the mail a couple of days ago. I set it aside on the dining room table so that I could read the article headlined on the cover, “Alaska Perspective: The Importance of Sarah Palin,” a short article written by NF’s North Pacific bureau chief.

Also of interest inside this month’s issue was an anti-Palin letter from a Homer, Alaska resident and a short article on Pebble Mine.

After setting the magazine on the table, I proceeded to get distracted each time I went by intending to pick it up and read the articles. Sippy cups, milk spills, bits of toast on the floor, bills, and searching for a misplaced check (my own, actually, from teaching Jazzercise) kept distracting me from my mission.

By the time Eva and Vincent were settled in for their naps and George had found my check, I went to the table to get the magazine. It wasn’t there! I went into the family room. There it was—on the couch in the hands of George himself, who was just sitting down to read it. I explained the urgency of my mission and took the magazine from a protesting George.

Last week, I asked Jerry Fraser, the editor of National Fisherman, what he thought of Palin. I did not ask for or receive permission to re-print our correspondence here, but it was interesting and not completely out of line with the majority of what I’ve been hearing from the commercial fishing community.

In totally unrelated news, a few years ago I bought the most recent “greatest hits” album by country artist Tim McGraw. When I listened to it, however, I felt it was missing a lot of recent hits. I wondered where those particular hits were and why they weren’t on the album.

Today, I bought the newly-released “Tim McGraw Greatest Hits 3” album and am happy to report that all of the “missing hits” are on it, including my personal favorites “Unbroken” and the duet “Angry All The Time.”