June 6-7, 2006 fishing

After several days of hard rain, the water was very
murky at the outlet of the Taku River where we were
fishing. Not sure if it was the murky water that
caused the fish to either take a different route or
just not run to the river, or if the run of king
salmon is about over, but fishing was poorer than the
previous two openings – although still decent for two
days of fishing.

So, with not much going on, what do skippers do? They
try to tick other skippers off. My skipper did not
get the set we had found success earlier in because he
did not go down a day before the opening and anchor at
his set. Instead, another of his peers got the set.

So, when we didn’t catch many fish elsewhere, it was
time to “steal” “our” set back, which he did, much to
the disgust of the prior “owner”. The other skipper
merely waited his turn fishing at the legal boundary
for fishing, where everyone waits in line, gets 20
minutes of uninterrupted fishing, and then the next in
line sets in front of him for 20 minutes, and so on.
The other boat came over to where we were and set his
net right in front of ours – which is his right by the
unwritten rules of fishing here, but which, of course,
ticked my skipper off.

We proceeded to do the same maneuver when our turn
came at the line, and so it continued between the two,
all for just one or two fish each per set!

Overnight, the skipper of the other boat was dozing
while tending near his net, and ended up drifting over
his net. He called to my skipper for help to pull him
off his net so he wouldn’t tangle it in his prop. So,
two guys who were going at it for hours on end were
now best friends helping each other out of a
predicament all get in at one time or another it

After that, my skipper thought he could share the set
with the other skipper, which we did. I told my
skipper I thought they were going to have a group hug,
and that I might break down and cry…..

I moved all the fish up the ramp by hand from the boat
to parking lot at the harbor on the high tide last
night, then to my processor for weighing, and back
home by about 1 am.

Two hours of paperwork later, I hit the sack about 3
am, then up at 6:30 am to ship fish to a new
restaurant customer, BistroLouise in Fort Worth,
Texas. Alaska Airlines has made their seafood
airfreight even more inefficient now, requiring
shippers to call in to book their freight before they
go to the local airfreight office to drop off their
items, where they are booked again as they always have

You have to now call a main office somewhere else in
the world to book your freight. I was on hold for 12
minutes with Alaska Air Cargo, then told by the agent
that finally answered that I was at the wrong desk
(even though I followed the instructions of the long
instructional recording!), and was sent back to
exactly the same recording and waited again! The next
person apologized that the previous should have helped
me, blah blah blah. And now, you have to weigh your
items before you go out to drop them off, which is
another royal pain. Furthermore, they asked for the
address of the place I was shipping to last week, but
never printed it on my airbill. I always use a
previous airbill as it supposedly has all the
necessary info on it, but of course, now it apparently
doesn’t with the new and “improved” shipping process.
I’m trying to get customers that it makes sense for to
go with Fed Ex, who makes shipping so easy. They just
come by and pick it up and get it where it’s going –
and even guarantee timely delivery – imagine that!

I hope for one more week of fishing here before my
skipper leaves for Sitka and I leave for a marketing
trip near Cleveland, then on to my 25th year high
school reunion. So far, so good this year. Our
customers are raving about our fish, and sales are

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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