Home Port: Dodge Cove
How did you start fishing?
I’m a 2nd generation fisherman, so I grew up on the boat. I feel like I’ve spent more time at sea than on land.
My first official crew job was when I was nine, dressing fish and working on the boat. My dad said “if you get up in the morning and do the full day of work instead of sleeping in and watching cartoons in the galley for the morning I’ll give you a crew share of 2%”. Growing up in Dodge Cove had me around boats even more. I had to take a skiff to get to school in the morning. It was a part of life.
What fisheries have you worked in?
I’ve gillnetted for salmon, fished dungeness crab by pot, longlined for halibut, trolled for lingcod and trawled for sidestripe shrimp.
Why do you love to work as a commercial fisherman?
There is a certain allure to the sea. There have been many books and songs written about it. Past that, it really takes a lot to be out there. It’s a complex experience to work with the tides, winds and the whole thought process that goes into that. Knowing your boat inside and out, being able to fix everything. It’s a very immersive experience of mastering nature and machine that you just can’t get anywhere else. You really get a feeling of accomplishment to be able to live your best life.
What was one of your favourite moments?
The first time that I went halibut fishing, we only set out two strings instead of three because we wanted to take it easy that day. We started hauling after lunch and finished around 9:00 or 10:00pm. The entire 70 ft deck was full of halibut up to our knees! We started dressing and icing the fish and it took us 32 hours to finish. Seeing the sunrise and the sunset and not even being tired was amazing. I went up after we were finished and stood in the wheelhouse and was just in awe.
Article and photos by Chelsey Ellis