From the Fishing Grounds of Bristol Bay

The last few weeks have been all about fishing. It was lucky that we flew to Dillinghham, AK early to get a jump on preseason boat work and begin filming. The fish came back sooner than expected this year and if we hadn't been here already we would have missed out on some great fishing. You never know what is going to happen year to year - late fish, early fish, lots of fish, no fish or you are just not in the right place at the right time.

The weather started out wild with winds gusting to 70 knots. There were waves breaking over the boat on the day this picture was taken. The boat landed hard coming off a huge wave and put my weight on the wheel to brace myself. The steering wheel broke off in my hands. Can honestly say I have never had that happen before!

 

Elijah and his salty new Alaska beard holding up the wheel of fortune - fortunate that the wheel was all that broke!


Elijah and his salty new Alaska beard holding up the wheel of fortune - fortunate that the wheel was all that broke!

The galley on the F/V Potential is a multipurpose space!

The galley on the F/V Potential is a multipurpose space!

Ugashik mountains - the work is hard but the scenery is awesome!

Ugashik mountains - the work is hard but the scenery is awesome!

Gillnet boats fishing the Ugashik River

Gillnet boats fishing the Ugashik River

Fred Reeves has been fishing Bristol Bay with me for seven years now. When he isn't fishing he can be found running the Brick House Cafe, his San Francisco restaurant. While Fred is in Alaska Kim Kobasic, restaurant co-owner and Fred's sweetie, holds it all together with her capable hands.

Each year Fred flies Bristol Bay sockeye and king salmon home to California serve at his restaurant. His family cattle ranch is the source for the Wagyu 'Kobe' Beef that is house roasted and smoked. How's that for surf and turf? Hungry yet? Here's a link to the Brick House Cafe website: http://www.brickhousesf.com

 

Fred Reeves, owner of the Brick House Cafe and crew member on F/V Potential. 

Fred Reeves, owner of the Brick House Cafe and crew member on F/V Potential. 

And this is Daniel Strong, the third crew member on the F/V Potential. It's Daniel's first season fishing but it seems to be working out for him. He doesn't get seasick which is more than I can say for myself! All these years, all these fishing seasons and I still 'feed' the fish occasionally.  It will be interesting to get Daniel's take on fishing Bristol Bay at the end of the season...

Daniel Strong, first year crew member on the Potential

Daniel Strong, first year crew member on the Potential

The tide goes out in Bristol Bay incredibly quick and the bottom comes up fast. You have to watch to make sure you still have water under your boat if you want to go anywhere between tide changes. It seems obvious but it can surprise you. You can see in the two pictures below the same piece of exposed mud looks different depending on way you approach it and the time of day. What is obviously mud in daylight looks likes a wave in the low light of dusk. That could really screw things up for you if think you are looking at water and land stuck in what is actually mud. Tired eyes after days of fishing and low light can do that to you.

Afternoon light shows the mud to its best advantage

Afternoon light shows the mud to its best advantage

Low light and a different angle on the same mud can trick your eyes

Low light and a different angle on the same mud can trick your eyes

Boats dry on the beach in Dago Creek, Ugashik. Your guess is as good as mine if this was a mistake or a planned break.

Boats dry on the beach in Dago Creek, Ugashik. Your guess is as good as mine if this was a mistake or a planned break.

Dago Creek once the tide has turned and everyone floats again.

Dago Creek once the tide has turned and everyone floats again.