The Corkline

A Day Between

Published October 8th, 2014 by Copper River Salmon


When the forty-eight hour commercial fishing period closes the boats round the inlet and head back to town. Not everyone comes back; it depends on the day, the tide, the boat and how it is running. Today, on a gorgeous sunny clear day, between the fishing openers I find Lee down at the harbor rolling a new net on to his boat reel, Marty mending his net and sharing stories as folks pass by. Ashton and Colin stop for a quick hello after a big breakfast at Baja Taco. Soapy brushes are out and nets line the harbor as the fleet works to stay caught up on tasks.

During the summer there isn’t really a day off, “I can sleep in the winter,” many will casually say as they greet you in a quick passing. A day back to town might include a quick nap, a kiss from their loved ones back at home, and a full meal. There is always something to be done, and when you walk down to the harbor and peer in down the rows you see nets stacked on decks, carts full of tools, grocery bags filled, and wives in the boat cabins catching up as their husband’s steadily keep at their list.

“I don’t want to do anything else,” Daniel says from the dock. He has been fishing on his own boat for four years now and grew up in Cordova fishing with his dad.

Marty has been fishing on his boat, the Omega 3, since 79’ and before that when his family was young they seined. “My wife Rhoda was my best skiffman,” he smiled as he reminisced about the days with his family on the humpy harvesting boats. Fishing is not just a job, lifestyle, career— it’s a family. The whole process requires the whole town: the people to catch, process, sell, support this small fishery, and when you go down on the docks on a sunny day and listen to the fishermen say, “they couldn’t imagine any better job” you can’t help but wonder if you have found the dream too.

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