We've come a long way!


Our First Boat:  F/V "Elephants Child (aka Bong Hits for Jesus)" 1990, 24 ft Salmon Open Set-net Skiff used as Drift-gillnetter

We started running our own commercial fishing salmon boat in 2007 in Cook Inlet, Alaska.  To keep our costs low the first season we leased a permit, borrowed a 24 foot set-net skiff, bought an outboard motor and pulled the drift gill nets in by hand.  Everyone except the old-timers thought we were crazy.  With hard work, thrift and luck we've slowly upgraded our fishing operation.  In 2014 we bought a Bristol Bay Salmon Drift permit.  




Our Old Boat:  F/V "Northland," 1969, 32 ft. Rawson, Salmon Drift-gillnetter 


The F/V "Northland" is a 32 foot drift gill netter built in 1969 by Ron Rawson.  She has a long history fishing in Alaskan waters, originally a cannery boat owned by Wards Cove Packers in Kenai, Alaska.  We purchased her in 2008 in nearly stock condition, with a wooden reel and plenty of rot.  After running her as is for an adventurous season in Cook Inlet, Kyle gutted her and rebuilt everything from the stringers up.  Although an old hull, she now sports all the mechanical components of a modern gill netter. A 200hp electronically controlled John Deere main provides propulsion and powers the accessories: a 7.5 Ton IMS Chiller, bow thruster, auto pilot, etc.  Soft chines and a slender build earn these boats the nick name Rocking Rawson which means most crew members succumb to sea sickness now and then.  Drawing only 20" she can fish with the fancier, shallow jet boats common in Bristol Bay.  She is a good old work boat, only lacking in creature comforts.




Our Halibut Boat: F/V "Skiffy," 2015, 24ft. Tolman Skiff, Halibut Longliner 

Kyle began commercially fishing for halibut in 2000, fishing his mom's quota.  He built his first Tolman skiff in 2005 and started hauling in long-line gear by hand from Kachemak Bay, Alaska.  Kyle now fishes halibut, rockfish and cod out of his fourth Tolman skiff build, 24ft F/V "Skiffy," aptly named by Maggie.  Although new, she is nearly identical to the vessel she replaced, proving the Tolman's semi-vee hull design to be the champion skiff of the Alaskan waters. 




Our New Boat:  F/V "Maggie B." 2015, 32 ft. Basargin, Salmon Drift-gillnetter

 In January of 2017 Kyle found a 2015 Basargin hull for sale on Craigs List.  It had suffered a huge fire and was being sold as a totaled vessel by the insurance company.  Kyle could see the potential savings to salvage and rebuild the refrigeration and engine but he figured the hull was toast.  Sight unseen, we won the sealed silent bid auction.  

Kyle and buddies spent weeks gutting the mess to uncover the hull.  Kyle deemed the hull re-buildable and the 9 months of arduous boat work began.  Ivan Basargin is the original local boat builder in Razdolna, AK, a Russian Old Believer village out of Homer, AK.  He agreed to build new decks and a new cabin and Kyle and helpers re-fiberglassed everything together and re-built all the missing pieces.  Re-christened the F/V Maggie B., after our lovely kiddos Maggie and Ben, she will be our drift-gillnet salmon boat for the 2018 Bristol Bay season.  This new boat is a true testament to sweat-equity!

(see more boat progress pictures on this blog post)