Life On The Sea: A Look into Alaskan Deep Sea Fishing
We often recieve testimonials from folks who have tried PrimaLoft® and experienced its performance for the first time, but this testimonial was so good that we just had to share...
Kyle Christenson is an action sports and adventure photographer based in Bozeman, MT (all photos in this post are his own) who had an incredible experience working on a Deep Sea Fishing boat in Bristol Bay, Alaska during 2011. With over-water storms sending waves crashing into the relatively small fishing boat, it is hard to imagine undertaking such a voyage without the proper gear. Fortunately, Kyle came equipped.
1. What piece of gear were you wearing during your work in the Bering Sea?
2. Tell us about your commercial fishing experience, and what your job entails.
A: My experiences generally relate to gill net fishing in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Like all fisheries, there are a set of rules that maintain the ecosystem. These rules, set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, specify the type of fishing equipment used and time periods allowed for fishing, all of which are heavily enforced by the United States Coast Guard.
In Bristol Bay, we fish on boats that don’t exceed 32 feet with a group of four fisherman, with fishing equipment and provisions to last a month. The time period that we are allowed to catch fish can vary each day depending on the amount of fish that make it into each river to spawn. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game closely monitor optimal spawning rates for the season. When there’s too many fish rushing into the rivers, they allow us to fish and as it slows they cut us off. We often fish two periods a day and each period takes up approximately 8 hours. This time is spent almost exclusively on the back deck of the boat in the cold, wet Alaskan environment.
As a deck hand, my primary job is to pick fish out of the net - the faster the better. The net comes up and over the stern of the boat as it’s wound onto a large hydraulic drum. In this process we must remove the fish from the net before the net is wound on the drum. The length of this process determines the amount of time your net is out of the water, directly impacting the amount of fish that it’s possible to catch and our time exposed in the direct elements.
3. How would you rate PrimaLoft’s® effectiveness in this cold and wet environment at sea?
A: I was pleasantly surprised on PrimaLoft’s effectiveness through changing conditions. Its ability to insulate while wet is a pretty noteworthy characteristic for a fisherman. Despite our rubber rain gear, we always seem to be wet. While we’re picking fish out of the net we expend a lot of energy, heat up our non-breathable rubber rain gear and sweat. As the net goes back into the water, we slow down, wait for more fish, and begin to chill. The chilling process didn’t happen this year, PrimaLoft® helped me regulate my temperature when energy output was high, and kept insulating in its damp or wet state as our net soaked in the water. This was my first season with PrimaLoft® onboard, and it made all the difference in the world.
Beyond PrimaLoft’s most important test of staying warm while being wet, it also excelled at drying between shifts. The garment’s low profile minimized the bulk under the rain gear, lending to increased mobility and overall efficiency. I used the Patagonia Men's Nano Puff® Hoody almost every day, changing my base layers with the weather, but always putting PrimaLoft on top.
[View the Photo Gallery after the jump - all photo's courtesy Kyle Christenson Photography.]
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