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Fishing the Coast: A Life on the Water by Don Pepper

Fishing the Coast: A Life on the Water by Don Pepper

By Harbour Publishing

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Here, at last, is a book about commercial salmon fishing, by well-known fisherman and industry analyst Dr. Don Pepper--one that is sure to become a West Coast classic. Pepper fished salmon as a crewman every season from 1953 to 1969.

After a hiatus in the '70s, he returned to fishing in the '80s, balancing his life at sea with a career as a professional economist, before finally retiring in 2007. Over the years he experienced technological change from table seiners, with nets pulled using muscle power, to the Puretic power block, to the modern drum seiner. These were profound changes that would not only affect the lives of individual fishermen but the balance of the world's oceans and economies.

Fishing for a living is dangerous. Boats sink, men are swept out to sea, lines snap and sometimes just standing up is a chore. Nature conjures up storms and rocks and reefs; overloaded boats capsize and tired men fall asleep at the wheel or fall overboard. And yet it is pleasurable too, a world of catastrophic beauty, camaraderie, and sometimes financial reward.

Pepper captures the fishing life of an era now past in a lively and informative manner. From catching Adams River sockeye in Johnstone Strait (legal) to pit-lamping herring (illegal), Pepper explains how, and in fascinating detail. Mainly, as one old salt proclaimed, "You have to know where the fish aren't."

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