By Kurt Madar
Pilot staff writer
Silas Gnaedinger loves fishing, and loves Brookings and the Port of Brookings Harbor.
andquot;It's one of the best ports I have ever had the pleasure of docking in. The people are so friendly, it's secure, IPH does a great job keeping it safe, and most of all it's an attractive port.andquot; Gnaedinger, recently out of Alaska, is a fisherman aboard the Wahoo, a 54-foot vessel out of Port of Brookings Harbor. The boat is in port temporarily for repairs and welding.
andquot;Fishing is in my blood. I plan on fishing forever some way or another,andquot; Gnaedinger said, laughing as he added, andquot;Switching careers now after eight years on the water, that would just set me back. Also, you can't really make this money elsewhere.andquot; The clean facilities at the Port of Brookings Harbor are a major plus for Gnaedinger, as is the proximity of local businesses.
andquot;Everything I need is within walking distance,andquot; Gnaedinger said. andquot;You've got all those nice little places in the port, then up in Harbor there's Shop Smart, The Wacky Tobacconist, and I can't forget Fox's Den.andquot; Gnaedinger was born in the farm country of Palouse, Wash., a long way from the water. He got into fishing while in college working toward an education degree. andquot;I worked in a cannery one summer. Then I noticed that the guys on the fishing boats were making more money, so I got on a boat that summer.andquot; The boat was the Alice H.
andquot;I didn't make much money that first time out. Then I got offered a good job fishing king crab and took a quarter off from school. I took the next quarter off to go fish opilio or snow crab, and then decided to keep fishing. I hate to say it, but I actually make a bunch more money fishing than I would teaching.andquot; This was followed by the rueful admission, andquot;Not to mention that I don't think I have the patience to be a good teacher.andquot; Gnaedinger fishes mainly out of Kodiak and Dutch Harbor in Alaska.
andquot;I love the adventure. People are always impressed when they find out you fish. They say 'Like the TV show?' But, really, I do it for myself. I like the extreme aspect of it.andquot;
When not fishing, Gnaedinger, a surfer, travels. andquot;I generally go someplace warm with good waves.andquot; Last year, he spent four months living in Oahu where the waves andquot;were great, epic actually.andquot; He is impressed by how balmy Brookings is.
andquot;I've seen a couple of palm trees - in Oregon of all places! I could live here for sure, especially because of the palm trees.andquot; Gnaedinger's parents are retired in Nova Scotia, Canada. Though his father has built some boats, their only marine boating experience is sea kayaking.
andquot;They like the fact that I'm a fisherman, though it scares them a bit so they require that I keep in contact as much as possible. You know, keep them updated as to when we are shipping out, what boat I'm on. That way if a boat sinks they can be sure it's not me.andquot;
The Wahoo, captained by Mark Thomas, will head for Kodiak and halibut fishing when the repairs are done.
andquot;Mark is a great guy, I love working for him; one of the best captains I have ever fished under,andquot; said Gnaedinger, whose favorite aspect of fishing is living on boats. andquot;I enjoy stepping out my door and having a deck that's on the water,andquot; he said, confessing to a deep love for the ocean. He thought for a moment and laughed. andquot;Though sometimes I wish I could turn it off.andquot;