Friday, June 13, 2008

You don't make them, you hang them!

Vlatko Kolega is fondly known by his friends as Woly. He's croatian born and lives in the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, Washington. Woly's been fishing for Bristol Bay sockeye for over 40 years! I watched amazed as he weaved his fingers around the blue lead line, secured his floats and zipped his knots tight before moving swiftly on to the next section. I keep having to remind myself that you don't MAKE hang them. Gets me every time.

The kindness of strangers is ubiquitous in Naknek. I spent several hours with Woly and his friend, and fellow countryman, Nick, on board his boat the Seafire. He'd just served a huge bowl of spaghetti to a group of fishermen when I found him. After viewing postcards of his home town in Croatia we spoke about his time up in Alaska fishing for red gold and of course the mine. He's eager to get in the water and start fishing, but its still cold up here and the fish are not showing up in the usual numbers for this time of year - plenty of time for hanging more nets for when they do.

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