Dressing for the Weather, Fishing with the Elderly

Typical weather out on the ocean is a mix of sunshine, clouds, maybe a few sprinkles, and a breeze blowing the ocean into a mild chop. From what I’ve seen (I’m in my 2nd season), the days are predominantly sunny, though rain can appear on any given day. The day may start off in a certain way—perhaps it’s rainy and gloomy on the docks when we load up at 5:30 a.m., but by the time we motor around to the far side of Kruzoff Island, it can be completely different. I think the marine environment is the major factor in this; clouds and weather systems seem to pass by quickly. Out on the open ocean, I can see for many miles around, and can often see signs that the weather is going to change long before it does.

I find it’s best to wear several layers of clothing, preparing for a brisk wind and rain, but having the option of stripping down for warm sunshine. Under my rain bibs, I wear shorts and fleece deckhand pants (they are kind of like sweatpants). For my top layer, I wear a comfortable polyester light long sleeve with a tee shirt over it. For my outer layer, I wear my zip-up hooded sweatshirt. If it rains, I have a rain jacket in the cabin, ready to put on at a moment’s notice. Granted, when I’m out on the boat, I’m very active in the roll of a deckhand, but this ensemble allows me to adjust to almost any weather pattern that will appear. I ALWAYS wear sun block on my face, neck and ears. I always have my winter hat, and I always wear sunglasses. The glare of the ocean glittering in strong sunlight can be extremely bright. I would recommend similar clothing choices to anyone coming to fish up here in Alaska. I would also recommend packing something warmer, maybe a set of thermal underwear if you chill easily.

Besides children, (see previous post) I also love bringing elderly people fishing. I find myself being inspired by our elderly clients. When I reach my golden years, I want to be going out fishing out on the open ocean. These folks are living life to the fullest, which is the way it ought to be lived, and I respect them for that.

This week, we went fishing with some folks over 80 years old, and we all had a great time. Sometimes, the elderly have physical ailments that are just a part of their life, but can make fishing a challenge. At APC, we try to make everyone as comfortable as possible, and will help anyone with physical limitations try to catch some fish. I generally have to help them maneuver around the boat when they have a salmon on. This can be as simple as spotting them, letting them know that someone is there to make sure they don’t fall or trip on anything. It can also get more involved when it’s choppy out or if they aren’t strong enough to hold onto the rod when fighting a big fish. I not only spot them, but also hold the rod for them while they reel on it. I call it a tag team effort. Catching a nice fish makes overcoming the challenges that much more special to the client and to the crew.

One thing I especially like about a lot of our older clients is that they are interesting to talk with. They’ve seen a lot in their lives, and often have a lot of good knowledge to impart, providing you are willing to listen. And occasionally, you’ll get someone to tell you a good joke:

“A lady was caught stealing a jar of peaches from the country store. At her trial, the judge looked at her, and asked her, ‘Why did you steal those peaches?’
‘Because I was hungry,’ she replied.
‘How many peaches were in the jar,’ the judge asked.
‘Six.’
‘Well, I’m going to sentence you to six days in jail, one day for each peach you stole.’
Just then, the lady’s husband piped up, ‘Your Honor, she stole a can of peas too.'”

Written by Tom, Deckhand ~ Checkmate

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