I am a fisherman for 2 weeks!
I was really excited to go on a fishing boat for 2 weeks to have a new experience. Everybody told me “it’s a hard job, you work for long hours” or “it’s not easy at all”. But I would see by myself and each time I answered “every jobs are hard, but I want to see how much this one is”. It’s like that Chris hired me for a couple of weeks to see how I work.
First step: I’m not sea sick! That’s already a good point. After 12 hours navigating, I set my first net with my new and beautiful orange wet weather gear. In fact we use 3 nets around 200 meters long (constitute by 4×50 meters panels), then we set them. It doesn’t look difficult at all. I just have to throw the anchors in the water and watch the net go out making sure there are no knots. 2 hours sleep and we go back to pull the net and see if we caught some fish. We drive the dinghy back to the big boat where we tie up next to the boat and throw the fish onto the deck. First we clean the fish then if we have a lot we put some into the brine tank (it is like a big esky) to keep fresh the fish before we fillet them and store them in box in the cold room at -35°C.
But after 1 week, it will begin harder. My hands hurt and I’ve got many injuries because we have started to prepare the fishes (ready to be sold). We set between 1 and 1.5 km of net each time, so around 2.5 km every 24 hours. Indeed, we can’t say day or night because you work all the time without really sleep. 4 hours sleep here, 2 hours sleep there; fishing doesn’t wait. My longest work time without more than a half hour break was from 11:00pm to 03:00 pm the day after! 2 sunrises and sunsets in “one day” for us.
In the other hand we are really near to the wild life. I saw saltwater crocs! Believe me, there are really big with their 4-5meters long and 600 kg! Also I saw lots of sharks, hammer head, hawks, eagles, barramundi, jewey fish, queen fish, snapper, salmon, blue salmon , … in an amazing environment! I don’t think than many backpackers have seen the Milky Way like me!
Fishing under the moon was an amazing sensation too, without any lights and only the sound of water under the dinghy.
After 10 days my hands start to be stronger and I can appreciate completely the job (until the next injury in few hours…).
I’m a real fisherman now! Meanwhile only two motivations exist to do that all your life: Money or the passion for fishing!
Unfortunately the fishermen with who I worked spoke really bad, which was hard mentaly.
My next experience might be the Woofing!