Varsanofy’s Page

The story I wrote, my first time fishing as a deckhand is a non-fiction. It was about last summer in prince william and cook inlet. I was in prince william for a couple weeks and then came home and went fishing in cook inlet. I talked about how much fish we caught and basically wat i did on the boat.

First Time Fishing as a Deckhand

My first time fishing as a deckhand was when I was 14 years old. I was at home doing summer work and when dad called he told me to get ready to go fishing the next day because he found a captain for me. I got really excited and got ready really fast. Dad told me to ask my first cousin Tommy for a ride to Cordova.

I called and he picked up, “hello.”

“Hey are you going to go to Cordova tomorrow?”

“Yes I am,” he answered.

“Can I go with you?” I asked.

“Yeah sure, just come to my house at 7:00 because that’s when we have to leave.”

“Okay,   I will see you tomorrow then.”

The next day I woke up at 6:00, got dressed, and went to the kitchen. Made myself some breakfast, ate it, took my backpack and took off. I had to go on our bike because Tommy lives in Voznesenka village. I arrived at a good time because right when I came he was ready to leave. We got in the truck and took off from their house. We went to the Homer Boat Yard to pick up his trailer. We hitched it up to the truck and left the boat yard. We were driving and a car passed a vehicle behind us and passed us and drove in right in front of us and we had to brake to not hit that car.

In Soldotna we stopped at Fred Meyer to get some stuff. We also needed gas. We went around the gas station, but the 32 foot trailer didn’t turn tightly. It touched the back window and broke it. Tiny pieces of glass flew inside. None of it got in my clothes though and that’s a good thing. Tommy wasn’t so happy so we parked in a different spot. He went inside Fred Meyer and got some cardboard pieces to cover up that window so it wouldn’t be cold.

We started driving to Cordova again. When we got to Whittier, we had to board the ferry and we had to back in. It looked like it was very hard for Tommy. The trailer was very big and very hard to maneuver.  When the trailer was parked we got out of the vehicles and went upstairs to the lounge. We were the first ones to get off because we backed it in the ferry, Tommy was happy because he didn’t have to wait for anybody anymore.

We arrived at the storage yard and unhooked the trailer. That spot was perfect because there was nothing in the way. Tommy dropped me off by the harbor and I walked to my dad’s boat. I went into the cabin; I saw some things that looked new because they were still in plastic. I looked at it a little bit longer and realized that it’s my new raingear. I opened it and tried it on. It was a little too big but that was ok because I wanted to make some money.

After one week of fishing in Cordova everybody started leaving to the other side which is about four hours away and where captains need deckhands to fish because there is more fish there. The first set out wasn’t even hard for me because both of us were working outside on the deck. It was actually kind of fun. After a couple of days he told me to take the net out by myself.

“I don’t know how to do that,” I said.

“You got to learn, all the deckhands take the net out by themselves,”he said while smiling.

I got ready and asked him to help me this one time. I just have to see what to do once, then I will know how to do it and I will do it. He went outside onto the deck with me then just told me what to do and stood there. After it looked like I got the hang of it he went inside and controlled the boat. I kind of enjoyed the work and never quit. Sometimes the captain would yell at me, because I wouldn’t do everything his way. He was a good worker, once he understood that I already knew how to work out on the deck alone. The he just started sending me out there all by myself.

One day he put out a set by the shore and after two hours he told me to take it out. After I took it out, set it back again and threw all the fish in the fish hold; he told me to take it out once more because we were going to set it in a different spot. When we finally got to the spot where he wanted to set, I do everything really fast because I wanted to finish it and take off the raingear and get inside the cabin.

I finished setting the net in the water, he told me to rinse the dirty deck. After I did that, I hoped he wouldn’t order me to do anything else because I was tired. I think my captain understood that I was tired to help because when it was time to take out the net he put on his raingear and went out onto the deck too. Usually we wait about two hours for each set in the water because there wasn’t a lot of fish. That same day at 10 o’clock in the evening he told me to take it out and put it back in and we were going to go to sleep after I do it. I got excited so I put on my raingear and went out onto the deck and took out the net. The machine that takes the net is called, hydraulics and it is so strong, just press the button a little bit and it will just be tugging the whole set out. The main thing for the hydraulics is somewhere in the engine room and it is really important to the boat. It is really hard to take out the net by hand, because the net is very long and very heavy.

That same night my captain woke me up at 12 o’clock and told me to take out the net and set it back out again. I got up, put on my raingear and started taking it out. Most of the times I don’t even need to start the boat to take it out; I just turn on the put-put. It is a little generator in the engine room that takes out the net. When we want to take it out the fast we turn on the hydraulics. This is the more powerful thing to take out the net. I just use the put-put because I am usually in no hurry and I do a better job with it. When I took out the net and set it back out into the water I took off my raingear, went inside the cabin, climbed on my bunk and fell asleep. He woke me up at two o’clock in the morning again, and at four and at six and at eight and at ten and then, I just stayed awake and I was really tired.

My brother Dio called me on the radio and he said I had to go home with him to work on some stuff at home. I told my captain that I was going to take my raingear and fish with my brother before we left.

“Yeah do that, you have to go home tomorrow. I am going to Cordova today, Petr said.

“Okay, I’ll just gather all my things and wait for him,” I replied.

After ten minutes, Dio was driving up to our boat, so I got the ropes ready to tie that boat to ours. He drifted up slowly to our boat and I tied the two boats together. My brother didn’t have a lot of food on his boat because it is a very small boat and he fishes alone. “Do you have a lot of food on your boat?” Dio asked Petr.

“Yeah, do you need some because I bought this food for two of us but he’s going with you so you can just take most of it if you need it?”

“Yeah, that would be great.”

My captain took off to Cordova and we went to Round Island and anchored up, fishing was closed for that day but it was going to open the next day at eight in the morning. Plus a lot of people left to Cordova and that was better for us because there would be more fish for us and nobody would be getting in our way when we would be setting the net in the water. The next day we woke up at seven o’clock and waited for it to be eight. We were by shore by Round Island and when it was finally eight o’clock I threw out the buoy that was connected to the net and my brother started driving back so the net would get into the water. After 15 seconds of the net being in the water, it went five feet under water. My brother was really shocked so he put out the net in the water really fast, hooked up another buoy to the other side and threw it out. We drove by the net to get more fish in and it sank even more and my brother was like “WHOA!” He put the boat in reverse and started driving backwards because we needed to turn around. When we turned around he told me to catch that buoy and hook it up. I did exactly that and he started straightening out the net by tugging on it, going backwards on the boat.

We started taking out the net and there was fish after fish after fish. I got sick of untangling fish, it was fun but also it was really tiring. After the set was done, I started throwing fish in the fish hold. My brother told me to count. There was 300 fish in the first set. We set the net out again and drove by it a couple times and started driving to the tender because our fish hold was all the way full and we couldn’t put anymore inside. We did it really fast and went back. We drove by the net again a couple of times, it sank five feet again. We turned around, I caught the buoy and hooked it up and he started straightening it out. After 12 hours I was really tired and wanted to go home, we set out the net for the last time and I went to sleep. The next day we woke up really early in the morning, took out and, washed the net, went to the tenders, delivered the fish and started driving to the harbor. We got to the harbor, tied up our boat to the dock, took all our stuff, locked the boat, and went to the truck. My brother told me to start the truck because he was going to do some stuff at the harbor masters office, and he gave me the keys. I came to the truck, threw all of the stuff in the trunk, and started the truck. When my brother started driving we stopped by a store first and I got myself an energy drink to keep myself awake for the rest of the way home. When driving from Whittier we have to pass a tunnel first so when we drove up to it, it opened right away and we drove through.

The Whittier tunnel is about two and a half miles and there are eight safe houses in there. A safe house is for when people get into an accident in the tunnel and they can go there and wait for help to arrive because there are too much fumes in the tunnel. Its safe houses have fresh air inside. There are also speedometers in the tunnel because the speed limit is 25 and nobody can go faster than that except the train. There are train tracks on the road and it doesn’t even make it worse for vehicles.

We arrived three and half hours later and I was really tired and I wanted to go to sleep but mom didn’t let me because there was some stuff I had to do at home. I did some of it and then went to sleep so mom didn’t say anything because I did some work before going to sleep. The next day my brother returned to fishing because I could do all the work myself.

I was home for almost a week when I got a phone call, “hey is this Vars?”

“   Yes it is.”

“Hey this is Mark and I was wondering if you would want to go fishing with me in Cook Inlet.”

“Yeah, I’m not going fishing in Prince William Sound anymore. When do I start?”

“Find a ride to Ninilchik with someone and we will go fishing on Monday.”

“Ok I’m looking forward to it.”

I gathered all my clothes to go fishing and asked my uncle if I could go to Ninilchik with him and he said yes. I came to his place and we took off. When we came to the harbor I got on his boat and he talked to me a little bit and then he said, “This is how it is on my boat, if you’re hungry just go through the cabinets, but clean up after your done.”

And then I answered, “Roger that boss.” I was on my captain’s boat and my friends started coming to the harbor. There were already three of them so we just sat on one boat and talked and just moved from one place to another. When it was late all of my friends went to their boats and I went to ours and got to talk to my captain. I asked,

“So how much percent are you going to be paying me?”

“We’ll see. It will be like nine percent or something, first I have to see how you work.”

“Ok,” I answered.

We went to sleep and the next day he started the boat and drove out of the harbor but he didn’t wake me up because he didn’t need me just yet. He started driving and I was sleeping really comfortably so I didn’t want to get up. He set out the net then woke me up. After the set was in the water, we started taking it out. He saw the way I was untangling the fish. He said,

“You’re actually a pretty good worker! Whatever, I’ll just pay you ten percent.”

“Alright, “I replied.

It was exciting fishing with Mark. He was really easy going and he never yelled. He never even got mad. We always had a good time on the open waters. I went fishing with Mark for two weeks. I enjoyed it because I always saw my friends and we always tied up our boats to each other and just talked. After the last opener we came to Homer from Ninilchik and he asked me how much money I needed to have in the pocket and I said, “300”.

“Whoa isn’t that a little too much for you.” He stopped by the bank and took out some money.”Here!”

“How much did you take out?”


“Ha ha ha, I was just kidding about that but, I’m still going to take it. I need money now.”

After the bank, we came to his dad’s boat in homer where his uncle Nick was, helping his dad with the halibut equipment because they were going to go halibut fishing the day after. I wanted to ask Nick if I c harbor because he was going to go halibut fishing with him and I asked a guy there if I could get a ride home with him because my captain doesn’t live in the same village as me and that guy said,


We drove out of homer and I was really glad that happened sooner because I was really tired and wanted to go home and sleep. The driver was driving a little bit faster than the speed limit and I liked that. When we got home I told the driver thanks for the ride and he said,

”No problem!” I went home and fell asleep right away and the next day my captain called and told me I can pick up my paycheck at his place and I said,


By Vars Reutov


3 Responses to Varsanofy’s Page

  1. Mike says:

    Awesome! i enjoyed this story. Perty cool! 😮

  2. Mike says:

    There mite be a second one to my story vars

  3. Alex says:

    Vars i liked the part were you said After 15 seconds of the net being in the water, it went five feet under water.

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