Saturday, April 18, 2015

One of the things I noticed while commercial fishing is how much fish boats cost to run.

They ain't cheap.

Now you have to remember that this was back in 80s and in the era of cheap diesel fuel.

I knew of one exceptionally generous owner of a limit seiner that paid each of his three guys a sixth of the gross. He was exceptionally generous and I suppose he could afford to as his boat had been paid off for years.

I worked on a 98 foot boat and was paid 10% of the gross less 10% of the fuel, 10% of the bait and 20% of the groceries and this was deemed fair. The skipper ran with himself and 4 others. He was personally paid a share as there was an unseen partner in the boat with him. 

The Occupy Wall Street set was around back then under a different name but the game was the same. Most of these kids were college students that were Humanities majors or some other kind of liberal arts majors. I knew this because they couldn't count.

They griped because the boat took the lion's share of the money they got for the fish they caught. Yet not one of them had anything invested in the boat at all. Their entire investment in the industry was a $25 commercial fisherman's license. I listened to one kid gripe because the skipper wouldn't let him fish without one.

A lot of people never seem to understand that even back then a guy would spend a million bucks on a boat and tie up another million bucks in gear. That's a lot of money today and it was certainly a lot more money then.

This money had to be paid back. The banks didn't have nor do they now have a sense of humor abut having loans repaid.

I remember one college kid saying that after the boat made expenses the profit it made ought to be split up by the crew.  I suggested that would be OK if perhaps if the boat didn't meet expenses that maybe the crew shares be cut accordingly. He didn't like that very much and the skipper overheard it and after that he thought I was pretty cool for speaking up.

I do remember a couple of kids putting themselves through college by fishing and the two I'll mention were engineering types. They had to take math courses therefore they could count. They were an interesting pair.

Unlike a lot of their humanities counterparts that never seemed to last on fish boats, they worked hard and did well. They both graduated debt free and after they were offered jobs right out of school. They told their future employers they would start in late September as opposed to right out of school.

They wanted to fish one more season before they went into their respective fields. It was a clever move because it enabled the pair of them to put pretty good down payments on modest houses and get off to a running start.

Straight out of college debt free, starting a new career and having a new starter home to live in doesn't sound like a bad deal.

I didn't know what percentage these guys were paid although it supposedly wasn't as high as some skippers paid. Then again, a lot of people often got worked up over percentages when they should have been looking at the boatowners history of dollar amount shares.

People would often jump on a guy that paid a percentage or two higher and forgot the basic rule of fishing percentages. 

Twenty percent of nothin' is nothin'.

Not all humanities majors did poorly, of course. Still there were a lot of college kids that didn't get it. They didn't seem to understand the nature of the beast.

Some of them seemed to go through their lives bitching about how the man was screwing them and how they deserved more. They had a hard time understanding that they had not been given an hourly job but an opportunity to make money based on performance. 

If you caught a lot of fish, you made a lot of money. If you didn't catch a lot of fish you didn't make a lot of money. It was as simple as that.

Of course, when these guys came in after a bad trip they didn't think it was fair. What was interesting is that the two engineering students once told me that they didn't make a whole lot on every trip and even came back in broke a couple times. Yet if they stayed at it there would be a few real good hauls that more than made up for it. The trick was to find a good skipper and stick with him for the whole season.

Imagine what it was like back in the late 70s and early 80s to go back to school with $25 or 30K in your pocket! I've seen guys do it. They lived like kings!

Needless to say the two engineering types didn't gripe about anything. They were happy as hell to have what they had and knew they had a good deal.

Most of the gripers never seemed to have the required stick to it nature required to do well in any field.

It would be interesting to see how successful the average OWS person is. My guess is that they are not very successful and a lot of their attitude is one of sour grapes.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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