Author Topic: Commercial fishing in Port Orford  (Read 220 times)

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Offline Tunacious

Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« on: October 30, 2017, 07:37:53 PM »
I thought I would give a little cost analysis report on my latest commercial fishing trip to Port Orford.

I don't know if anybody cares but I have it all penciled out so I thought I would share it.

I was fishing the bubble fishery off the Elk River.

Just for the record I was the only one fishing in an Arima.

This year there was weak run of fish. 

I fished from daylight to dark everyday. 

If you ever thought about quitting your day job and becoming a commercial fisher my advice would be not do it.

I fished 8 days before I decided I wasn't making enough money to miss my sons birthday and other family stuff going on.

In eight days of fishing I caught 20 fish.

My gross profit was $2,539.00  (Thats an average of $126.00 per fish.)

Below are my expenses.
Camping fees of $22 per night for 10 nights was $224
Groceries $294
Boat gas $132.41
Moorage  $339
Diesel for my truck $210

Total costs  $1,199

Net Profit   $1,340

Not a great fishing trip but its like farming.  You have to give it a try.

Maybe next year.

I traveled back and forth twice.  Once when I went down, and then a big storm came in and lasted 4 days so I came home and then went back.

The first trip I took my wall tent and set up a really nice camp.

The second time I left the tent at home and just slept on a cot in the canopy of my truck.

I had an electric heater in my canopy that I could plug into at the camp ground.

I took a little deep freezer for my bait with me.  I just left it in camp plugged in.

I preferred the canopy.  I wouldn't get back to camp until 8:30.  Id take a shower and go to bed by 9:00.  Id be gone before daylight.

It only took me 15 minutes to pack up my camp when I left. 

When I had my tent it took several hours to pack everything up and get out of there.
2003 Sea Ranger 21' HT
2003 130 Honda

Offline Markshoreline

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2017, 07:47:16 PM »
Great insight about the realities of commercial fishing.  Not always a profitable activity.
Still a lot more profitable than sport fishing!!!   :jester:
Thanks for sharing your personal experience, Walt.
2002 Sea Ranger HT 21, Yamaha 150, Yamaha 9.9

Offline Tunacious

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2017, 07:59:09 PM »
Id do it again so I guess it was a good trip. 

I love fighting those big mature salmon on the 20 foot leader by hand. 

Some of the fish were $200 fish, which I find unbelievable. 
2003 Sea Ranger 21' HT
2003 130 Honda

Online GregE

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2017, 08:03:18 PM »
$200 fish!?!?!?  Wowser- what would that one weigh?

Hope you were having fun too, that's a rough schedule.
Greg
Osprey 26 LC Kodak;  Arima SR 19 HT; SL 22 Honda 225
http://www.sagecreekforums.com/phpforum/index.php
Sold:  Arima SE 16 WeeBait; SH 15 WeeBoat;
SR 21 NoBait;  SL 22 ReBait

Offline Wiley

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2017, 08:10:04 PM »
Not exactly a get rich quick Scheem, but not a bad way to enhance retirement ? Definitely beats Walmart greeter, or Home Depot. Sounds like you got top dollar for your catch. Can I ask, do you have to pay full commercial license pric no Matter what or is it based on boat size ? Or?other
96 sea explorer 15'-11" new 90 etec named (wutz wuzn cuzn)
10' Don Hill Pram
 Respectfully, Build, Buy, Be American

Offline Tunacious

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 07:02:42 AM »
Not exactly a get rich quick Scheem, but not a bad way to enhance retirement ? Definitely beats Walmart greeter, or Home Depot. Sounds like you got top dollar for your catch. Can I ask, do you have to pay full commercial license pric no Matter what or is it based on boat size ? Or?other

In Oregon you have to purchase a salmon permit.  The permits are owned by other fisherman or past fisherman.  The price is what you can get for them.  You have to pay about $100 a year to keep it renewed.  When your done with the permit you can sell it to somebody else for what ever the going price is.
The price will fluctuate with how good fishing is or expected to be.

If you don't pay the fee at the end of the year to renew the permit it goes away and never comes back so there are a limited amount of permits.

The permits I am speaking of come for a length of boat.  My permit is for a 22 foot boat so it is less money than a permit for a 30 foot boat.

When I sell my boat it can go up 4 foot at a time.  For example my permit is only good for 22 foot but when I sell it it can be put on a 28 foot boat until it is sold again and then it can move up 4 more feet.  A permit can only be sold once a year.

Besides the salmon permit there are a bunch of other permits such as a commercial boat license and deck hand licenses that everybody pays the same for.

Regarding the money it is not a quick get rich deal but when fishing is good you can make some really good money.  You just have to be there when it happens which means you have to grind it out when fishing isn't that good.

A friend of mine made $25,000 in Port Orford a few years ago.  He is a lot better fisherman than I but he is still grinding it out this year catching 6 or 8 fish a day.

Two years ago I made 8 tuna trips and caught 425 tuna fish on my boat and sold them all for $3.00 a pound.  This year I didn't even go tuna fishing.  I spent my time bottom fishing on my bottom fish permit.  I made decent money doing that.

The bottom fishing permits are the same as the salmon permits with the exception you have to make three landings each year or you loose the permit and it goes away forever.

I paid $2,500 for my salmon permit and $7,000 for my bottom fish permit.

The price for salmon this year was $9.00 a pound dressed with head on.

2003 Sea Ranger 21' HT
2003 130 Honda

Offline Rokefin

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 10:04:12 AM »
I Agree with Mark, great insight, a really good share for us. It was profitable so a good trip in my eyes. I could see where a single guy might be better suited for the commercial lifestyle. I would never want to pencil out the numbers for us sporties.....we would need to start selling our fish, then we would be left hungry and we would still be in the red.
1989 17ft Arima Sea Chaser 2010 115 Yamaha 1995 9.9 Yamaha kicker - Bodega mostly

Offline Diablo

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2017, 10:22:08 AM »
Being retired I often see workers and think that would be a fun job. Then I realize you would have to get up and do that every day. Then it’s not so attractive. I do not have the energy to do what Walt is doing. Good on you Walt.

There is something I have been curious about. In WA if your boat is a commercial fishing boat you cannot sport fish from that boat. That doesn’t seem to be the case in OR. Is that true?
'98 19SR  '15 E Tec 115, '10 Honda 8
'88 17SR  '90 Johnson 90, Honda 8, SOLD

Online GregE

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2017, 11:10:02 AM »
Back in the '50s I went out with my uncle who fished out of Winchester Bay OR in his self built 16' plywood inboard.  I took the invitation to go fishing to mean with rod and reel.  He said while commercial fishing he couldn't even have sport gear on board but gave in to my intreats.

Lost my stack of pancakes and didn't catch a fish- but still remember that trip.
Greg
Osprey 26 LC Kodak;  Arima SR 19 HT; SL 22 Honda 225
http://www.sagecreekforums.com/phpforum/index.php
Sold:  Arima SE 16 WeeBait; SH 15 WeeBoat;
SR 21 NoBait;  SL 22 ReBait

Offline Wiley

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2017, 12:37:21 PM »
Thank you for sharing, very incite full. As a future retirey, and a dreamer of being able to retire and not need an extra income , along with envy of your conquests. I certainly appreciate your efforts. Please continue as we all live vicariously thru you and your adventures.. fish on!!! Well done sir...    :applause:
96 sea explorer 15'-11" new 90 etec named (wutz wuzn cuzn)
10' Don Hill Pram
 Respectfully, Build, Buy, Be American

Offline Rokefin

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2017, 12:52:37 PM »
Tunacious, what poundage do you use on your hand line leaders?  I tried pulling a salmon in by hand once on a broken reel and he snapped the 25 lb leader I was using fairly easy with a couple hard head shakes, seems to me it would be more difficult to do by hand than with rod and reel using the drag unless those toads you are pulling in are tired by the time you start pulling. Must be an art or method to it?
1989 17ft Arima Sea Chaser 2010 115 Yamaha 1995 9.9 Yamaha kicker - Bodega mostly

Offline Tunacious

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2017, 02:43:51 PM »
Tunacious, what poundage do you use on your hand line leaders?  I tried pulling a salmon in by hand once on a broken reel and he snapped the 25 lb leader I was using fairly easy with a couple hard head shakes, seems to me it would be more difficult to do by hand than with rod and reel using the drag unless those toads you are pulling in are tired by the time you start pulling. Must be an art or method to it?

I use 90 lb line.  I don't purposefully leave a fish on the line to tire it out.  Some guys do though.

Some guys actually have a bunge line hooked to their boat and if they get a big one on they snap the fish to the bunge line and go back to fishing while they drag the fish around a bit.

Some not them fight harder than others.  I think the big bucks fight the hardest.

It is for sure harder fighting them in by hand than with a pole.  you have to learn to take in line when they let you and let them go a little whey you have too
2003 Sea Ranger 21' HT
2003 130 Honda

Offline Kimbrey

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 03:36:00 PM »
I'm curious reading your earlier report losing fish due to hooks straightening.  I know it's traditional and maybe easier/quicker to gaff the fish but also the chance of knocking the fish off is there.  Do you think the risk of knocking off a fish with a gaff is the same as using a net?  I was thinking using a net would be less risk but I also got used to single handed netting when sport fishing alone.
2005 Sea Legend --Sold--replaced with 26' Duckworth

Offline Tunacious

Re: Commercial fishing in Port Orford
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2017, 09:13:24 AM »
I'm curious reading your earlier report losing fish due to hooks straightening.  I know it's traditional and maybe easier/quicker to gaff the fish but also the chance of knocking the fish off is there.  Do you think the risk of knocking off a fish with a gaff is the same as using a net?  I was thinking using a net would be less risk but I also got used to single handed netting when sport fishing alone.

I think its a personal preference.

The guy who consistently catches more fish than anybody in Port Orford is my good friend who helped me get into the business.

My buddy uses a net.

The other guy who always catches more fish than the rest of us uses a gaff.

Last year I used a gaff and this year I decided I wanted to move to a net so I got a net all ready and put a better handle on it.

The first day I had the net in my boat and I hated how it was in the way all the time.  I just didn't have a good place to put it where I could get to it and not be in the way.

I took the net out of the boat and went back to the gaff.

I did loose two fish one day because I couldn't get them gaffed properly.

To be honest that was my lack of experience.   :stooges:

Im not really comfortable netting one handed and I just decided to stay with the gaff.
2003 Sea Ranger 21' HT
2003 130 Honda