I just published my book, How to Fish Without Getting Caught, about my adventures as a young man commercial fishing in Puget Sound.
I bought my first commercial fishing boat in 1976 with my college roommate Mark Halstrom, also Class of 1977. We taught ourselves to commercial fish the hard way, with a great deal of trial and error — at times barely keeping the boat afloat. This book chronicles our adventures, fun, mistakes, hard work, and dangers we experienced fishing Puget Sound.
The first two years that we fished, we lived in the dorms at SPU. I was burning the candle at both ends back then. I was an R.A. in Ashton Hall, taking classes full time, and commercial fishing at nights, often Sunday and Monday nights, then going to classes on Tuesday. I was asked to leave my Tuesday night class on more than one occasion because I was snoring too loudly. Then there was the time someone from the administration interrupted our sociology class to announce "Michael Bade’s boat is sinking!"
Shortly after we started fishing, Judge George Boldt made a controversial ruling stating native tribes could take 50 percent of the fish harvest, and the non-native fishermen could do the same. This ended most fishing to non-native commercial fishermen, which constituted the majority of the commercial fleet fishing Washington waters at that time.
When the state refused to enforce the ban on its "own" fishermen, Judge Boldt ordered federal agents to chase down fishermen, using armed Coast Guard cutters, high-speed zodiacs, and, at times, helicopters. What is considered to be the most dangerous profession in the world became more dangerous as Northwest fishermen fought to keep their livelihood.
In the end, Mark and I faced dangers and fears — and even thrived in the commercial fishing industry in the late 1970s.
— Michael Bade '77