About

Hooked was initially requested by friends who liked reading my Facebook fishing updates.  “I think Tele should write a blog about her adventures at sea,” one declared, and others agreed.  The idea intrigued me.  I love sharing stories from a lifestyle so foreign to most people, Facebook’s 420 character limit is frustrating for someone of my written verbosity (definitely not a Tweeter, here), and, without a readership to be accountable to, I’m prone to lapsing into literary laziness.

In its development, the vision behind Hooked evolved. It became evident that these stories wanted to fly further, beyond the reaches of familiar friends and loved ones.  As cultural values shift toward a deeper understanding of our food – where it comes from, how it reaches our tables – consumers are more interested in knowing their harvester. From our perspective as independent marketers of our salmon, it’s increasingly important for us to build a closer relationship with the public, to educate about the sustainability of wild Alaskan seafood and forge partnerships to manage and protect this stunning resource.

For land-locked friends who aren’t able to stroll down a dock to meet your local fishermen, it’s my hope that Hooked can facilitate that connection, the opportunity to build a relationship – even if only virtually – beyond boundaries of soil and sea.  And you, friend? Please share what brought you here, what you’re seeking, what Hooked can offer that’s meaningful to your life.

So here we are:

Delivering gorgeous frozen-at-sea wild king salmon - the absolute best you can get.

I’m Tele (pronounced Tell-ah).  I went to sea at 7, when my veterinarian parents launched the sailboat they’d been building in our Wasilla backyard.  Since then, I’ve spent 22 seasons commercial fishing in Southeast Alaska (salmon, black cod, halibut, shrimp), interrupted only by a tremendously privileged 7 years as a social worker with Seattle’s homeless youth and young adults. Some personal details… I habitually call people “sweetie” and will almost certainly end up peppering Hooked with that endearment. I’m fascinated by people’s stories, obsessed with ravens and other corvids, and am a sucker for delicious baked treats. When not mucking about in boats, I write, quilt, travel, overfeed our yard squirrels, and write old-school, drop-in-the-mail cards as often as possible.

Joel got his sea legs at 2 weeks old. He grew up on the Nerka, and there was never much question about his path – this was a kid obsessed. Soon as the boat came to town, he’d hit the dock, fishin’ pole in hand, and jig for hours. Midway through the 2004 season, his dad turned to him and said, “I don’t think I want to do this anymore… How about you take over next year?” In a hair-raising trial by (almost-everything-but) fire, Joel became Cap’n J at the age of 22.  In the off-season, Joel chases adventure with the same fervor  he chases king salmon with. He seeks the less-peopled path, surrounding himself in natural beauty and wild places. An aspiring photographer, you can view his work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelbp/ (He also makes a mean pesto salmon.)

Our family isn’t complete without Bear the Boat Cat. After several months in the care of the Sitka Animal Shelter, she joined us in July 2006. Of moss green eyes and a generous waddle, she’s an unlikely fisherman, no interest in fish hearts or the happenings on deck.  Instead, she does an excellent job as the Nerka‘s Chief Morale Officer, from the comfort of the bunk.

She's an excellent driver...

50 responses

29 03 2011
backcountrywriter

Tele: I found you on She Writes. My brother operates the 54′ sailing troller Preamble. To quote the Faces Of California Fishing, “To survive the ongoing California salmon disaster, in 2007 Captain Barbre began trolling for salmon in Southeast Alaska.” Maybe you’ve met?

I’m living in the Southern Sierra foothills and really miss the ocean, the smell of fishing boats, the feel of being on the water. So thank you for your blog. I look forward to reading more.

By the way, do you think Bear the Boat Cat would like to drop a note to my cat, Smoke? Her blog is at http://smoke-feralfeline-cj-barbre.blogspot.com ? She’s not keen on water but I think she might enjoy a fish story.

31 03 2011
Tele

So good to meet you, CJ! I don’t think I’ve actually met your brother, but I definitely know the boat – isn’t that the way it goes, knowing boats better than their people? I remember seeing the Preamble tied up in Sitka a few years back, admiring the clever fish “slide” your brother’s got to get fish from the stern to the hold. Is he planning to come north again? I heard a rumor that California trollers might have a better shot this year than they’ve had in a while.

Also – Smoke is beautiful, and has a brilliant voice! Cap’n J and I spent some time last night debating what kind of voice Bear has. Didn’t really come to a conclusion yet. Perhaps we’ll discover it in her communications with Smoke… Anyway, I laughed out loud at her profile comment about everything she hates. Happy that you two found each other.

7 04 2011
Deborah

Hello Tele,

Thank you for visiting my blog, and enabling me to find yours. My goodness, you write well! I can see exactly why your friends urged you to write more – there’s a lovely natural quality about your pieces. I shall certainly revisit for a longer read!

7 04 2011
Ashley

The description of bear is fantastic. You string words together so wonderfully!

8 04 2011
Tele

I’m so glad that Bear’s description rings true to one of her primary buddies! I don’t think she’ll be overly impressed with the role she plays in Hooked, but she’s a pretty integral character all the same.

4 08 2011
cedar marie

How can I reach you via e-mail?

6 08 2011
Tele

Just sent you an email, Cedar Marie – thanks for checking in; will look forward to hearing from you.

4 08 2011
Keith Chaplin

Tele,
I stumbled upon your blog yesterday, and couldn’t keep from reading every single post! I am the writer for the Petersburg Pilot, originally from Mount Vernon, Wash. Learning about commercial fishing and the people that fish in Southeast Alaska has been a great perk of my job, and your blog is really insightful.
You are an excellent writer, keep it up! I look forward to more posts.
Keith Chaplin

6 08 2011
Tele

Keith, thanks so much for your kind words! I’m delighted that ours paths crossed. The Sitka library carries the Pilot; it’ll be fun to take a look and recognize your name. Appreciate the comment very much. Be well!

28 08 2011
Fiona Ryan

Hi Tele,

Fiona R here. Thank you for your posting on my Picasa site. I’m really looking forward to reading your blog–you’re very prolific–it’s going to take me awhile to catch up.

The days i spent in LB (I crewed on a small, family-run pot shrimper) were the best of my life in many ways. And that’s saying a lot since we worked 7 days a week when the pots were running full. I felt like I was living in a Nat Geo special every day. Still want to live in Sitka again one day.

Warm regards,
Fi

7 09 2011
Tele

Hello Fiona! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting – a pleasure to hear from a fellow LB devotee. I’d love to hear about commercial shrimping inside the Bay; I spent a couple autumns on small shrimpers up here, but we were primarily inside Chatham and Hoonah Sound.

Cheers –
T

15 10 2011
Herb

Glad I found you. We are the nutso sailing retireded people. Next summer we head for Alaska and am trying to glean as much info as possible. One of my fears is getting in too close to a fishing boat and incurring their wrath. So my education continues. Going to read all in your blog, great stuff, thanks.

15 10 2011
Tele

Delighted to meet you, Herb – thanks so much for stopping by! Don’t fret too much about wrath… We trollers rarely seem to be in the same bits of ocean as sailboats, and our greatest anxiety comes from their unpredictability – not knowing quite what the sailor’s plan is or which way the boat will point next. Please keep me posted on your whereabouts and how it’s going, and if you have any questions particular to the Inside Passage or Southeast, feel free to drop me a message. Congratulations on this fantastic new adventure of your lives!

12 11 2011
Kari

So glad Cami “introduced” us! I love your blog–so much so that I just had to give it an award. :-)

http://irunoutloud.blogspot.com/2011/11/versatile-blogger-awards-go-to.html

20 01 2012
Tele

Ah, jeez! Many thanks, Kari, and I’m also glad we met through Cami. I’m just venturing into this running business that you all do, and am very inspired by you both!

8 01 2012
fivereflections

what a very interesting and hard adventure this must be! I hope to read more about your world

David in Maine USA

20 01 2012
Tele

From one end of the country to the other, I’m so pleased to meet you, David. Please keep the Tankas coming!

12 01 2012
patriciasands

Oh what a delight to find you through Claire in France … don’t you just love the connections of this small planet? I too could not stop reading your blog and will continue to follow. I’ll connect with you on SheWrites too! It’s such a privilege to be invited to learn about the incredible variety of ways people live their life. Fabulous writing! Thanks!

20 01 2012
Tele

So good of you to stop by, Patricia! Yes, I’m definitely a fan of the ways that our world becomes smaller – yet richer, and more complex – through these virtual connections. Best wishes on your writing sabbatical in France – sounds wonderful, and I’m staying tuned for your updates!

6 02 2012
kathrynmartins1

Hi Tele. While reading, i couldn’t help thinking you’re like a character in a book and your life is like something from a story. Then i caught myself, because stories are nothing BUT real. What a life you have :-)

8 02 2012
Tele

Well, thank you. :) Yes, the realness of our stories becomes their appeal, doesn’t it? My favorite part is discovering so many examples of folks whose lives are so vastly different from my own, but the common threads of our experiences and understandings of ourselves. Lovely to meet you, Kathryn!

16 02 2012
kathrynmartins1

Tele, wanted to say that i enjoyed today’s honouring equality post but something’s fishy with the page and it won’t load. Anyhow, thanks for posting. Like button clicked (in spirit :-) )

16 02 2012
Tele

Well, funny thing about that… I managed to hit an unknown magic combo of keys and publish that post long before it was actually ready to air, panicked, and yanked it down. You and Hooked’s other email buddies got a special sneak preview, Kathryn! I’m delighted that you enjoyed it, and thank you for making the effort to let me know of the fishiness. (Fishiness! On Hooked! Ha.) :)

29 02 2012
fivereflections

snowing in Maine right now – wear your yellow slicker! mug of hot coffee too.

David in Maine USA

1 03 2012
Tele

David, did you leave a comment in tanka form? This is marvelous – thank you so much!

Hmm… Think I need a little more coffee now, sounds good. :)

3 03 2012
Emily a la Blog

Tele, it was so nice to meet you tonight across the crowded room, hear your voice, and see your smile. I look forward to getting to know you better via blogs. :) And someday, we’ll have an actual conversation.

7 03 2012
Tele

You too, Emily! I was so delighted to realize that was your lovely self down that long table. I’d hoped to give you an in-person hug and greeting, but my ride home was in a hurry afterwards. Another time; exchanging hugs and best wishes in spirit for the meanwhile.

6 03 2012
eastbaywriter

Tele, any chance I could reach you by email? I’m at aneastbaywriter [at] gmail com.

7 03 2012
The Oasis Projekt

I’m beyond impressed and very excited to have found you! I’ve spent 3 summers in Alaska in fish canneries, from Kenai to South Naknek, and I muss Alaska tremendously. I am very concerned with keeping Alaska as it is.

Currently I’m working to start a non-profit, paying my rent through photography, and dreaming up ways to get back up to Alaska. It’s my part time job. ;)

Glad I found you!

Dug
http://tr4f.wordpress.com

12 03 2012
kathrynmartins1

Tele, just wanted to let you know that i nominated you today for the Beautiful Blogger and Very Inspiring Blogger awards. Link:

http://kathrynmartins1.wordpress.com/

13 03 2012
Tele

Kathryn, that’s so very kind! Many thanks – what a lovely surprise.

11 04 2012
thebaldwinpoet.wordpress.com

Hello Tele: Love your blog. Great writing, very natural and easy to relate to. Bear is a sweetie; adorable. I have two Chief Morale officers myself, Mikey and Simba. I found your blog through “fivereflections” David in Maine and his beautiful Haiku’s; thank you David.

24 04 2012
Nicky Wells

Hi Tele! I found you via Patricia Sands, and I am so glad I did. This is an amazing blog! I love the whole idea of what you do, your life at sea, everything. I don’t know if I’d be cut out for it but it certainly is a dream of mine. I look forward to following your blog and reading your stories, your diary. Maybe that’ll give me a flavour for what life is really like out there… Thanks, so glad to have found Hooked!

24 04 2012
Tom Jr

I am really enjoying reading your Blog ! I really enjoy reading about people’s adventures while adding story’s to my own ! I cannot wait till I arrive in Alaska and finally get to experience it for myself ! Again thank you very much for taking the time to write and keeping us enlightened with your way of life!
Tom Jr

15 05 2012
Heather Aronno

Tele, I was hoping I could get in touch with you through email. Could you drop me a line when you have a chance? Thanks!

19 07 2012
Graham Milne

Hey Tele – I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. All the best!

8 08 2012
Tele

Ah jeez! Many thanks, Graham, and deeply appreciated. The feeling is mutual, friend!

6 08 2012
bluegrassgemini

Tele, I appreciate your ‘Living Seasonally’ post, as I am about to embark on an adventure of my own as a (green, very green) deckhand aboard the schooner Isaac H. Evans in Rockland, ME. Thank you for your interesting and insightful posts.

I am keeping a blog as well: tuckerstravels.tumblr.com.

Cheers!
Tucker

8 08 2012
Tele

Lovely to meet you, Tucker – thanks so much for stopping by, saying hello, and giving us a heads-up on your forthcoming adventures! Funny, I was just talking last night to a first-time fishing deckhand whose background is on tall ships, including on the Hudson. I’ll look forward to checking into and following your blog. Good luck, be safe, and enjoy your adventure!

16 09 2012
Phil Andrus

Hi Tele,

A friend of mine, Jim Prince, skipper of a different Nerka, told me of your blog on Friday last, after he heard my interview of another women who fished commercially, Erin Fristad. However, I think I’ve seen your boat before, that is if you’ve worked on her in the Port Townsend boatyard, where I work as Port Townsend Marine Electric. Also, I think I’ve seen a flyer of yours in the Tonasket Food Coop. Possible?

But my real reason for writing is to invite you to join me on my regular show, Tossed Salad, on Port Townsend’s KPTZ Fm, should you ever come to Port Townsend and get in touch with me in advance of your visit. Other fishing folk I’ve interviewed are Rick Oltman, of the Cape Cleare, and Marty McCallum, of the seiner Indiana. Lastly, I wonder if you’ve met a friend of mine, Lee Greeley, who fishes out of Meyers Chuck. If you haven’t met her, I suggest you make an effort to do so.

Best regards,

Phil Andrus

8 10 2012
Tele

I’m delighted to meet you here, Phil – thanks so much for stopping by! Sounds like we’ve got as many connections as possible without having actually met yet… Yes, the PT Boat Yard is our other home. Over the past 5 years, we’ve spent a lot of time with Tim Hoffmann and Tim Quandt – some of the most skilled and enjoyable craftsmen I know – and will be there again this winter, hauling out in early November. (And yes, the Tonasket Food Coop carries our smoked salmon. Good eye!)

Tossed Salad sounds great; thanks so much for the invitation. I’d love to join you sometime this winter. Will let you know when we’re settled over there, and wish you the best until then.

4 10 2012
Rachel Lord

Hi Tele,
Do you have an email address where I could get in touch? I’m coming down to Sitka at the end of October for the Alaska Assoc. of Harbormasters & Port Administrators annual meeting and it would be great to meet you! I’ve begun working in the past few years with harbors around Alaska (www.alaskacleanharbors.org) on waste management/pollution prevention, and I’m looking into various concerns from fleets (lack of services, waste management needs, etc). Your blog is fantastic, and I’d love to get feedback from you if you were at all interested.
Best,
Rachel
http://www.alaskacleanharbors.org (a work in progress!)

8 10 2012
Tele

Thanks for your work on the harbors, Rachel! I’ll be in touch…

10 10 2012
Steve Lewis

I’d like to use your image of the Chasina off Fairweather in a lesson I’m preparing for 7th graders at Blatchley Middle School and the Sitka WhaleFest Scientist in the Schools program—-would that be OK?
Thanks,
Steve

10 10 2012
Tele

Sure thing, Steve – thanks for asking, and you’re most welcome. I’m looking forward to joining the Whalefest festivities this year, have never before been.

(I think you should be able to grab that photo directly off the post? If not, let me know and I’ll send it to you directly.)

10 10 2012
Steve Lewis

Thanks—-it worked directly. Looking forward to meeting you at WhaleFest.

12 10 2012
Phil Andrus

Hi Tele,

Thanks for replying to my email of a week or two ago. I’ll keep an eye out for your Nerka next month and stop by to introduce myself when I see her on the hard. We’ll make arrangements then for you to join me on my show on KPTZ. If you’d like to listen, and have a suitably fast Net connection, you can hear my show, and all that KPTZ has to offer, at KPTZ.org.

Best,

Phil

14 10 2012
Tom Winn

Hi Tele,
I don’t believe I’ve met you, but I know Joel and his family. To go way back, Mary Jean used to volunteer in my computer classroom helping individual students try to strike up an email conversation with some other kid somewhere.Those were the days of bulletin boards, not too different from blogs, and when Yahoo had about thirty sites total to link to. Boy has the world changed since then! Not sure I ever had Joel in class but definitely had his sister in a keyboarding class. Then Mary Jean mentioned me to Mary Wohleb, who was their friend and single at the time like I was. Well it took me ten years but I finally asked Mary to marry me. Of course what did we eat and feed our guests? Nerka Salmon, the best in the world.
Just saw the story about your finding that floating fisherman, then found your blog via the November issue of Soundings Magazine. Interesting that the news story quoted didn’t even mention that you guys spotted the guy in the tote.
So, now that I’m retired, I like to think of myself as a sailor, though I also kayak, hike, tele ski, and bike. I lived on a motorboat for six years before my wife at the time insisted we move off to raise kids. My first serious sailboat boat was Chamai, which was a Rawson Pilothouse (30′) model. It was in Sitka, so I went up to look and immediately knew I had to buy it. Sailed it back down here to La Conner. Then we were kayaking one day and I found another Rawson pilothouse which had superior layout and hardware, so we ended up selling Chamai, and renaming the new boat Raven, due to the fact that we see them both in the mountains and out in the islands. I guess the Raven crew in the bare tree at Eliason Harbor in Sitka was what probably gave me that idea. They were such gregarious and hilarious characters! And of course there’s a story behind the renaming. “Sailed” Raven up to Port Protection summer before last to visit our fisherfolk friends John and Judy Magnuson of the Harmony. They’re old school trollers. That was a great trip. Lots of whales but not much wind. I learned a new term for wind direction–“noserly”. Not what a sailor wants.
Anyhow, nice to meet you and hear you have returned safely from another season of fishing work and fun. Keep up the great stories!
….Tom

18 10 2012
Stephen Rhoads

Tele,
Beth has started reading the second book. I hope you two are enjoying it. I have a couple more books that are further out on the edge waiting for next summer. Seth Kantner is keynote speak at whalefest in early Nov. I am giddy.
Here is something I force my crew to listen to every summer. I suggest headphones and some time to yourself. It saved my winter a couple of years ago. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102692227

-slr

18 10 2012
Tele

Stephen! Hello!

Funny you should stop by… Joel devoured The Year of the Flood on our run south, loved it, and just today I put both books in my packing pile to hand-deliver to you. I’m pretty giddy about Seth, too – so giddy that I decided to hop a plane and come join you all for Whalefest this year. :)

I’m intrigued by your link. Will listen to it this weekend and get back to you. Many thanks for sharing!

See you at pie ‘n coffee in a couple weeks…
T

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