John and Nora Skeele
Sockeye Salmon, Halibut, Spot Prawns
John didn’t grow up fishing, but spending a few years in Sitka watching the boats return to harbor and unload their bounties inspired him to give it a try. He invested in a cheap, old salmon troller and on his very first day out, lost nearly all of his gear. Despite what some may have regarded as the beginning and end of a fishing career, John landed two rather large king salmon that day and considered himself hooked.
John’s earnings that first year allowed him to upgrade to a new boat before the start of the next season. Driven by the notion that “fishing is what you make of it,” and having the opportunity to spend his days in the unspoiled, pristine waters around Sitka has kept John fishing for 37 years. In 2010, he transitioned to the F/V Sunfish, a gillnetter. In addition to requiring a different pace, this vessel has allowed John the opportunity to explore new fishing grounds.
As is true for many others in our Salmon Shares fleet, fishing runs in the family for the Skeeles. John fishes alongside his daughter, Nora, while his son Marsh captains the F/V Loon. “To be able to spend so much family time…that’s one of the things I like best about fishing.”