Know your fisherman

 
 
 

ELIJAH LAWSON

Elijah Lawson has been fishing for over three decades. At ten years old, Elijah started as a second generation fisherman working with his dad.  Elijah has several decades of commercial fishing experience in Bristol Bay, first as a deckhand and now as the captain of his own boat, F/V Potential. When he’s not fishing, he can be found on film sets and on commercial productions all over the world. He also produced and directed In the Same Boat, a film about the fishing families of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

 

How did you get into fishing?

I was a baby in a hammock on my dad’s fishing boat the Lady Luck in Puget Sound. My first job was at 5 years old. Our bi-catch was dogfish. I got a nickel for every dogfish that I grabbed by the tail and whacked on the side of the boat. After I killed them i had to throw them back. My Dad’s thought was that the dogfish ate the salmon eggs and fry so I was helping the salmon out by doing this.

What makes you return to fishing each season?

Adrenaline, the ocean, the air, Alaska, the challenge, the people, and the obsession.

What does being a "commercial fisherman" mean to you?

Commercial fishing in Bristol Bay feeds people all over the world. I’m a farmer of the ocean. I provide some of the best protein in the world to families all over the world. Commercial fisherman feed families!

First Fish – What do you do with it? (Kiss it? Throw it back? Eat it?)

I like to throw back the first fish. I also throw back the big kings when they come on board alive.

What do you do on the 4th of July? Is it a blur of fishing? Do you mark it anyway??

If we aren’t working on the fourth of July then I’m depressed!

What’s the best part of the season?

The best part of the season is when you set the net for the first time and eat your first caught fish. The second best part of the season is when you are on the plane home!

What’s your favorite salmon recipe?

I love smoked fish. We hot smoke our fish in our backyard on cherry wood from a tree I cut down years ago. Just salt and pepper on smoked fish is delicious.

First Fish – What do you do with it? (Kiss it? Throw it back? Eat it?)

I like to throw back the first fish. I also throw back the big kings when they come on board alive.

What do you do on the 4th of July? Is it a blur of fishing? Do you mark it anyway??

If we aren’t working on the fourth of July then I’m depressed!

What’s the best part of the season?

The best part of the season is when you set the net for the first time and eat your first caught fish. The second best part of the season is when you are on the plane home!

What’s your favorite salmon recipe?

I love smoked fish. We hot smoke our fish in our backyard on cherry wood from a tree I cut down years ago. Just salt and pepper on smoked fish is delicious.


 

CLICK ON THE PHOTOS BELOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BRISTOL BAY'S HARD-WORKING FISHERMEN AND FAMILIES.