View Full Version : Life After Thru-Hike: Need A Job?

02-28-2015, 14:07
Hello everyone. After graduating college I went through a period backpacking addiction all over the United States for a couple years. Many others on this forum can relate. During this time frame I found myself on the AT, PCT, Florida Trail, Arizona Trail, and eventually penniless camping in Alaska. This is a tough point a lot of young hikers come to, not knowing what comes next in life. I realized it was finally necessary to actually get a serious job. What a grand idea it would be to get into commercial fishing. This was an industry I would get into without sacrificing my life in an office, a means to fulfill my cravings for adrenaline and adventure. I embarked on my new career quickly learning I could make enough money and have enough free time to continue on my journey of exploring this beautiful planet we live in. Commercial fishing changed my lifestyle in subsequent years and I continue to love every minute of it. I have an amazing job the gives me the ability to work extremely hard for periods of time and travel the world in my off time.
Right now I am looking to hire someone for an entry level position this summer from approximately May 15th-End of September on Kodiak Island in Alaska. It is working at a remote salmon fishing setnet site. The work is hard both mentally and physically. If you are one of the few who are capable of the grind, for 4 straight months working every single day up to 20 hours, the end result can be very rewarding. You will have enough money to thru-hike any trail or visit any country. It is very hard to find good people who can handle the work and enjoy it at the same time. Over half of people who start a season end up leaving within a few weeks burdening the remaining crewman in camp.
From my past hiking I have learned how many of the same qualities that are desirable in a commercial fishing crewman are often found in a thru-hiker. The endurance, stamina, mental toughness, physical strength, etc of completing a 4 month grind. I get sick of hiring people who complain about being out of town, miss the bars, want a shower, cant handle primitive living, whine about the work, and can't keep a smile on their face in times of adversity and stress. The living conditions have similarities as well with the fish camp located a day by boat or 1 hour by plane out of town. You are living in cabins off the grid in the middle of a wildlife refuge. Grizzly bears roam the land and fish swim the sea. The office it truly amazing for the right type of person. It can also be brutal when strong weather rolls in.
It is an incredibly hard grind at times but there is a very tangible reward at the end that always keeps me going. I'm deciding to take a different approach this time in hiring and thinking outside the box a little more. I want to see if there are any young men in the hiking community who are interested in applying for this position. It is the exact same background that led me down the path to becoming a commercial fisherman. All of the qualities I see in thru-hikers would apply very well to salmon fishing.
Would there be any interested people in the hiking community who would want to apply for this job? It is entry level and everything will be taught to the right person, you just need ability to learn. Mental and physical strength/toughness are necessary. Perhaps thru-hikers from recent years who are a bit lost with what to do at this point in life much as I was at one time ???

02-28-2015, 15:52
How much money are you talking?

02-28-2015, 16:46
Send me a PM with an email to send a resume off to. Or would you prefer it a different way?

02-28-2015, 16:56
General questions can be answered here but for anybody serious about applying or that wants to send a resume, please email [email protected]

02-28-2015, 17:10
Money is obviously important but it won't be the sole reason someone wants or gets this job. Commercial fishing is risky business with no guarantees. It can be boom or bust depending on the season. If money is the only reason someone wants this job it will not work out for them, they will wash out within a few weeks. There has to be an underlying passion to endure a full season of commercial fishing, it is a real grind. There is no hourly wage, we all work together for the big picture of catching the most fish we possibly can. It is percentage based pay which will be discussed with any serious applicants. I go home with one big check at the end of each season.

03-03-2015, 18:07
Here is a basic description of a season I typed up today:

Thanks for the interest. There are no specific qualifications for this position although mental and physical toughness are essential to success. Entry level is just basically meaning a younger person in this case. The physical demands of the job our obviously much easier on a young in shape person. No experience is necessary, you just need to show up with an eagerness to learn. The job starts in Kodiak on May 13th-17th depending on when you can get up there. You are responsible for getting your own flight. We will all meet in the town of Kodiak around that time. I usually show up every year on the 15th. We will all stay in a hotel a couple days in town (which will be payed for) and will get all our last minute supplies, licenses, gear, etc in order. Then we will fly on a small rented float plane from town and get dropped of out at the fishing camp on the other side of the island. The actual site borders the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge and is not connected by any roads to town. It is a day by boat or 1 hour plane ride. It is in the "bush". There are 5 cabins out at camp where we will stay for the entire summer and catch as many salmon as possible! The beginning will be a couple weeks of preparation for the season including spring cleaning, repairing nets, setting anchors and lines for our net, cutting up driftwood for firewood, etc. These days will typically be loosely 8 am until 8 pm of pecking away at all the odd jobs we need to get done to prepare everything for fishing. The real fun starts in June when the season opens and we start fishing like crazy. Then the work becomes driving up and down the net (set right out in front of the cabins) in one of the aluminum skiffs. We fish with one big net set in the ocean
that is 600 feet long and about 40 feet deep. Starting at 5 am until dark (as late as 1 am at peak solstice) we pick fish out of the net, clean the net, put the fish on ice in holding barge, and guard the net from up on the hill where we have a high lookout point (to keep the sea lions from robbing us). There are scheduled days when the fishing closes down, usually a couple days a week, and we take the net out before closure and then set it back out when it opens again. On closure days there is time for a little more sleep but it is also necessary to continuously meand the nets from the damage they incur being set in the ocean (like whale wholes, sea lion holes, tears, etc.) It has to be upkept so as many fish as possible get gilled in it. We will have one brand new net this season which will be nice. This type of scene plays out over the course of the summer, it gets easier over time because there is less daylight and the fish slow down later in the season. June and July during peak season is a non stop frantic pace some people can struggle with. The season ends typically around the beginning of September with a week or two of cleanup and winterizing the cabins at the end. I flew home from Kodiak last year on the 21st of September to give you an idea. It's possible it could end in July too, you just never have a whole lot of certainty in commercial fishing because it is highly regulated by fish and game. It just depends on the numbers of fish that are returning to their rivers. With ending times very much up in the air please just specify on your application if you need to be done by a certain day, for instance you start college on such and such day. Accommodating end dates especially for school reasons is no big deal.This is a general outline of how a season goes and the most of the major tasks involved. Everything can be learned if you have the will and mindset to do so. I can teach you how to mean nets like a pro. Picking fish out of the net is easy for most people once you get the hang of it. Things like driving the skiff can be slowly learned in the first few weeks. I personally find this job fun. Certainly not every minute. It seems like half the time is hell and the other half is pure bliss. The times of pure bliss I get and the big paycheck at the end vastly outweighs the misery for me. I love having Kodiak Island as my office, getting the adrenaline rush of catching boat fulls of fish, living in the bush, and getting paid for having a grand adventure. It really comes down to a person wanting to undertake a challenge like this and having the physical and mental ability to succeed at it.

Again thanks for your interest and I strongly encourage you to apply if you feel like you would be up for it and want a new adventure in life. Email [email protected] for an application.

03-25-2015, 10:07
We will be meeting in Kodiak May 13th this year. Any new hire would have to arrive by the 15th at the latest. Still taking applications for a bit longer...

Rolls Kanardly
03-25-2015, 12:23
I did not know that hiking websites had personnel departments where you could apply for jobs.
Is there a new jobbing.com out there?


04-06-2015, 00:35
Well, it definitely strikes a chord that I can relate too.
I've spent a couple months after the trail thinking about what kind of work I could do that would actually require travel, minimalism, and hard work where you can actually earn a decent paycheck. Commercial Fishing was one of the ideas but I didn't look too far into it because I have no connections into the industry.

So I locked into OTR trucking. I actually start training next week otherwise I'd give this a hard shot and commit for a whole season to see how I'd do. Will blog about it like I did for the AT