Diary: What it’s Like to Ride Solo During a Fishing Season

Diary of a POCF: Riding Solo

Every partner of a commercial fisherman quickly learns that you can’t make plans with your fisherman during a season. Since the job depends on the weather, and hitting it hard the first few weeks/months of the season, expecting your fisherman to show up to a group dinner, an event, or a show will only bring disappointment. Like many POCFs, you’re probably used to this by now. But it still takes me by surprise every year.

A few weeks ago, I got an email asking me to photograph the Van Morrison/Taj Mahal show at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Let me explain this: When I first got the job as the editor years ago before Chris, I wondered why we didn’t have a relationship with the SB Bowl. I asked the publisher if I could pursue it, and I took off once I got the green light. I ended up photographing shows I’d never thought possible, like Aerosmith, Neil Young, and the Alabama Shakes, to name a few. So, when my request for tickets to Van Morrison got approved this year, I was stoked! Along with my photo pass, I got two press tickets, too. (The bonus of writing with a local paper is that although the pay isn’t great, the perks are excellent if you work it.)

I asked Chris, although I knew the answer. After a few days of pretending it may work, he admitted he couldn’t do it. We both act it could work this time, and I know it pains him to miss it. Not that he’s a Morrison fan, but to feel normal for an evening without the thought of lobsters sounded like a nice vacation. And maybe our way of that vacation was pretending he could come. The thrill of excitement was a nice change. 

I went to that show and rocked out by myself as usual and “miracle’d” someone (i.e., gave my extra ticket away for free) in the lot. Actually, one of my favorite things to do is to go to shows by myself, a habit I picked up in my bachelorette days. But I must admit that seeing Mahal and Morrison without Chris is a bummer.

But the most crucial point here is, IT’S OK TO HAVE FUN WITHOUT YOUR PARTNER. I think many POCFs feel guilty for living their best lives while their partners are at sea. I sure did.

The first summer we dated, I kind of felt bad about going out with my friends or going to shows while Chris was fishing in Bristol Bay, so when we’d finally connect on those brief phone calls, I would leave some stories out. It turns out Chris wanted to hear those stories. It made him feel more connected to my life and our relationship and gave him something to think about other than fishing. Honestly, I’m not sure how long our relationship would have lasted if he wasn’t “cool with it.”

So, the moral of the story is that there will be missed events, family gatherings, and other joyous occasions they will miss. But your life doesn’t stop when they get on the boat.

You have permission to LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE! Don’t wait for the season to be over to do it.

Meet with your friends (call a sitter if you have to), go on trips, or get tickets to the show. Keep serving that independent spirit of yours because, season after season, she will always be there to guide you through. 🐟

What were some events where you had to roll solo? Please share in the comments below!

If you liked this, you’d love Diary of a POCF: The Secret Life

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