‘Salmonar’ teachesnovices to fish like a pro

Published on Thu, Feb 23, 2006 by ack Kintner

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‘Salmonar’ teaches novices to fish like a pro

By Jack Kintner

An old rule about fishing says that some people like to talk about it while others just catch fish.

Jim Jorgensen is an exception, having helped charter customers catch salmon for almost 40 years. For 25 of them, he’s also talked about it in teaching his popular class on fishing methods.

Jorgensen, 67, a retired science teacher at Blaine and current Port of Bellingham commissioner, holds the oldest currently active charter license with the state of Washington, dating back to the ‘60s.

Like licenses for gill netters and purse seiners, the state is not issuing any new ones so people who wish to enter the business must buy another skipper’s papers.

Jorgensen (who’s not at all interested in selling) says he thinks they go for about $10 to $15,000 if you can find someone willing to sell. The state requires you to already have your Coast Guard master’s license, commonly called a “six-pack.”

Jorgensen’s reputation for seldom if – ever – coming back empty handed has led to a long list of repeat customers and such notables on board as Arnold Palmer, who frequented the area when designing Semiahmoo’s golf course. This year’s edition of the Salmonar runs weekly on Thursday evenings beginning March 2 through April 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Shuksan middle school cafeteria just south of I-5 exit 257 on Northwest Road and Alderwood Avenue in Bellingham.
Jorgensen takes the class through the basics of fishing with downriggers, trolling, mooching and jigging, and teaches a bit of seamanship in talking about tides and currents using a marine chart.
He also covers fishing regulations in Washington state and B.C., electronics, salmon life cycles and species identification, knot tying, how to cut and prepare bait and the kinds of rods, reels and line needed.

He doesn’t cover the esoteric nuances of fly fishing, a subject worth a course in its own right, nor does he teach people how to build a rod, though he once did.

“There’s just too much to cover already,” Jorgensen said, who has built and used his own rods for decades. His boat is named after a line of fishing lures he once manufactured.

The last class on April 6 is taught by Steve Jones of Blaine and deals with methods and equipment used in bottom fishing for such species as sole, cod, snapper and halibut.

The class cost is $85 and includes all materials except the marine chart #18421 that students are expected to furnish themselves.

For more information or to ernroll call Jorgensen at 332-6724.