Four Thousand Hooks: A True Story of Fishing and Coming of Age on the High Seas of Alaska

Overview

As Four Thousand Hooks opens, an Alaskan fishing schooner is sinking. It is the summer of 1972, and the sixteen-year-old narrator is at the helm. Backtracking from the gripping prologue, Dean Adams tells how he came to be a crew member on the Grant and unfolds a tale of adventure that reads like a novel—with drama, conflict, and resonant portrayals of halibut fishing, his ragtag shipmates, maritime Alaska, and the ambiguities of family life.

At sea, the Grant's crew teach Dean ...

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Overview

As Four Thousand Hooks opens, an Alaskan fishing schooner is sinking. It is the summer of 1972, and the sixteen-year-old narrator is at the helm. Backtracking from the gripping prologue, Dean Adams tells how he came to be a crew member on the Grant and unfolds a tale of adventure that reads like a novel—with drama, conflict, and resonant portrayals of halibut fishing, his ragtag shipmates, maritime Alaska, and the ambiguities of family life.

At sea, the Grant's crew teach Dean the daily tasks of baiting thousands of longline hooks and handling the catch, and on shore they lead him through the seedy bars and guilty pleasures of Kodiak. Exhausted by twenty-hour workdays and awed by the ocean's raw power, he observes examples of human courage and vulnerability and emerges with a deeper knowledge of himself and the world.

Four Thousand Hooks is both an absorbing adventure story and a rich ethnography of a way of life and work that has sustained Northwest families for generations. This coming of age story will appeal to readers-including young adults-interested in ocean adventures, commercial fishing, maritime life, and the Northwest Coast.

Dean Adams went on to become the captain of his own fishing boat and to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Science at the University of Washington. He and his family live in Seattle and Kerikeri, New Zealand.

"A real-life account of a young man's first season working as a crew member on his uncle's commercial fishing boat in the 1970s. Adams tells of the drunken shore leave, the surprising gentleness and understanding between crew members, and the rough but careful teaching of any new crew member to be part of a team upon which one sometimes had to depend for one's survival." -Margaret Willson, author of Dance Lest We All Fall Down: Breaking the Cycles of Poverty in Brazil and Beyond

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Editorial Reviews

Ketchikan Daily News - Scott Bowlen

'Hooks' has the feel of an honest memoir, valuable for its precision in describing fishing methods, crew interactions, and what Adams thought and felt...

Seattle Times - Irene Wanner

Four Thousand Hooks is a marvellous loss-of-innocence book, informative, enjoyable and well worth reading.

Norwegian American Weekly - Christy Olsen Field

His first-hand accounts come alive on the pages, where the reader is swept into the story with the narrator.... The foreshadowing and timing of the story makes it difficult to stop...

October 15 - National Fisherman

Four Thousand Hooks says a lot about our ability to meet extraordinary challenges, and suggests that maybe we're all stronger and more capable than we realize. [It’s] filled with fascinating details of the fishing life, makes for awfully good reading.

Mariners Mirror - Arthur G. Credland

"The well-honed prose tells a good story and one is encouraged to turn the pages to see what happens next. This is not only a very readable book but an important record of a particular type of fishing.

Independent Publisher - Jennifer Huffman

Four Thousand Hooks is one teenage boy's dramatic, yet humorous, coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Alaskan maritime culture... a vivid picture of life and commercial fishing conditions in Alaska...

Boston Globe - Ethan Gilsdorf

This is pure adventure. Dean's story is…sinewy and spare, understated and often gorgeously written.

Southeast Sea Kayaks Blog - Charlotte Glover

Four Thousand Hooks [is] one of the best books about commercial fishing in Alaska. The author began long-lining for halibut at age fifteen and went on to captain his own vessel: it is a great book for anyone interested in life on a commercial fishing vessel.

From the Publisher
"Four Thousand Hooks says a lot about our ability to meet extraordinary challenges, and suggests that maybe we're all stronger and more capable than we realize. [It's] filled with fascinating details of the fishing life, makes for awfully good reading." -National Fisherman

"Four Thousand Hooks is a marvellous loss-of-innocence book, informative, enjoyable and well worth reading." -Irene Wanner, Seattle Times, November 2012

"His first-hand accounts come alive on the pages, where the reader is swept into the story with the narrator. . . . The foreshadowing and timing of the story makes it difficult to stop . . ."-Christy Olsen Field, Norwegian American Weekly, October 2012

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295993331
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2013
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,399,865
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean Adams went on to become the captain of his own fishing boat and to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Science at the University of Washington. He and his family live in Seattle and Kerikeri, New Zealand.

University of Washington Press

Dean Adams became the captain of his own fishing boat and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Science at the University of Washington. He and his family live in Seattle and Kerikeri, New Zealand.

University of Washington Press

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Table of Contents

Part 1 The Sea is Fluid, Elusive, Hard to Grasp

1 The Grant 3

2 The Raft 7

3 Family 10

4 July 5, 1972 14

5 Kodiak 20

6 Freddy 29

7 Throwing the Lines 33

8 Alitak 42

9 The Cannery Spy 49

10 Setting Gear 54

Part 2 First Day of Fishing

11 Awakening 69

12 Death 75

13 Living with Rigor Mortis 81

14 Beyond Exhaustion 90

Part 3 Adaptation

15 Circumstances 101

16 Surroundings 105

17 The Crew 109

18 Mom and Dad 120

19 The Night 123

20 Storm Day 128

21 How to Jog 136

22 Sand Point 144

23 Letters to Home 150

24 Caught by Fishing 153

25 Metamorphosis 156

26 Personal Factors 164

27 End of the Line 168

28 Loco-motion 173

Part 4 Layover in Kodiak

29 Unloading 177

30 Hashish, Flips, and a Whore 182

Part 5 The Final Trip

31 Sandman Reefs 195

32 Primal Extremes 206

33 Everything but South 210

34 Deckload 214

Part 6 Mayday

35 Orange 221

36 The Third Charm 224

37 The Ill-Equipped Ship 232

38 "Chips" 236

39 Cigarettes and Twice-Caught Fish 239

40 Reentry 243

41 Grampa's Model 248

Glossary 255

Acknowledgments 269

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