Fishermen Compete at ComFish 2016

Competitors stand at one station during the race and complete knots.
Competitors stand at one station during the race and complete knots. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A competition Saturday pitted fisherman against fisherman in a set of tasks which included knot-tying, hook-throwing, and survival suit-donning. The event created a fun spectacle on the last day of ComFish and demonstrated some of the skills even a greenhorn deckhand needs day to day.


Zachary Vickstrom stands in the last of three lanes, pulls a coil of rope over a railing and recoils it on the other side.

Once the rope is in a loop on the parking lot ground, Vickstrom runs to a table where he knots four strands of rope.

Next comes the “hook” throw, or in this case, a “sand bag throw,” the much safer hook alternative.

Vickstrom throws the sandbag and knocks over a target at the end of the lane then runs back to the beginning of the lane where he ties a buoy around the railing. Now, the only obstacle between him and winning is struggling into a survival suit.

He zips the suit and grapples for the face flap.

Vickstrom ties with the contestant in row number one at 2:46 (two minutes and forty six seconds).

I catch him right afterwards, still breathless from the competition. Vickstrom says he was born and raised in Kodiak and his family is in the fishing industry.

“Since I was six years old I’ve been around the boats.”

He says the clove hitch and bowline are two of the knots he uses most frequently.

“Well, the bowline you can tie around a loop or like a hole through a buoy, and then just the clove hitch is basically you just tie stuff off to the rail. Like, if you have a shot you want to tie off the rail, you’ll tie a clove hitch around the rail with the shot.”

Vickstrom says he got back from crab fishing in January and is getting ready to go out and fish black cod.

Fifteen people in total competed Saturday.

The first place winner was Jay Klein with a time of 2:28 and he won a round trip ticket to Anchorage. Jamin Price-Hall came in second with 2:31 and received a $100 Sutliff True Value Hardware gift card, and JD Christiansen was third with 2:40 and walked away with a free maritime class at Kodiak College.


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