FINES AND FORFEITURE of a fishing boat are the outcome for a Bainbridge Island angler who willfully disregarded just about every salmon fishing regulation on the books late last August off Sekiu.
Mark Heinemann, age 75, was discovered fishing with six lines in the water, all equipped with barbed hooks and five of which were attached to downriggers. A search of his boat found him to be in possession of one closed-season wild chinook, four closed-season wild coho and five hatchery coho.
And none of the fish were marked on his catch record card.
Northwest Sportsman Magazine first reported Heinemann was convicted of 10 counts in Clallam County District Court 2 earlier this year, including criminal possession of four wild coho and a chinook during a closed season, exceeding the daily bag limit on hatchery coho by three fish and failing to record his catch.
He was sentenced to pay more than $3,200 in fines and forfeited his boat, valued at about $5,000, to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
‘Reluctant’ to cooperate
Heinemann was alone on board his former boat,a 23-foot Maxum Cabin Cruiser, when contacted by state Fish and Wildlife Officer Bryan Davidson and the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol unit during a joint patrol last summer.
He was found to be trolling with one rod attached to a downrigger. He had a second downrigger deployed.
When asked to reel up his fishing gear, the man reeled his fishing line but did not raise the downrigger ball, Sgt. Kit Rosenberger said in a Fish and Wildlife announcement.
After “reluctantly” raising the downrigger ball, Heinemann unclipped from the downrigger cable a leader that had a bungee cord tied to a flasher equipped with a lure, Rosenberger said.
The man removed a similar bungee, flasher, lure setup from the same downrigger line and three similar setups from the downrigger on the opposite side of the boat, Rosenberger said.
The recreational anglers’ setup looked more commercial than recreational — though no evidence of commercial sales was found. At the very least it stood out to officers.
“The fishing style was very unusual,” Clallam County Sgt. Eric Munger, skipper of the marine patrol vessel said in a September 6, 2018 Peninsula Daily News article.
“I’ve been on the marine unit since 2007. I’ve done thousands of boardings in that time. I’ve never seen somebody run that kind of gear off of a recreational boat.
“It was set up like a commercial operation using recreational gear.”
Witnessing the myriad number of setups on board, Officer Davidson let Heinemann know he believed there were more fish to be found.
“The man decided to come clean and told Officer Davidson that he indeed had more salmon and produced two garbage bags from the cabin of the vessel containing headed and gutted salmon.”
The serious nature of the violations and the length to which the man went to conceal them, the boat, salmon and fishing gear were seized for forfeiture to the state.
The 10 salmon, nine of which had been de-headed and gutted, were donated to the Port Angeles Senior Center.
Anglers meet tonight
Bob Alverson and Lara Erikson of the International Pacific Halibut Commission will speak at tonight’s meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.
The meeting will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., in Sequim, with a social half-hour and viewing of raffle prizes at 6:30 p.m. and the speaker presentation at 7 p.m.
The IPHC is the governing body for Pacific halibut from Alaska to California, including Canada.
Alverson and Erikson will discuss the purpose and methodology of their work and the natural history and biology of Pacific halibut.
A business meeting, which includes a financial report, government relations report, upcoming events discussions and fishing reports from members, will follow.
There will be a members’ raffle for fishing gear and a membership drawing (must be present to win). Refreshments will be served and the public is invited to attend.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]