Meet the fishermen

 Craig Brooker


Boat Name: Kayla B


Boat Length: 35 feet


Catch: Black Cod


Method: Craig fishes for black cod using deep-set anchored long-lines. Each line is 900 feet with baited hook lines every 3 feet. The hooks are baited with sardines, anchovies, or squid then coiled into individual buckets. The lines are hooked together as they are set overboard. The total length of line is about 2 miles.


Location: Craig takes 2-day trips to San Miguel Island, occasionally venturing to Santa Rosa Island and as well as further up the coast. He sets his lines in the dark and begins pulling them in at 3 am. It takes 5 hours to pull in an entire line.


How did you get into fishing?
Craig has been fishing since 1973, when he took a job as a tender on an abalone boat. He worked on the abalone boat for six months until he found a boat of his own, a 32-foot radon, called Wet Willie, that he purchased with a friend, and they began diving for abalone and red sea urchin. Fiver years later, in 1979, he sold Wet Willie and bought the Karen Lee (now renamed the Kayla B), a harpooning swordfish boat equipped with a spotting tower and a boom. Craig’s 35-foot boat has a Wilson hull and a radon cabin and was outfitted for harpooning swordfish. Over the course of a few years, Craig dismantled the spotting tower and the big boom off the bow used for the harpoon.After spending many years as a commercial diver, Craig has been fishing black cod for the last three and a half years.


How have you connected with the community?
One of the great ways that Craig is connected to his community is via the Santa Barbara Harbor Festival that takes place every fall. For Craig the festival is a great way of giving back to the community. Working the festival can be a lot of work, but it’s a great event for so the community and he has a lot of fun doing it.


What is your favorite part about your fishing?
Craig’s favorite part about fishing is the freedom it affords him to make his own decisions as there is no one around to tell him what to do. As he puts it in his own words, “you have to become your own self-motivator; I like that freedom.”


What are your hobbies outside of fishing?
Outside of fishing, Craig does a lot of hiking and camping and exploring. He hiked Half Dome last year, and cites Yosemite as one of his favorite, “most incredible” spots.


Craig’s advice:
“Follow your dreams to do what you want in this world and enjoy every minute of it!”


How do you cook what you catch?
Craig’s preferred way to cook his black cod is with a miso marinade. He follows the recipe for Nobu’s miso-marinated black cod.


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