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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Biographical
  • Language:English
  • Pages:364
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781098336929
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098336912

Opening Day

by Ernie Koepf View author's profile page

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"Opening Day" follows the life and times of Alex Skarsen through the eras of commercial fishing along the West Coast. When Alex got into the industry it was a different beast. Over the years it's changed, but the sea is still the place he goes for solace, affirmation, and a living. This novel captures the flavor of the fishing life and the deep changes in the values of the industry. From Central America to Bristol Bay Alaska, folks carry on their endeavors. But the always looming, dominant factor of money casts its heavy shadow. This wistful, funny novel is a portrait of a culture in upheaval.


Follow the arc of Alex Skarsen’s life. Born into a fishing family, fate offers him the choice to follow in the family tradition. The era of his father’s time has passed, things are different now and the arc now resembles a long learning  curve. The things that matter the most remain the same.

About the author
Ernie Koepf lives in the East Bay with his wife, Jan Moestue. He fished for salmon, crab and herring on the West Coast for over 35 years and is now retired. He has written articles published in Pacific Fishing magazine, run a marine haul-out, was a deputy harbormaster at Half Moon Bay, a member of numerous co-ops and fishermen's associations and acted as a class representative in the HanJin Shipping Co. lawsuit.

Book Reviews

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OPENING DAY Disclosure: Ernie is a very close and longtime friend. One of the first fishermen I met in Half Moon Bay when struggling to get a toehold in what is a cautious industry, especially when it comes to who a Sipper wants to take to sea. That friendship, combined with others Ernie introduced me to, helped me to not only become a part of the local fleet, but esteemed in my confidence and ability to get work. With that help, I grew and began to understand this complicated and nuanced pursuit. And thrived! But enough about me: This Novel is significant to anyone trying to understand Commercial Fishing no matter what the fishery, area or coast. It lays out the nuances of the West Coast fish biz in such a way that anyone will understand what the trade is about. Hint: It's very complex....complex, nuanced and mishmashed. An amalgamation of thousands of fishermen, buyers and middlemen; all independent souls with different ideas on how to get the cat skinned (or the fish filleted!). Ernie lays out how all that gets done (or not) in a clever, concise page-turning voice that will leave any reader understanding what's behind that seafood you see laying on ice in the supermarket or fish stand. It will also educate many fishermen that know the business but do not have the deep history Ernie inherited from the Koeph family, as well as all the old-timers of Princeton by the Sea and San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. You will flip through chapters, and remember this book's message forever. You will understand the way of the fish. Whether you are curious about fishing or not, you will turn pages and want more with each chapter. It's an elegant, well-written story. It has feeling and heart. Read more
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