An Alaskan Retirement

Flea reflections

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My neighbor, Old Flea, was pretty much a fixture around the roadless community of Point Baker in the 1970s. “Been a baseball player down south…” one story had it, “was a handlflea insideogger back in the day…” All I really knew was that he had been a handtroller at Point Baker for as long as anyone could remember, that he lived in a tiny cabin on the back channel to Port Protection, and that he was a regular at our colorful floating bar.

A lot of young folks were coming to Port Protection and nearby Point Baker in those days. Hand trolling was an inexpensive way to enter commercial salmon fishing. The newcomers were mostly a long-haired bunch, shunned by the older more conservative members of the community. But not Flea. He welcomed the new blood, became sort of The Patriarch of the hand troll fleet.Flea & friend

And was so generous. He had his monthly Social Security check and his cabin was all paid for. Often, one or another of the young couples that came to Point Baker to fish would be down on their luck. It would be Flea that would take them in, take them fishing with him each day, show them the best places for the biggest king salmon, how to rig their gear. And until they got on their feet, give them his fish money.

He had a regular schedule. When the ‘bite’ was over for the day, he’d sell his fish – the bartender was also the fish buyer – and you’d see him headed home, beer in hand… Not a bad retirement at all.

 

Flea cruises