Three Generations Of All Things Fish

Rooted in tradition, my story begins at Linc’s tackle and Honda on Rainier Ave, only a few blocks from Seattle Fish Guys. It was my Grandpa Linc (owner) and my Dad that introduced me to seafood food and all the aspects of it. From sea to land, to cooking and plating, everything has a story behind it, I was fortunate to be in the presence of great people who loved life and shared every moment. Growing up in a house with parents owning a fishing tackle shop was every boy’s dream. All the different fishing tools and displays for a kid was like being in a candy store without the candy. Everyone loved this place, young and old alike. You could get fish, seafood, gadgets of all kinds, colors and weights, line and leads, hooks and nets. And the stories everyone told! Oh boy, a young mind would just soak it up like a sponge. I can remember going to the store as a young man and hanging out with Grandpa Linc, Dad, all the uncles and other fishermen. It was not only fun, but it was also inspirational. Everybody had a story, the place was magical and educational.  (insert " more" link so this doesn't clutter up the page.)

When my sister and I were old enough, my father started taking us with him to fish. We would load our boat in the back of Dad’s El Camino, stop at KFC for the big bucket and head out to catch the early morning ferry. After all, everyone knows the fish bite early!

At first fishing was tough for us kids. You had to be very still and quiet, trying not to make too many ripples in the water that would scare the fish away. Those were long wonderful days with Dad, sun up until sundown. My Dad told me all the time that to achieve what we wanted we had to work hard, and he set the perfect example. When I was fourteen, I was lucky to begin working at the store myself. I worked from 9 am until 7 pm during the summer for a minimum wage of $1.85 per hour! Summers were peak season for fishing and it was demanding work, but my Dad would take me to Chinatown for lunch at Tai Tung’s counter top, home of the best hum bows, and we’d hang out with Harry Chan. It’s still the best Chinese restaurant in town. When we weren’t at Tai Tung, we would go to Ichiban's for the best Salted Saba around. It tasted good but you always smelled like the Saba afterwards, which many know is a very oily, smelly, but full flavored fish which is one of my favorites.

My Dad introduced me to all the different types of food in the area. I remember days at the tackle shop when Grandpa Linc would have me try his daily catch. There were so many different kinds of foods from salted salmon eggs to salted herring roe on seaweed. Grandpa Linc was an artist when it came to cooking seafood. Each dish tasted as good as it looked. Grandpa Linc made wonderful grilled salmon on a plank. Forty-four years later I can still remember the smoked salmon taste.  I feel very fortunate to have been in the presence of great people who loved life and taught me tradition.

As I got a little older it was time for me to think about what I wanted to do with my life. My Dad’s best friend owned Mutual Fish and Dad asked me if I wanted to work there. What an amazing job that was. I have such fond memories there. I remember they had every kind of fish; I never knew there could be so many! Because the owner was my Dads best friend, I knew I had better work hard and set a good example, not to let my Dad down. I liked working hard and was no stranger to it. At Cleveland High School, I was a football player, a wrestler, pole vaulter. I was even a karate kid kinda guy. But this job was a wakeup call. Sure I knew how to work hard, but I didn't know enough about all the amazing types of seafood Mutual Fish carried: things like kamaboko, satsumage, kasu black cod. All new and exotic types of fish, shellfish, traditional Japanese favorite dishes, etc. I learned about each and every item. Of course, everybody has their favorite. There must be a million things to learn about seafood. I was taught by the best in the seafood industry from proper handling of the fish, to cutting, storage, and cooking. I had to work hard and respect all of the elders around me, it was how things were done. I can definitely say that growing up at Linc’s Tackle and Honda surrounded by all of the great fisherman in Seattle, including my Dad and Grandpa as well as working at Mutual was the beginning of my seafood career and laid the groundwork for Seattle Fish Guys.