Captain Keith Robbins has been casting his reel in the Puget Sound for his entire life. A commercial boat captain for three decades and owner of fishing tour boat company Spot Tail Salmon Guide, few people know the Puget Sound as well as Captain Keith. We talked to the local fishing boat owner to get some insight on what life is like as a captain in Seattle. Here’s what he had to say:
How did you become a fishing boat captain?
I’m a lifelong fisherman and I turned my favorite hobby into a career. When I was a kid, my mom used to drop me off at the dock in the morning and pick me up at the end of the day, (back when you could do that kind of thing). All I know is the only reason I’ve ever worked any job is to support my fishing habit. I’ve spent last three decades building a career around sharing my favorite thing to do with guests from all over. We offer year round trips for fishermen and women of all experience levels.
What’s the largest fish ever caught on your boat?
A four and a half foot sturgeon was the largest fish, and the largest salmon was 35 pounds and nine ounces.
What other types of wildlife do you see on the Puget Sound?
The most memorable animals are always the Orcas (although I haven’t seen any since yesterday). Humpback whales are more rare but we do occasionally see them. We have seen deer swimming in the Sound from time to time, and those are always interesting to see too.
What’s something crazy or surprising that’s happened on one of your fishing trips?
I once had the old catcher for the Mariners, Dan Wilson, on my boat. His son hooked a King Salmon (his third for the day), but got tired and let go of the rod and it fell in the water. Right after his son dropped the line, Dan hooked a fish. When Dan brought his line up, he had also hooked his son’s line, so I grabbed it and started to pull it in. I realized there was a fish on that line, and one on his son’s line as well. I grabbed the butt of the rod and reeled it a few cranks to make sure the salmon was still on. Then, I handed it back to Dan’s son, which had his rod AND the fish he hooked. That was when I realized Dan was a really good “catcher.”
What makes Spot Tail Salmon Guide different from other fishing trip companies?
We specialize in mooching. Mooching is a local fishing method where you will hold the rod, feel the bite, and set the hook yourself. Where trolling is a laid back and stationary, mooching is an active experience where you work the bait at different depths. We also offer saltwater salmon fishing, bottom fishing, and sightseeing tours.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love taking new anglers out on the sound and helping them make their first catch. I’m lucky to spend my days on the water helping people enjoy their vacations and celebrate memorable occasions. From the sites of the sound to the best technique, I try to share all of my favorite things about fishing with every guest who boards my boat.
To learn more about Captain Keith and his crew of Spot Tail Salmon Guides, visit their website. To keep up to date with the latest neighborhood news, join the Ballard Community Facebook Group!
Images courtesy of Spot Tail Salmon Guide.