The fall morning light penetrates low clouds hanging in the trees near the shoreline in Yaquina Bay. The harbor sits still like a mirror pond while long shadows grow slowly over the resting fishing fleet. It’s the sound of barking sea lions and the smell of rotting fish filling the air that catches my attention as I approach. A rare opportunity to catch this busy fleet at dock and reason enough to walk at sunrise this morning.

Stacked neatly along the damp wooden docks circular wash bins are carefully filled with coiled lines elegantly attach to thousands of barbed steel hooks. The aft decks of awaiting trawlers sit quietly by. The connection between the fish and fisherman’s hands run through these lines strung thousands of yards behind each boat in single file, each hook a glimmering opportunity to make an honest day’s wage in this slowly dying coastal industry.

It’s a rich tradition here on the Oregon coast. Sustaining a smaller and smaller fleet each year as the fisheries disappear and larger-scale operations absorb the local single boat operators.

A story of struggle and survival playing out in the lives of longliners and the seas around them. Captured here in the simple pile of lines attached to a single row of hooks.