Nick comes from a family of Croatian fishermen. As a teenager, he started fishing for salmon with his father and brothers in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Nick signed on for his first crab fishing season when he was 18, but the harvests at that time were so poor that he returned to his family’s traditional operations. Twelve years later, he tried crab fishing again and decided to stick with it.
He’s been a crew member on the Northwestern for six years but in the summer he returns to Bristol Bay as captain of his family’s salmon boat, the Miss Colleen.
Nick is known as one of the most mild-mannered fishermen on the Bering Sea. He rarely loses his temper, even though there are many incidents where others lose control. Like many fishermen with close families, he finds it tough to spend so much time at sea away from his wife and small children.
Nick has also seen a lot tragedy in the fishing world. In 1983, his home town of Anacortes, Wash., had two boats go down during the crab season and he knew every fisherman who was lost. Just last summer, he lost a deckhand while salmon tendering.