Salty storyteller: Local author stars in series about the perils of Alaskan crabbing

Spike Walker is a regular on After The Catch.  I have read many times that Walker is the premier writer of Bering Sea crab fishing.  If you haven’t read any of his work, I recommend starting with Living on the Edge.  See what he has to say here what he has to say to The Daily News

When producers from The Discovery Channel wanted to hear stories about Alaska crab fishing, Spike Walker was happy to oblige.

Walker, a local native who’s written three books about Alaskan fishing, recently spent several days in a Seattle bar, talking about fishing with other sea-seasoned folks for the cameras.

Walker has appeared in the first three episodes of “After the Catch,” a four-part Discovery Channel miniseries. About half of the third episode, “Mysteries at Sea,” featured Walker, he said. “It was the Spike Walker hour.” That episode is scheduled to repeat at 11 p.m. Friday.

Walker also will appear in the final chapter, which first airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

An excited Walker said that more than 2 million viewers watched the first episode of “After the Catch.”

The series is a follow-up to “Deadliest Catch,” the Discovery Channel’s documentary series about crab fishing that started in 2005. Last year, it was the channel’s highest-rated program.

Walker, 56, who now lives in Seaside, Ore., wasn’t involved in the original series. But his skill at weaving a tale made him a natural for “After the Catch.”

“What it came down to is sitting around the table and storytelling,” he said of the filming. “That’s what I can do.”
He admitted that he learned a lot about storytelling from hearing other fishermen talk to the show’s host, Mike Rowe.

The network hired Walker as a consultant for the mini-series, which was filmed last month at the Lockspot Cafe, a joint near the Ballard docks frequented by mariners. A new experience for him was getting makeup powder applied before he launched into his tales.

“They cut out 90 percent of what I had to say,” Walker said. But he can’t complain. “It was fun, really fun.”

Though Walker didn’t know the ship captains and deckhands who were also interviewed, “most of them know who I am” because of his books, which detail the perils of their lives.

Walker spent several years working on Alaskan crab boats himself after a stint as a teacher. (The Discovery Channel’s Web site refers to Walker as a “famous crab fisherman and storyteller.”)

His book “Working on the Edge,” which came out in 1991, detailed the king crab business in the 1980s. Walker followed up in 1997 with “Nights of Ice,” which was about crab fishing disasters. In “Coming Back Alive,” published in 2001, the author focused on a single disaster and its gut-wrenching helicopter rescue.

Walker got to hold up copies of his books for the cameras in “After the Catch.” Internet sales of the books shot right up, he said, with “Working on the Edge” climbing to 21st on the Amazon.com best-seller chart.

Because of the splash of new publicity, “I’ll be out promoting my books again,” Walker said. “I might actually make a living in the arts.

“It’s so satisfying. After all the years working alone in a room.”

Walker is working on a novel, he said. And always the author, he’s rewriting “Nights of Ice,” he said. “I can’t stand it.”

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4 Responses to Salty storyteller: Local author stars in series about the perils of Alaskan crabbing

  1. bbt mohamed says:

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  2. opilia says:

    I’d visit…but I cant understand the language, sorry.

  3. Pingback: kirkdeford.com » Last Weekend: Cannon Beach

  4. Stan says:

    Spike,

    I am Susey Wagners brother. Working on the Edge is very exciting. Thanks for adding her in your book.

    Stan

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