Fishing For Chickens

No. This is not about “Chicken of the Sea”. (Have you seen a tuna? How did that ever get called the chicken of the sea?) There are so many land-locked boats on Whidbey that someone decided they must be there so people can fish for chickens.

Whidbey Island is an island. Duh. The waters are great for boating, fishing, sailing, kayaking, cruising, and generally playing around on water. So, of course there are plenty of boats. There are not, however, plenty of places to moor them; hence there are lots of boats on land. Langley has a public marina. Oak Harbor has a major marina, as well. Several neighborhoods have marinas, too. But the shallow shoreline means few places to park boats in the water. Most of the rest of the boats sit trailers that sit on lawns and yards. Drive around and gawk at commercial fishing boats, ocean cruisers, and maybe even a tug or two.

A few years ago, one of the local bands at the time produced a video explaining what all of those landed yachts were doing, Fishin’ for Chickens.

There are suspicions that the events portrayed are fictionalized.

In the real world, there are more serious efforts.


Nichols Brothers in Freeland is a ship-builder, as in real ships, not just big boats. They build ferries, mega-yachts, fishing boats, tugs, whatever. It’s a appropriately sedate event to watch them launch the vessels. Instead of a fast slip down greased skids into a deep harbor, they wait for high tide, trailer the ship into the shallows of Holmes Harbor, and float it away. Soon after that, drop by Langley’s marina where the new neighbor frequently ties up for final fittings.


There’s also artistry on the island. Look for a lucky year when Brad Rice, the Boatwright, opens his workspace during an Open Studio Tour. Outside, there may be several wooden cruisers waiting to be reborn. Inside, there may be works of art that just happen to float and maybe even go fast.

Kayaks, wind-surfers, kite boarders, board skimmers, canoes, row boats, rowing shells, whatever you want that floats is probably represented on the island. Finding fellow enthusiasts can be as easy as visiting a boat launch, joining a yacht club, or simply bumping into folks wearing Helly-Hansen gear.

Just don’t expect to really find someone fishing for chickens. Chickens are smarter than that.

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