A Gillnet’s Drift

Tales of Fish and Freedom on the BC Coast

By (author): W.N. Marach
ISBN 9781927527719
Softcover | Publication Date: April 28, 2014
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
208 Pages
$17.95 CAD

About the Book

One Friday morning in the spring of 1972, an ad in the Vancouver Sun caught Nick Marach’s eye: GILLNETTER FOR SALE. A young architect who had just returned to the west coast from a yearlong motorcycle trip abroad, Marach was not looking for a change of career—but he was looking for a boat to live on, and the price of the old gillnetter was cheap.

A Gillnet’s Drift takes the reader back to a time when the salmon runs on the BC coast were strong, and all it took to call oneself a commercial fisher was a boat, a net, and a licence. No experience was required. It was during this era that Nick Marach found himself, quite unexpectedly, with a new vocation and a new lease on life. For the next decade, he spent every salmon season navigating the waters off BC, following his bliss, and many times narrowly escaping with his life. Along the way he befriended a slew of colourful characters, met the love of his life, and somehow in the midst of it all still found the time to be an architect.

This book captures the allure of the gillnetter’s life in a bygone era, but it is also about the freedom of youth, the desire for self-expression, and the refusal to ever settle down completely, even when you have an office and a family waiting for you on dry land.

About the Author(s)

W.N. (Nick) Marach (1941-2016) was born and raised in Wawa, Ontario, and studied architecture at the University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia. In 1972, he bought the T.K., an old thirty-two-foot gillnetter, and for the next decade he fished every salmon season and worked as an architect at several Vancouver firms as time allowed. His 2014 memoir, A Gillnet’s Drift, documents the years he spent with his wife, Veronica, fishing up and down the BC coast.


"Marach gives the reader a good sense of the nuances involved in gillnetting, such as reading the tides and currents and, of course, knowing the Coast and the fish." —Colin Levings, BC Studies