I was born on July 10, 1952 to Bob and Blair Ohaus and grew up in Westfield, NJ. I’m the youngest of 4 and absolutely no one can figure out where my endless urge to fish came from. No matter how hard we shake the family tree, another fisherman doesn’t fall out. But, the urge began early. From the time I could walk, I was bugging people to take me fishing.
At age 4, I caught my first fish, a sea robin, from a dock behind our rental cottage on Cape Cod. As soon as I was old enough, I’d peddle my bike to the local polluted New Jersey ponds and catch stunted sunfish on a bobber and worm. The peak fishing experience of my childhood came at the rail of a party boat off the N.J. shore pulling in bluefish.
The long trip west began with attending the College of Fisheries at the University of Washington where I got a B.S. in Fisheries Science. I returned east, worked for a boating magazine writing and selling advertising. I fished every spare minute and I learned a lot about boats on the job. My wife Linda Mae and I decided to move to Seattle in 1985 and in 1988 I got my captain’s license. For five years I chartered out of Neah Bay in the summer and Puget Sound the rest of the year.
In 1993 we headed north to Sitka where I was lucky enough to be paired with Chuck McNamee as my deckhand. In 1995, Angling Unlimited began operating independently in Sitka. We housed our guests at the local hotel. In 1996 Chuck got his captain’s license and began running a boat. In 1997 Linda Mae and I took the big leap of buying the waterfront lodging, then in 2000 we converted the warehouse across the street into lodging for guests, our main office, as well as kitchen and laundry facilities.
Captain Chuck grew from deckhand to partner as he proved himself an enormous asset both as a guide and in keeping our fleet running. My wife designed the lodging and ran the building. Chuck, Jenny, Linda Mae, and I evolved the business model that is Angling Unlimited today.
Along the way, we added three children: Hannelore in 1990, Gus in 1995, and Evelyn (Ebby) in 1997. All have grown up in this business, worked for us, and made their contributions before moving on to their own dreams.
So, the little boy from New Jersey who couldn’t stop fishing never did. He remains ever grateful to an incredible resource in Alaska and all the people who helped the dream of Angling Unlimited come true. You can’t do this kind of thing alone.