How did two boys from beskydy start to catch and import the best wild fish from Alaska to your table? Let us tell you.
If you had told me twenty years ago that I would be importing wild fish from Alaska, I would have laughed. After all, I am the son of a forester from Beskydy! It was hard for me to even imagine traveling that far. But I have always had an adventurous spirit and was a poor student at the time. And when you show a poor student a lucrative job that can earn money for school, they’ll take it faster than you can say “when can you start?”. So, in the summer of 2002, instead of partying, I spent my time in a fishing lodge in Alaska where I didn't find love, but did learn the meaning of hard work. However, there was something fantastic hidden behind the calluses on my hands and my immense fatigue - the wild fish in Alaska. It couldn't be compared to anything I had seen or tasted before. And so, I started going to Alaska every year.
Gradually, I realized that besides passion, I also had a bit of talent for this field and that my colleagues weren't just praising me because I came over as a poor student from Eastern Europe. I worked my way through all the positions in the factory until I eventually started managing one of them in Bristol Bay. This could be where the story ends, right? A successful manager disappears in a nice car into the sunset. But for me, it was just the beginning.
There's no fish like wild fish
If there's anything I've learned over the years in Alaska, it's how to tell good fish from bad. The truly wild from the farmed. The ones with natural and beautiful color from the ones artificially colored with feed. The ones with muscles built from swimming in Alaskan waters from the ones that have been circling a few meters their whole lives.
But I also learned that my heart beats not for excel spreadsheets and quarterly plans, but for fishing. I started doing it myself and investing in fishing boats during the last few years of my managerial work...can you feel it? The idyll begins here! Setting sail on the rough sea and catching fish completely absorbed me.
And then came Zdeněk
Just like Vojta, I was born by chance in Beskydy and have loved adventure since I was little. Life led me to business and crisis management, which I've been doing for three decades, but whenever I have the chance, I go to the sea. I got this from my father who sailed around the world two years ago and met... Vojta, on Kodiak Island. They started talking and my father suggested that Vojta should meet me. He somehow felt that we might have something in common.
Although we each have a completely different history, Vojta and I hit it off immediately. This lively and fun guy told me everything about wild fish and their hunting, which left me completely fascinated. It reminded me of fine wine, where every detail is also discussed, and I realized that I really enjoyed this.
At first, our friends began to respond to how enthusiastically (and apparently quite often!) we talked about fishing and wild fish. From the beginning, we wanted the fish to taste like they were freshly caught from the sea. So, we caught everything ourselves, froze it ourselves, and transported it ourselves.
The birth of Alaskan Fisherman
Sometimes you just hit the mark. The reactions of our friends were so strong that Vojta and I wondered why we couldn’t offer this experience to everyone who appreciates wild fish. We couldn't think of any reason why not, so here we are. From catching to transportation, we run the entire chain ourselves and don’t use any middlemen. Basically, no one can touch our fish except us! In Alaska, we fish without drag nets, which is the most environmentally friendly way of fishing and it does not damage the marine ecosystem. We have a vision of doing this for many years. Maybe until that final sunset.
And most importantly, we've signed off on and personally back all of this. We are real fishermen and we hope to pass on our passion and joy for wild Alaskan fish.
Vojta and Zdeněk, Alaskan Fisherman