Jeff Newtown and Jason Worman say their longtime friend, Eric Eder, was a true fisherman.
"He loved it -- that was his life, that was his passion," Newtown said Tuesday.
The first day he got on a boat, he was so goofy and so out of place and so out of his element, I didn't think he would ever make it," Worman said.
Twenty years later, it turns out it wasn't just a passion for Eder, but a lifelong commitment.
But out on the Bering Sea, sometimes even someone with the best experience is no match for Mother Nature.
"Every day, you're at risk. It could be flat calm one day, and an hour later it could be blowing 20, 30, 40 miles per hour -- and then sometimes you have to work in those elements," Worman explained.
Early on the morning of Wednesday, March 12th, Eder was on the 87-foot fishing boat "Seeker"when he went overboard.
"I didn't believe it at first. He was such a funny guy,a screwball, so I thought, 'This is just a bad joke and he's going to call and say, 'I missed the boat',' Worman said.
The Coast Guard searched for hours over a wide expanse of sea, but Eder was never found, leaving family and friends like Newton and Worman feeling helpless.
"The closure is not there," Newton said. "I was lucky enough to go out on the Blessing of the Fleet in Newport last Saturday, so that was good for me to be out on the water and say my goodbye there."
Eder leaves behind a wife and two young boys -- one 5, the other just 5 weeks old.
Newton and Worman say this goodbye came far too soon, to a friend a father, and a man who simply loved to fish.
"Me and his uncle took one of his sons and the dog to the dog park a few blocks from the house and the people know the dogs, they know Eric and he's not even here. That's how he touches people," Worman said.
"He was a good man. He always had a smile on his face, lit up the room. He was a great father, great husband and the best friend for years," Newton said.
There is a memorial is planned for Eder on Saturday at Eagle Crest Resort at 4 p.m.