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July 13-25, 2008 — We arrived at Nornak camp to put on our levelwind as the light from the day was fading from the sky on July 13. Our mission was simple and brief — grab the levelwind off the dock, maybe get a few groceries, let the guys take a shower, and then head back out for more fishing.
The most time-consuming part of going to the dock was bullshitting with all the other fishermen who had come, as we had, to regroup after a long and grinding season. When the crew was fully assembled, we all climbed onto the Sunlight III, which everybody agreed really stank, since our bodies and noses were now clean and we could actually smell the living environment to which we had become accustomed.
As we pulled away from the dock, Dave came up to the flying bridge and told me Mike, the guy I go longlining with, was thinking about buying one of the boats at Bumble Bee, which concerned him because one of those was the boat he had his eye on, the Redman.
Dave had been talking about that boat more and more as the fishing action had waned through the season. I told him he should buy it now, borrow a permit holder who is on a boat that is calling it quits, and then fish the end of the season with the boat so he knows what it needs for next year.
He thought that was a great idea, and since I had just come up with it I had to agree. The only thing I could do was turn around and drop him off back at camp so he could pursue his notion of running a boat in Bristol Bay.
Dave negotiated a price with Leroy, but needed the money to buy the boat, so I authorized the Peter Pan office to advance him the funds from his earnings, and suddenly Dave was in the fishing business.
He got a lot of help getting the boat ready from Bumper, who was around the dock because he had quit fishing for Giuseppe on bad terms, but didn't want to go fishing anymore this season.
For crew Dave took Serena, a gal who was fishing with her Uncle Chris on another boat in camp, and for his permit he arranged an emergency transfer from somebody who was done fishing and going home anyway.
I sold him (at a great deal) some old nets I wanted to get rid of, and for a market, since he wasn't allowed to fish for Peter Pan Seafoods with that awful wood boat, he fished for Bay Watch Fisheries, who was paying $0.35 for chum salmon, so it was a better deal for him anyway.
In just a few days' time, Dave had amassed everything he needed to go fishing. It actually took him longer to get out there than it should have, partly because he was a bit nervous about going. He showed the classic signs of dilly-dally and procrastination, including a blowout of a part on his boat, which he says was necessary to usher in good karma.
He finally made it out around Monday, July 21, for some heavy-duty scratch fishing. For Dave, the importance of this year's fishing was all about giving the boat a trial run to get the feel for it and see what it needs for next year, and not so much about putting in the pounds.
No matter how many fish he caught, Dave was happy with his new boat. It was what he had been talking about, and now he had it. Good going, Dave.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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