National Fisherman

At Sea Diary

Matt MarinkovichMatt Marinkovich’s weekly At Sea Diary entry is a popular feature of the National Fisherman Web site, and now you can post your own reflections on Matt’s experiences fishing in the Pacific Northwest and North Pacific.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 — On the day prior to departure, Saturday, October 14, I still had a way to go on my boat before I could load the net.

My biggest concern was my wobbly roller mounted on the transom. To remedy this I bolted 4x4 timbers between the underside of the roller mount plate and the old vertical-roller base brackets that were affixed to the back of the transom.

This was a stroke of genius because I would have had to remove or otherwise wrap up those exterior-mounted roller bases, because they would be a super-snag when setting the net. My plan worked perfectly, and came together quite well for a hacker such as me. I also slapped on the last coat of gelcoat on my new bin boards, and finally got around to fixing the headlight I disassembled two months prior.

At this point, my boat was as ready to fish as she was going to be. Now all she needed was a net and she was ready to roll.

This is where the week's work begins to payoff. My daughter Madeline and her friend Yuki were coming along on the fishing trip to serve as devoted crew members. In addition, Bruce, the girls' former teacher and experienced Satisfaction crew member from sockeye openings gone by, was coming along as well. This was super great because in addition to a good hand on deck, he would provide some necessary adult supervision over the rest of my crew.

At 6 p.m. the girls helped me pull my net from under its tarp out in the field and into my truck. They disappeared with Maureen for a few hours in the evening to watch a play with a few of their friends, and I stayed home and put our cute little Lucy to bed. The gang came back around 9 p.m., and Madeline, Yuki, and I were down on the boat by 9:30.

We were blessed with rain, so I opted to start out by loading and cleaning the boat with hopes the rain would stop. Of course that wasn't in the cards, so we were going to have to pull our hoods up and go to work. I ran the boat around to the net loading dock, and the girls tossed me the end of the net from the dock. They helped guide the net out of the truck as the boat pulled it off the dock, through the water, and wound it up tightly on the net reel.

All was well and good until the levelwind blew a hydraulic hose. What a mess — oil was spread all over the deck. I cleaned it all up right away and resumed reeling the net aboard without the use of the levelwind, which was really no big deal since that is all I have ever done since I've owned the boat.

As I continued winding, I noticed the net reel valve, which I had just rebuilt, was leaking a very slowly out of the top. I shook my head with the realization I would somehow have to find time to fix that minor detail before it ran the hydraulic tank dry.

We finished loading the net aboard around 11:30 on Saturday night. I was very glad I had taken the time to put the boat together so the girls could go right into their bunks. They didn't even wait for me to tie the boat up to the dock — they just jumped into the bunk and hit the rack. I followed suit as quickly as I could, but with all the necessary screwing around I had to do before I could call it a night, it wasn't until after 1 a.m. before I was horizontal in my bunk.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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