Written by Jen Finn
September 18, 2011 — The newly revamped, now 21-foot open gillnet skiff Lady Ruth paid a few of its bills on the third week of the silver fishery in Bellingham Bay. The fishery reopened after a two-day closure on Sunday, September 18. It was a blustery day as the southerly wind swept the swell onto the flats of the northern shore of Bellingham Bay. With Linda as my faithful crew member, I arrived 10 minutes before the 7 a.m. opening time, found my spot, and slapped it out on the flats near the mouth of the Nooksak River.
I had a couple silvers hit the net before I had finished setting. The wind was blowing something fierce, and it really kicked up a swell on the beach. We very cautiously picked the fish out as they hit; 15 the first pass, more than 10 the second, and about 10 more the third. We dressed the fish after each pass, and didn't actually pick the net up until the tide dropped out from under us later in the afternoon. We kept at it the whole day, and had about 80 fish for our efforts, all of which were sold on San Juan Island.
The highlights of the Bellingham skiff fishing were when I lost the anchor — TWICE — because of my own stupidity. I didn't tie the end off, even after Linda suggested it.
We had a tense moment when Linda fell overboard. She was knocked over the rail after being on the wrong side of the long net hook. I was a bit freaked because that skiff isn't very maneuverable, especially in the wind; when I looked over the rail I was relieved to see Linda standing there, looking up at me amongst the breakers. We were fishing in only 3 feet of water).
TO BE CONTINUED...
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