National Fisherman

March 31–April 7, 2008 — We headed out across the Gulf of Alaska in the early afternoon of Monday, March 31. I had dinner ready in the calm waters of Neva Strait on the way to the Salisbury Sound exit point into the gulf.

Once we were outside we started baiting the halibut gear. Since the boat was bucking into a fair amount of swell, it was an awfully twitchy ride back in the baithouse. I wasn't into that, so I decided to bait my gear on the hatch cover, and I had a very peaceful time of it, enjoying not being whipped around by the Discovery's twitchy roll.

We arrived at the halibut grounds on the evening of Wednesday, April 2, and set out one string of halibut gear. In the early hours of Thursday, April 3, still covered in darkness, we set two blackcod strings, then finished up by setting two halibut strings just after first light. We went right into hauling the halibut string with the long soak, then followed right up with the two we set at first light. We had about 12,000 pounds of flat ones, and were done really early, like 6 p.m.

I was hoping to haul a string of blackcod gear, but the bait was still too frozen to cut up so we wouldn't be able to bait while we hauled. We waited until morning, which I'm sure was the plan the whole time. We started hauling at 3:00 on the morning of Friday, April 4.

Blackcod fishing was good, with close to 5,000 pounds our first string. But as we hauled, George ushered in a big debate on whether we should quit fishing because of the weather. I think George just wanted to go into Seward so we could go up to the bar on Saturday night. In any event, as we baited our second string of the day, the wind started to breeze up, and the tides were running strong, plus for some strange reason the last two strings brought us very few fish.

Result: George got his wish; we stopped baiting and just hauled back the two remaining strings for a total of around 8,000 pounds of blackcod for our abbreviated three-string trip. It was just as well we did stop because had we kept fishing another day we would have had a stiff north wind in our face and had a really shitty run into Seward, so maybe there is something to George's ominous weather predictions.

We got into Seward at 3 a.m. on Saturday, April 5. I woke up to help tie the boat up, and then stayed up until 7 a.m. writing on my computer. I jumped into bed to make it look like I had slept because these guys already think my sleep schedule is totally out of whack, and woke up with the rest of the guys around 7:30 (I actually pulled off a 20-minute power snooze).

We baited our gear on Saturday, then delivered on Sunday morning, April 6. We started baiting on Monday with plans of taking ice on Tuesday afternoon and then leaving for fishing Tuesday night. We were supposedly in no rush to get out fishing because the tides were very strong, and we wanted to wait until they slacked off a bit.

But on Monday, April 7, just as we were baiting up our last skates, we got notice that the RBS plant wanted to give us ice right away. When this happened, I knew we were going to be gone soon, because with all the gear baited and the ice aboard, there was no way we were going to hang around town doing nothing.

Once we reached the RBS dock to get ice, I had only time to get groceries and we were outta there, looking to come back to Seward with a full trip of blackcod in the hatch.

TO BE CONTINUED...

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.

First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.

Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.

Read more...

Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.

Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.

Read more...
Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
Address
Country
U.S. Canada Other

City
State/Province
Postal/ Zip Code
Email
© 2015 Diversified Business Communications
Diversified Business Communications