Written by Adrianne Madden
October 1-15, 2006 — It seems there is always something preventing me from completing the projects on my Puget Sound gillnetter, the Satisfaction. I'm alright with that fact, because spending time with my wife and kids is what usually prevents me, and that is time better spent than working on my boat.
The problem is when the last week before fishing rolls around, I feel the pressure of the upcoming season and the desire to do without all the quirks that drove me crazy and cost me time and energy all through the previous season. At that point my focus shifts, and I channel all my energy into getting my boat ready to go fishing. This is what happened to me around the first week of October.
The projects slated for completion prior to this fall season were to install a new (well, used from Bristol Bay) power stern roller that will pull the net off the drum so I no longer have backlashes when I am setting, and install bin boards in the hatch so I can slush-ice a large volume of fish in an orderly fashion, which is what I need for the Puget Sound fall chum salmon fishery. The season was scheduled to open on Sunday, October 15 at 5 p.m. I had a long way to go, and I knew I was going to have a full week ahead of me.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (October 9, 10 and 11) of the week before the opening were spent dedicated to hatch and fiberglass laminate applications. I needed to glass a total of eight bin boards, plus the "cleats" in the hatch, which hold the boards in place.
I had been a long time since I had done any glass work, and I forgot it was such a time consuming task. I was down on the boat all day Monday, and until 11:30 on Tuesday night. I got the cleats glassed in, then cut and formed the bin boards so they were ready to glass.
Wednesday night was the killer. I started my bin board glassing project at 8 p.m., and didn't finish until 3:30 the next morning. I was working in my garage at home. Maureen came out at 2 a.m. wondering why I hadn't come to bed; she figured I had been overcome by fumes. I was wearing a respirator, so I was immune to the vapor, but she insisted I had toxic-chemical smell seeping from my pores.
The double-scrubber shower I took just before I crawled in bed didn't help. Neither did the fact I joined her before the rooster started crowing. And when she smelled the garage the next morning I reached an all time high on the shit list. The place reeked of polyester resin, acetone, and methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. The garage door stayed open the remainder of the winter, and still the smell never left.
Thursday, October 12, two days before I was to leave for fishing, was deck-equipment gathering and assembly day. My stern roller was at Island Welding being retrofitted to the stern roller plate I had taken off a week earlier, along with my old level wind that Petrzelka Bros. in Mt. Vernon, Wash., rebuilt for me on short notice. I had taken it off of the boat the year before because it was stuck solid and wouldn't budge no matter how much coercing I applied, but I had grown tired of pushing the net aboard every time I picked it up.
With everything assembled and gathered, I headed down to the port and wheeled my entourage of fabricated aluminum parts down to the boat on dock carts. Everything bolted together amazingly well; I didn't need to run and get a single nut or screw or bolt. I had it all right there on the Satisfaction (how satisfying). Everything bolted onto the boat as if it were made to fit (which it was!).
My last chore of that day was to lower the roller onto the boat and mount it in place. A couple of sea cucumber divers helped me by operating the hoist while I positioned the roller. It came together alright, but something was haywire with my bolt holes because the roller was stuck in the out position — it could not be retracted. But that is much better than having it be stuck in the retracted position; at least I can fish with it stuck out.
I was home around 7 that night, which was my earliest ending time of the week. This gained me no affection, as my absence from the family this week created a newly remodeled shit list from which I will be hanging my hat for quite some time.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.
“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.