The boat tipped alarmingly to starboard. The coffee pot, frying pan and dish soap simultaneously headed for the galley floor. No matter, one doesn't forget how to ride a bicycle, nor does one forget how to handle Bristol Bay weather in the cabin of a gillnetter. Forty-five years in the commercial fishing industry trained me to catch the pot, pan and soap -- plus take a sip from my coffee cup without missing a beat. The Bristol Bay sockeye season started with a bang this year!
No, there isn't much in the way of fish. It is the fishermen. Everyone came early this year. Drift boats were in the water a full week early. Loaded setnet skiffs headed to beach camps days ahead of last year's schedule.
The reasons are twofold. The sockeye run of 2013 was at least a week early. The fishermen that were in the water by June 16 last year made good money. The price of sockeye was the highest in years; all of the major processors settled out at over a dollar and a half per pound. No one wanted to miss that opportunity in 2014.