KENAI — A skiff called the Santa Maria, flying a pirate flag, skidded into the Nikiski beach, grating to a heavy halt.
The crew efficiently hauled the boat further up into the sand with a tractor, and a truck with peeling paint rolled back alongside it to receive the fish piled inside. Soon, slime, water and blood were flying as the crew of four cheerfully pitched the fish into the bed of the truck.
The setnetters in the Kenai and East Forelands sections wet their gear for the first time this season Monday. Their counterparts in the Kasilof section have been fishing since June 23, and the drift gillnet fleet has been fishing since June 20. The setnet fisheries in the Kasilof, Kenai and East Forelands will be open until Aug. 15 unless closed earlier by emergency order.
Gene Palm, whose parents-in-law Tina and Erik Barnes own the site, said part of the first period was getting all the gear tested and going again — testing engines, checking nets and other preparations.
“It’s just the first day,” he said.