Opinion: Bracing for the rush in Bristol Bay

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.
 
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