We got the first one aboard no problem, but had trouble with the second fish — a big, beautiful king salmon — which slipped free of the net and disappeared into the depths. It was painful to see him slip away, and after discussing what went wrong in picking that fish, Linda and I worked as a great team, and didn’t lose another fish that night.
We picked the net up around 10:30 p.m., after it was really dark. The net had been in the water for quite a while, and we had a few crab to pick, which is always a hassle because they try to pinch you as you are trying to help them out of the net, but it wasn’t too bad. The fish kept coming, and we wound up with about 35 fish total for the night. The highlight was when the big fish that had slipped out came aboard with a CLUNK; he had tangled in the folds of the leadline in the shallow water and came up cradled in the net.
By the time the net was aboard, the tide was ebbing full speed off the flats of Samish Bay, which flushes out a bunch of eelgrass along with it. Because we sell the fish directly to the public on San Juan Island, we were money ahead for the opening with the catch we had aboard, so instead of setting back and loading up on eel grass, we kept the net aboard and cleaned our entire catch right on the spot. After they were all iced and stowed, we headed back to San Juan Island, happy with the fruits of our labor.
TO BE CONTINUED…