The last longlines

Our final business at the RBS dock was to off-load our extra bait, as we had arranged to sell it to another boat. This was really good news to me, because it meant we would be only setting the gear we had baited, which was plenty of gear to catch our remaining quota. We left for fishing around 11 a.m., Tuesday, April 17.

We arrived at our halibut spot that evening, and set our single halibut clean-up string. We waited until first light on Wednesday, April 18, and hauled it aboard. Viola! We were done with our halibut quota!

Next we ran a bit to the blackcod spot, slapped out all of our gear in three strings, and waited to haul. We napped, but we weren’t sleepy. I fed the crew, but we were just eating to keep occupied. We finally started hauling at 11 p.m., and after the uneventful hauling of three strings with good weather and moderate fishing, were done by noon the next day.

We bucked an easterly headwind the entire way across the Gulf of Alaska, but fortunately it was a very light wind for the first day and a half; it picked up a bit toward the end, but we never made less than 6 knots; so although it was a bit of a shitty ride, nobody was complaining.

We made it across quickly enough to make an afternoon delivery in Petersburg on April 22, which took 3 hours total. We stopped for fuel in Ketchikan, which took FIVE hours because we had to wait for them to open in the morning, but that’s OK because there was a spectacular northern lights display that night in Grenville Channel.

We bucked through Seymour Narrows, slowing down to 1.5 knots at full running speed against the strong current. But once we were through the narrows, it was fair tide and, after a few hours of 15 knots of wind on our bow, smooth sailing the rest of the way home. We made it back to Port Townsend around 8 a.m. Thursday, April 26. After we off-loaded the gear and cleaned up the boat, we were done!

TO BE CONTINUED…

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