It’s that time of year again — the ultimate test of fishing skills is back at Pacific Marine Expo. The Fisherman of the Year competition pits fisherman against fisherman to determine who will take the title for 2017.

If you think you’re quick on the draw when it comes to at-sea skills, then we’ll see you at the Main Stage at high noon. Returning hosts Jerry Fraser, publisher of National Fisherman, and Sean Dwyer, captain of the Bering Sea crab boat Brenna A, will do the part of entertaining while you work your fingers at lightning speed.

The contest consists of three heats, each measuring participants’ dexterity in key fishing skills: the ability to put a rim-racked net back together in a flash, quickly and accurately tie a series of knots while blindfolded (you never know when you’ll find yourself in a bind on a moonless night), and splice a line.

The winner of each heat gets a crisp $100 in their pocket and the opportunity to take on the other winners in a final test: donning a survival suit in record time. Whoever can get the suit on first — zipped up with the face flap closed — wins the title, another $100, bragging rights and more.

Last year, Minh Pham of Seattle dominated the competition, winning the net-mending and rope splicing contests and going on to take the survival suit race with a time of 59.57 seconds, just under the minute-mark that safety experts recommend for commercial fishermen.

Anyone can enter the competition. There is no entry fee, and we have plenty of space for newcomers to step up the plate and snatch the title away from any returning veterans. Do you have what it takes?

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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