Lindsay Layland of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay and Seattle-based Bering Sea, Puget Sound and Bristol Bay captain Sean Dwyer kept the energy high for our annual Fisherman of the Year Contest at Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.
The first heat was net mending on the stage, and Melodie Schones of the Port of Toledo, Ore., took the win and $100 in 46 seconds.
Next was blind-folded knot-tying — a bowline, a crab hitch (aka a sheet bend) and a figure eight. Reuben Ivanoff, engineer on the New Dawn out of Kodiak, took the heat in 25 seconds.
Bristol Bay setnetter Taylor Layland (Lindsay’s brother) took the final qualifying heat, splicing a line in just under 40 seconds.
Last we moved back to the stage for the final survival suit challenge, with each heat winner racing to don a survival suit — hood on and flap closed.
Ivanoff was leading but mistakenly put his dominant hand in first, which slowed his final motions. Taylor Layland swooped in, grabbing the title of Fisherman of the Year with a 30.22 final time, which also means that he took the title on two skills rarely practiced in his shoal-water, gillnet fishery — line splicing and survival suit donning.
The Coast Guard recommends being able to don a suit in less than a minute.
Congratulations to all of our winners and contestants. We look forward to having you back in 2022!