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Author Topic: Commercial Fishing  (Read 71968 times)

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #525 on: November 07, 2019, 07:56:20 AM »
You got it fellas-

Back to the story...

My second crew for the season, Erika, flew in on the 26th and we got the gear loaded on.  Erika came to me after a seining all summer, and man was I glad to have her.  She is a certified *censored* in the fleet!  She'd done lots of freezer work in the past, but not any pot fishing or shrimping. Given her reputation in the fleet, however, I had no worries at all that she would pick it up fast.   Here's a pic of her closing the net in some darn nice weather-
KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #526 on: November 07, 2019, 08:20:54 AM »
Last day in town was the 28th, where we got the last details taken care of.  Food, fuel and bait.  The bait I loaded on this year was about 3300# of black cod heads, 500# of round pink salmon, and 450# of shrimp pellets.  The black cod heads I have to buy from the processors, the pellets from the gear store, and the pink salmon are unbled and round fish that I saved to experiment with.  We left Sitka the evening of the 28th, bow pointed south, headed for our shrimping grounds. 

I really love pulling out of town loaded for a trip like this.  I always seem to have something like this playing in my mind, with a little less orchestra in the background (starting at 1:15) :chuckle:

KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #527 on: November 07, 2019, 08:32:46 AM »
The run south to Craig was uneventful as we ran outside down the coast ahead of a SE wind that was due to show up the next day.  Boat was heavy with pots, bait and fuel, she rides really nice that way.  Pulled in to Craig about 26 hours later.  There we picked up the last of the things we forgot to buy in Sitka (more food, mainly) and got ready to run the final leg to the shrimping grounds. 

I usually don't enjoy Craig that much, but this year was different.  There was fall crisp in the air, leaves were just turning, hint of woodsmoke in the air, and I saw a couple of blacktails in truck beds.  Chatted with a few friends on the dock down there I haven't seen in a long time, and everybody was hopeful that the coming shrimp season was going to be good.  Crew was optimistic and eager, we were prepared.  Really good vibes before the season.

KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Online h20hunter

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #528 on: November 07, 2019, 08:42:50 AM »
Cool. Keep it coming.

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #529 on: November 07, 2019, 08:48:19 AM »
We ran to the grounds (which will remain unnamed) on the 30th and started scouting.  Mapping the seafloor a little better, checking out the competition doing the same, etc.  Basically it is a "jockeying for position" day to try and establish the boundaries of "your" grounds.  Thankfully, there was only one other boat in my immediate area to start, so we fairly gentlemanly sorted out the boundary between our sets.  The crew and I went about getting the boat ready for the gun to go off at 8am on the 1st, the official opener.   This included bringing up bait to thaw, setting up as many pots as deckspace would allow, and making a nice big dinner of pork chops, potatoes, asparagus and ice cream for dessert.
KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Machias

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #530 on: November 07, 2019, 08:48:25 AM »
Loving it!
Fred Moyer


History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #531 on: November 07, 2019, 09:07:36 AM »
I had a new strategy this year for setting pots.  Last year, I set 10 pot strings.  That included tying a buoy to one end of the 300 fa line, running out about 100 fathoms, then snapping on 10 pots at about 10 fathom intervals, then running out the last 100 fathoms to the end of the line, where another bouy was attached.  It basically looked like this when it was set:

« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 09:17:12 AM by Skillet »
KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Dhoey07

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #532 on: November 07, 2019, 09:19:40 AM »
WHERE ARE MY PRAWNS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

4 bags did not last long.

Will you be in my neighborhood?

Trying to put some really neat stuff together for a HuntWa Christmas special group buy, stay tuned!

I'm tuned brother!!

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #533 on: November 07, 2019, 09:34:05 AM »
This year, I went to 150 fa shots of line for the sole purpose of running single buoy, 5 pot strings.  The advantages to the 5 pot strings are less time running bouy line out per string, easier to set on smaller ledges/in smaller areas, easier to set close to another string (only half the buoy lines clogging up an area), and less pots on deck at any given time making rebaiting a breeze.

The main disadvantages is pretty severe, though.  With 10 pot, double buoy strings, if you hung a pot or the groundline up on a rock, or even cut the line on a rock, no problem.  Just go to the other end to pick it up in reverse.  With a single pot string, you don't have that option.  And if you cut the line on a rock down there... lost pots.

The single pot setup looked like this. We'd start by setting the pots first, then running out the buoy line on my way to the next set.  Pretty efficient, if a little riskier.

Gotta run, more to come-
KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #534 on: November 07, 2019, 09:45:43 AM »
I enjoy very much following you and Diamond Lil, Skillet. Still holding those cigars and bourbon for your arrival. And you know Linda always looks forward to seeing you. Your next visit is probably the only thing keeping her around!  :chuckle:
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline Angry Perch

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #535 on: November 07, 2019, 09:57:14 AM »
Last day in town was the 28th, where we got the last details taken care of.  Food, fuel and bait.  The bait I loaded on this year was about 3300# of black cod heads, 500# of round pink salmon, and 450# of shrimp pellets.  The black cod heads I have to buy from the processors, the pellets from the gear store, and the pink salmon are unbled and round fish that I saved to experiment with.  We left Sitka the evening of the 28th, bow pointed south, headed for our shrimping grounds. 

I really love pulling out of town loaded for a trip like this.  I always seem to have something like this playing in my mind, with a little less orchestra in the background (starting at 1:15) :chuckle:



Back in the day they might have cast Clooney to captain the Diamond Lil.
Lately it's more of a role for a Dan Haggerty type!
Love following your adventures Skillet.

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #536 on: November 28, 2019, 07:26:42 AM »
Have a few extra minutes to move this story along a bit-

Opening morning, Oct 1, 8am. 

The gun goes off, and we are setting pots off the side.  We have all brand-new line, and are setting the shots right out of the coils.  I've pulled a lot of line out of coils into tubs and onto reels in the past, and as long as you pull the line from the middle you're good to go.  Thinking that setting gear right out of the coil would be as easy, we skipped the intitial time-consuming step of running all the brand-new line through the block into tubs first.

Probably won't do that again.

We spent some time unsnarling line that took a twist from the setting block - and that is not very easy when you have a few pots already hanging on the string behind the boat.  Word to the wise - no matter how clean those brand new shots look, run them through the block first.  :tup:

Eventually, all the gear hit the bottom.  I ended up covering almost twice as much shoreline as I planned to begin with, so my strings were pretty spread out.  This means lots of travel time during the active fishing hours of 8-4pm, but is overall a good problem to start with.  I had lots of ground to work before the competition moved in.
KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #537 on: November 28, 2019, 07:41:07 AM »
Not a lot of picture taking opportunity the first few days.  With two brand new crew, a new hauler, new line and a new pot setting strategy we were focused on getting our system down.  Fishing was good, and I was zero'ing in on the prawns while the crew was doing a great job dialing in the action on the back deck. 

Having good crew for a fishery like this can't be overstated.  While setting gear, I'm in the wheelhouse making sure those pots land on the tiny ledges I'm aiming for and not going too shallow - or into the abyss.  I need to be able to trust that they are on the ball enough to anticipate problems, have the skills and confidence to SAFELY tackle the problems that they can handle, and just as importantly know when to call me out for an assist.  We train for most things we can think of while we have the time, but in this business there is just a lot of OJT and I rely on people to pick things up quickly. 

If I need to continually re-teach a technique or a concept, that slows us down and is a big distraction. And too much distraction may contribute to my getting a line in the prop...  :bash:

KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #538 on: November 28, 2019, 08:14:46 AM »
Some guys have dedicated poly ground line for shrimping that floats.  It makes sense, as the main reason you lose pots off your string is the groundline flossing under a rock or sunken log as you're pulling it up.  If the line never hits the bottom, the chances of that are greatly reduced. 

Most guys like me, however, can't afford the cost or space of storing a completely separate set of groundline for a fishery that is a few weeks long.  The new groundline I just bought is 3/8" diameter sinking line that is also used for the other longline fisheries I participate in - halibut and yelloweye.  It's pretty tough, easy to splice and even after it gets a little fuzzy from lots of use I can still get 300 fathoms into a 32 gallon tub. 

Sinking groundline for shrimping will cost you a few pots a year.  The other thing it does is wind around a prop really easily if you back down hard and drift over it.

Normally, we set at 4-5 knots of speed.  Couple times a day the line doesn't come out of the tub right and I get a "Back down" command from the deck.  When that happens it is reverse and full throttle astern until either the boat stops or the problem is dealt with.   I rarely have to come on deck to help solve an issue, but if I do I need to watch the drift of the boat to make sure I haven't lost the line under the boat...

We were setting gear on day 3, pretty windy, and needed to back down hard while we were running out buoy line.  Full stop, big snarl of line on deck.  Once we got it cleared off the deck, I glanced to make sure the line was clear of the prop.  Looked good, I popped it back in gear and throttled up.  But we had drifted so fast over the line it must have hung up on the rudder shoe before it had a chance to sink.  It looked good because we kept throwing the cleared line overboard and it was sinking away from the boat... but she was foul.  I could tell within a second something was off, but before I could react and pull the boat out of gear it was all over.   The line wrapped the prop, killed the engine and I quickly found out the rudder was involved as it was locked hard over to starboard.  Fired the boat up again, put it in reverse hoping it would start to unwind the line, or at least let the rudder free.  But, she shuddered and nearly died immediately before I put her back in neutral. 

I was adrift on the shrimping grounds, now over 60 fathoms of water and less than 1/2 mile from some rocks that didn't look like a soft spot to land.
KABOOM Count - 1

"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Online h20hunter

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #539 on: November 28, 2019, 08:16:09 AM »
Oh my......

 


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