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Author Topic: Commercial Fishing  (Read 62135 times)

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #540 on: November 28, 2019, 08:33:18 AM »
Wind and wave always seem worse when you are just adrift in it.  I was looking at 20 knots and an honest 1-1.5' wind chop. I knew I was going to have to dive on the boat to cut free the prop and rudder.  As much time as I spend on the water, this was going to be the very first time I was going to get IN the water up in AK.  Just not a thing I really ever wanted to do, especially with a boat adrift in a wind chop like that.  But it was time to get some work done.

First thing I needed to do was to get that boat off the lee shore and hopefully into a cove somehow.  I quickly considered deploying my inflatable with the 15 hp and towing the boat, but the open face block I use to launch it was being used to set gear.  That would have taken too long to re-rig.  And it was debatable if the little skiff could have pulled that boat against the wind anyway.  Risking bending the rudder post, I decided to engage the gearbox back and forth against the line around the prop to see if I could wrench something free.   Forward and reverse, I banged that gearbox and it felt like each time the prop would spin a tiny bit more before binding.  The rudder was absolutely stuck, no improvement there.  But that prop felt like it was chewing away at the snarl. 

I throttled up a bit and jammed it into gear, and that prop finally busted through and started spinning!  It was shaking violently, and the rudder was still jammed hard over to starboard, but I had power.  I could only idle it due to the shaking.  With hard starboard as my only steering input, I played the wind and just bumped it into gear long enough to let the bow come up on the wind, then take it out of gear to fall off and give me another chance.  It was super slow, but I was getting off the shore.  I saw that about 2 miles away there was a cove I was moving towards with this method, so I told the crew to get comfy because it was gonna be a while.   Thirty seconds of FWD thrust, at least a minute to let the bow fall back off to port enough, then another 30 seconds of thrust.  I was making .4 knots to the good. 
KABOOM Count - 1

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

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #541 on: November 28, 2019, 08:47:10 AM »
It was getting dark by the time I got the boat in behind a spit of land enough that the wind waves weren't a problem.  Found myself over a 30 fathom hump and dropped the hook.   Not ideal, but I have anchored in 50 fathoms in calm water before so felt good enough about this.  Not a lot of anchoring options in this country, even with a fully maneuverable vessel.

I knew visibility was going to be bad under the boat in this lowering light.  I decided that if I couldn't get us free that night we'd have to wait for daybreak the next day.  So I quickly stripped down to my skivvies, lashed the ladder to the side of the boat, tied a Vicky knife to my right wrist with a loop of  line and started to climb in. 

Holy smokes, that 50-something degrees is cold water.  I couldn't get past my neck without my chest spasming and preventing me from taking a big breath.  With no wetsuit on board, I crawled into my survival suit and just jumped in.

If any of you have been in a survival suit, you know I wasn't going to be going anywhere underwater in that thing.  The whole point of them is to float.  But I was warm and needed to get this done, so we rigged a line that went from one side of the boat, under the keel, and up to the other side.  I could use it to pull myself down to the prop.  It worked, and I had just enough light to see what the issue was.  It being salt water, I couldn't really see anything clearly, but I could definitely see a BIG ball of bright white groundline around the prop and shaft.  I also saw a snarl around the rudder shoe that was hooked tight around the bottom of the aft end of the rudder.  One quick slash at that line and the rudder was free. 
KABOOM Count - 1

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

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #542 on: November 28, 2019, 08:56:52 AM »
That line seemed to just glow down there in the lowered light.  That and the white jellyfish was about all I could see when I got more than a few feet under the boat.  After about 10 dives, I had cut enough line out that I could turn the prop by hand.  I would have the crew fire up the boat while I was on the ladder between dives and quickly bump the gear in forward and reverse.  Each time,  it seemed like a few new loops would open up and allow me to cut out a bit more line. 

Eventually, I cut enough out the prop was free of any large snarls and didn't seem to have any vibration.  There was still a bit jammed inbetween the prop and the cutlass bearing that I couldn't get to, but it was good enough.

I left the jellyfish and climbed on deck, got out of my gumby suit, and warmed up.  Erika had already started a roast in the crockpot while I was driving us to the cove, so it was ready and I ate well.  I decided I wanted to run the boat hard before I called it a job done, so we picked up the hook and ran to our normal anchoring spot.  Everything seemed good enough.

Total bill for the day was about 15 fathoms of brand new groundline and 4 hours of lost fishing time.  Could have been worse.  I racked out and waited for the jellyfish dreams to come.
KABOOM Count - 1

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

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #543 on: November 28, 2019, 09:02:18 AM »
The rest of the season was fairly uneventful.  Bait pots, set pots, haul pots, re-set pots.  Popping shrimp heads, freezer work, etc.  We rarely hit the rack before midnight most nights.  One 50 knot October storm blew through that kept me off the gear for a morning, but it was fishable in the afternoon. 

A few notable things - we caught an eel in a pot, I have been told it is a Gunnel.  Whatever it was, it was as tasty as it was ugly. Fried it up like unagi and enjoyed it. 
KABOOM Count - 1

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

Offline Skillet

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #544 on: November 28, 2019, 09:11:51 AM »
Here's a pic I think is pretty funny.  I was trying to set up a camera to film our fishing process, and the crew was watching me.  They both have a worried "What is he doing now" look  :chuckle: on their faces...

Also some random pics of shrimp to follow- live shrimp, bin FULL of tails to be glazed.
KABOOM Count - 1

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

Offline RB

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #545 on: November 28, 2019, 09:48:06 AM »
Always an adventure on the fishing grounds! The very reason my grand father kept a small set of dive gear on his troller. Glad it all worked out ok, thanks for the update!
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Offline brokentrail

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #546 on: November 28, 2019, 11:19:48 AM »
I just sat and read all 37 pages of this post.... Very informative and and enjoyable!  Thanks for sharing your adventure @skillet

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #547 on: November 28, 2019, 01:42:33 PM »
Glad you made it out unscathed.  AK people are a different breed.

Offline Ridgeratt

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #548 on: November 28, 2019, 01:45:44 PM »
The "Look" on your crews face. OMG what have we gotten into? Glad it all turned out for you.

Offline jmscon

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #549 on: November 28, 2019, 08:59:03 PM »
Getting net or line in your wheel is no joke!

I was fishing on a gill netter in Bristol Bay in the Ugashik district. We were switching ends and the skipper threw it in reverse to slow us down so we could grab the buoy that was at the end of our net. The other deckhand and I had used our hook pole to grab the line and we were about to snap the drum line on when the skipper, instead of throwing it ahead, put his hand on the throttle and gave it a shove. Slurp, net went right into the wheel and stalled the engine! It took him a couple of tries and stalled the engine a couple more times to cut the line enough for us to get under way. Still had to tie an eye onto the rough end of the cork line and pull the, now just under, 150 fathoms of net in.
As we were limping into the river, where we deliver our fish and anchor up when we arenít fishing, I would see a cork come up in our wash behind the boat.
The other deckhand was a commercial diver but one, we had no dive gear and two the only clear water was the open water, in the rivers it is so silty that you canít see six inches.
I canít remember but one of the two years I worked with that particular deckhand the pack ice hadnít broken up until May and the water temperature outside of the river, in the open water, was 38*!

Itís really hard to convey how dicey situations like these are. The speed of the currents, how fast fog or storms can blow in, desolation, little boats in big water, closest CG station 180 mi. away by air, etc.

Miss going up there, bad, bad bad!

Thanks for posting skillet, living vicariously through your posts!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 10:35:37 PM by jmscon »
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Offline rainshadow1

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #550 on: December 01, 2019, 05:08:27 PM »
A few hours and a few fathoms of ground line doesn't sound like much... But I know first hand that going under the boat in ANY conditions brings a long list of other very real potential disasters that don't qualify as paranoia.

I've never done it.

I've chosen a few times not to.

Small boat fishing I've been up to my chest on the beach cutting bouyline out of a raised outdrive. Had a deckhand go under the bigger boat and cut out some bouyline in the shelter of the harbor. But outside shelter... no.

I had a piece of midwater net come up on a single hook of blackcod tube gear once. Billowed under the boat like a parachute and I never saw a hint of it 'til the engine stalled. Had the crew reef on it as much as possible, then tie off what they could get ahold of, and tried to go again. Stalled it out several times. Called for a tow. That was 35 miles from the beach. I wasn't going under the boat, and wasn't sending crew under. Not out there.

The diver took about 2 minutes cutting it out back at the dock. He checked the zincs just because he felt bad about charging me $200 for two minutes work. I lost that, and two days fishing, fuel to run back out, and a full boarding inspection, but it was worth it to me... I didn't send anyone under the boat. 

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Offline cem3434

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #551 on: December 01, 2019, 05:58:57 PM »
So how much longer do we have to stay tuned for a group buy?  :chuckle:
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Offline Dhoey07

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #552 on: December 01, 2019, 06:03:45 PM »
So how much longer do we have to stay tuned for a group buy?  :chuckle:
:yeah: :yeah: :yeah:

Offline Stein

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #553 on: December 01, 2019, 06:07:22 PM »
Man, I can't believe how many shrimp tails you had in that pic.  We fish max 5 in our boat, so it's 400 tails and after popping those, I'm about happy the season is one day. 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 09:31:07 AM by Stein »

Offline nwwanderer

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Re: Commercial Fishing
« Reply #554 on: December 03, 2019, 09:30:15 AM »
May be best not to teach that crew engine/mechanical function, mutiny comes to mind!!!!  Great stuff, thanks

 


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