Deadliest Catch – Down to the Wire

by Mikey

We are in the final week of the king crab season and the boats are all scrambling to make their quotas before the market prices drop too low.  The Time Bandit finished up last week, meeting their quota.  The rest of the fleet has one last week to get on the crab.

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On the Cornelia Marie, they are grinding low numbers and finally the crab business starts to pick up.  The days grinding away have taken a toll on deckhand Jake’s back and when his brother steps in to help him they end up fighting as brothers do.  I love my brothers but being stuck working on a boat with them for weeks at a time, to me, is a lot like going to a small petting zoo.  Sure the two goats and the duck are cool at first but after a few minutes I wanna see a damn ostrich.  I’d fight with anyone if I were stuck in a small space with them for 50 days.  Murray finally gets them on the crab but the problem comes when they pull into offload.  A lot of their crab has died. Murray had them out to sea too long and the crab could not survive the length of time on the boat. They end up losing a good chunk of money to dead loss.

On the Northwestern they are pulling their usual long hours and low numbers.  This whole season they have been working 36 hour shifts and pulling 8-14 keepers a pot.  Captain Sig even does a bit of radio fishing which you do not see him do very often.  He seemed to reach out to his Norwegian brothers and find some possibilities; it was a kick listening to him bust out the Norwegian on the radio.  To get their last bunch of crab, the crew works 53 hours straight to avoid a 5% market price drop.  Once they finally are on their last string, Edgar lights the hook on fire, a family tradition, and they set off fireworks to signal the end of their season.

On the Wizard, they are on their last few strings with plenty of time to avoid the price drop.  They end up pulling up great numbers and are impressed by deckhand Josh who is offered a job to fish the Opilio season and gets the green horn initiation. (blowing into a horn and having chalk get blown into his face)  I think he’s lucky.  The initiations are much worse on the other boats.  I learned along time ago, never blow on anything another man hands you, but that is a story for another time.  The biggest blow to the Wizard was the retiring of Lenny, their long time deck hand and engineer.  He will be very difficult to replace.

The Lisa Marie has disappeared, which means they no longer had the drama or excitement needed to stay on Deadliest Catch.  They spent most of the season cleaning the bottom of the ocean, catching more tires, boots, and George Foreman grills, than crab. Make a note, never name your boat after anyone who was married to Michael Jackson.

The Time Bandit who finished last week showed us what fishermen do on vacation. They fish! The boys are down in Mexico, fishing Marlin and having a blast.  It definitely pays to finish early.

Final Numbers:
Time Bandit 1.25 million lbs.  30k per deck hand
Northwestern 2.27 million lbs.  51k per deckhand
Wizard 1.8 million lbs.  32k per deckhand
Cornelia Marie 2.6 million lbs.  54k per deck hand

Not bad for 50 days work. Next week we move into the harsh Opilio season.  January fishing means ice, ice, and even more ice.  Not the good kinda ice like you make a slushy or a snow cone with. It’s the oh shit, there is too much ice on my boat and I’m sinking, kind of ice.  Tune in it looks to be a great season!

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