With the season set to open on Wednesday, July 1, we finished up our last minute chores (perishable grocery items, topping of our fresh water) and left the dock on Sunday afternoon. We wanted to give ourselves a few days to get to our fishing spot, and relax a little before the madness of the opener. We knew the fleet had 70,000 or so fish to catch and everyone figured we would haul that up in about 3 to 4 days (although it’s really impossible to predict). Most fishermen were grumbling about the quota - you can read more about that situation here.
We had a nice ride down to our starting point for the year which we had decided would be somewhere near Craig. We had successful king fishing there in the past and with the weather sounding like it was going to start off a little rough on Wednesday and Thursday we decided we just weren't tough enough to venture out to the Fairweather grounds.
We spent Monday and Tuesday doing a bit of prospecting, watching the sounder for feed and looking for whales and birds to clue us into where the fish would be. We enjoyed some absolutly gorgeous days on the water before eventually picking our spot and then finding a sheltered spot to drop the anchor on the last day of June. What a relief to crawl into the bunk at 8 pm, read a little and get a decent night’s sleep before the season begins! Last year due to some technical difficulties we had to run all night the night before the opener and pretty much drove right onto the grounds in time to drop our gear in the water at 4 AM - that really set us back for the whole week and we vowed to never put ourselves in that position again.
Get dressed, make coffee, check our position, set the gear, make breakfast, haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Haul the gear, clean fish, put fish in the freezer, clean the deck. Eat dinner. go to bed. Up at 3:30 AM to George and repeat until that sweet, sweet voice on the radio tells us that “the 2015 summer king salmon opener will end on July 7th at Midnight.”
We did get a bit of a break on day 3 when we decided to pick up and run after our first two days down south proved to be a bit slow. Luckily we got some good information from a friend that we decided to follow, and we ended up taking about 8 hours to change position - which ultimately was a smart decision and allowed us to rack up our best summer king opener ever!
What a relief to finally stack the gear 7 days later and head for Goddard hot springs. We spent the night there (11 hours of sweet, sweet sleep) and then spent the bulk of Thursday glazing our fish. A soak in a hot springs never felt so good!
Then up at 5 AM on Friday to head for the Samson Dock, where we had an easy offload working with our friends Matt and Vincent on the F/V Born Again (although it rained most of the day) and then enjoyed a well-deserved night at the Westmark.
This morning it’s been a lot of dock talk, coffee and catching up with our friends. It sounds like most of our gang had a good opener, with just a few exceptions. The kings were big and plentiful, and the cohos were looking pretty good as well. We’ll take a few days to rest, recoup, deal with some small projects and then head out on our first coho trip of the summer
Hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing 4th of July weekend!