7.6.16. Kings 2016

Now that we are on the other side of the 2016 king salmon opening we can see it all a little more clearly. The rush to get out of town. The nervousness in the pit of the stomach. The anxiety of all of it. And the excitement. Meeting people in town before hand, planning, scheming, everybody trying to find the fish. Getting the boat as ready as it can be. Then the looking for fish. Then first light on July first arrives, time to have gear in the water.   
We spent June 30 in a small windy bay. We were the only boat there which wasn’t surprising with the weather. We had seen other boats around in the day and there are lots of places to tuck away in that area. At first light it was still blustery in the anchorage and even rougher out and around where we wanted to fish. We were the only boat there for a little while, the weather kept some boats upwind and the Cape kept only a few of the hardiest from coming around the other way. It was a good feeling to catch fish right away in the place we had wanted them to be.  
After the excitement of the first day it is all a bit of a blur in my mind. We had a few days of good fishing and a few days of poor fishing, good weather and bad. We had 2 all night runs, one to change areas, one to get back to town to sell. We saw flocks of birds, whales, herring boiling at the surface, and fat, shiny king salmon. We drove all night when it was clear and calm and it didn’t get dark. We drifted one night, just shut off the engine in the fishing area and went to sleep for a few hours.   
It isn’t all porpoises and sunsets. It is often really challenging. Joe has to make important decisions despite the lack of sleep and hard work that make us money and keep us safe. He has to keep the boat fishing every minute, when we lost the line, he had to make another one happen right away. When the gurdies wouldn’t haul in the gear, he had to figure out why. It is about all I can do to keep up my part of the job, cleaning and icing the fish, making food every once in awhile and taking care of Ocean. 
We arrived back in Sitka town at 5 in the morning after the closure on midnight of the 5th day. Our timing was good and the all night run to town paid off because we didn’t have to wait to unload our fish. By the time we were done there was a list 25 boats long. We were totally exhausted. When someone asked Ocean what he did in the day he said that he went to the showers with his dad while his mom slept then went to the showers again while his dad slept. He didn’t mind going to the showers twice because they have internet there and he could do all kinds of Pokemon research. That evening we went out to dinner with other fishing friends, all of the older fishermen were exhausted, couldn’t read the menu and ordered the default hamburger. Ocean was alert enough to listen to the waitress, hear it was bbq night, and order a big plate of ribs for himself and two sides of fried pickles to share. A good ending to the official start of the 2016 trolling season.