Well, it’s April 15th and I’m well into gearing up for another season. As it gets closer to that time of the year..fishing time, once again there appears to be so much to do in these closing weeks.
First of all, I have to finish up all of my teaching duties at Service High School in Anchorage. On top of attempting to handle a bunch of anxious for their summer-break teenagers; I have to get testing done, submit final grades, and of course graduation for seniors. Managing all of this while constantly entertaining the phone calls and emails of potential crewman, and fish-buyers becomes quite the balancing act.
The morning after school is officially out I will pack up my guys, all my clothes for 3 months, and everything I can fit into my truck and make the five hour road trip to down the Glenn Highway to Valdez.
There’s always plenty of pre-season work to be done and this year is certainly not an exception. One of the most recent upgrades to the F/V Potato Point will be a a new Yamaha 250 outboard to install on my skiff. This will be a substantial upgrade from the 150 I used all season last year that required the twice-a-day squirt of starter fluid to keep running, and should make life a lot easier for my skiff operator and myself. Second is my hydraulic system. On a commercial boat such as the Potato Point, so much is ran off of hydraulic power that if you have even the most minor weak-spot in your hydraulics you could see problems with several different aspects of the operation; including all of the power equipment for bringing in the nets, and your RSW (Refrigeration) system, which keeps the fish cold and fresh. We will be re-plumbing and replacing a significant amount of hydraulics, which always ends up being a nice and dirty job. The third major job will be Seine (Net) repair, (which thankfully my Seine is new and built last year) but still will need a good amount of touching up, easily using up 3/4 days of work. Thankfully I’ll have some company on the net docks as Captain Thomas and Alex are both rebuilding seines. As I write the list only becomes longer and it will surely double when I arrive into town.
As for my crew I have a returning deck hand Mark, and two new greenhorns, which will definitely keep things exciting. All things are shaping up to be another challenging yet fun season.
- Captain Dustin