I have to pull a net full of green eyes in by hand. My situation just got depressing. This is one of those times I wish there were someone else aboard. But, alas, I fish by myself, so all tasks fall on me to do, even the unpleasant ones.
I take a big sigh and start to pull. “This is going to be a mess” I think to myself. As I pull these bastards in I have to pile the net on deck. It doesn’t take long before I have no place to stand. I’m trying to pull with all my might and I keep losing my footing because I’m standing on net and spiky fish. Adrenaline is pumping, sweat is pouring. I’m burning up inside my raingear. It doesn’t matter. I have to get this net in. I put one foot on the gunnels for leverage. And there is no place for my feet on deck anyway. I pull. I get pulled. “What the hell, over?” I exclaim (again, to myself). I put both feet on the gunnels. This gives me more leverage, but if whatever is weighing to much wins, I’m going in the drink. I heave. Again I get pulled. I feel like a cartoon character as I can’t see what is causing this. Then I hear “watchya doin’?” Where did this voice come from? Surprised, I look up and there is Phil. I was so engrossed in my tug a war I didn’t hear him pull up. I yank on the net one more time. This time I win. As I do I go flying backwards and land on my back on top of my pile of net and green eyes. As I land I see a big king salmon come flying over the rollers! “Holy shit!” I cheer. I didn’t even see him. It was pure luck that he didn’t fall out of my net during my tug a war session. He must have weighed 40 pounds. I stand up to answer Phil. “I’m having a blast. Did you see that king?” I pant, as I am out of breath from my current task. I am now also all slimy from falling on my net and fish. “Can I give you a hand?” He asks casually. “Yeah”.
He motors over to the end of my net and starts picking it up, as his reel is bigger than mind and can accommodate this. I take a moment to catch my breath and sigh in relief as my net is finally out of the water. It only takes Phil a few minutes to pick up my net. We are now bow to bow. My work is not done. I still have to pull my net in by hand, but it’s much, much easier now. I pile it on my bow. Once I get it all aboard I thank Phil for his help.
I head into my cabin. My coffee is still on my counter. I take a swig, its ice cold. Ah, the life of a fisherman. I put on my headset and head south to deeper waters. I have to get rid of these green eyes but I have to run far enough away so I don’t catch more in the process. My boat feels funny as its all bow heavy from all the green eyes. It looks deck loaded. And it is, just not with salmon.
I run about 15 minutes wishing I could run longer as I’m not looking forward to the task at hand. Alas, I can delay the inevitable any longer. I find a spot where no one is around. I throw it in neutral. I crawl back into my raingear and head out on deck. I throw my buoy over and put the boat in reverse. I play my net that is stacked on deck out by hand. I groan in disdain as I can hear it ripping from all the green eyes in it. I cringe every time I hear that sounds. Once I get to the net that is on the reel, its goes out a little more smoothly now. But, I am still setting very slowly as not to rip it up. Once I get the whole thing out I can start to haul it back in. The green eyes are still in it, but the come out much easier now that they are dead. For one, they are not fighting me and they are more limp. But these things are even more disgusting looking now that they are dead, if you can believe that. And they stink. So, I pick them out and throw them over, one by one. There is no market for these things in Alaska. To bad too, otherwise I could have just made a lot of money. I finally get my net cleaned out and back aboard and am ready to fish. I look at the clock, it’s 12 noon. That venture was only a 5 hour waste of time.