Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Crabbers

 It's February 15 today, the official opening day of the Tanner Crab season here in Southeast. As you can see there are three boats tied up at the cold storage and another half dozen or more at the downtown float. I was both pleased and surprized when I looked out this morning and the boats were still tied up. I thought that I had missed my opportunity to get a few pictures of them. I spoke to one of the captains who said that the season had been delayed for forty-eight hours because of the weather. Apparently it's blowing pretty good in Lynn Canal. I can't recall Fish and Game delaying the season on account of weather before, but I don't stay on top of those things very well. I know that years ago when the halibut season was open to everyone and the season had been reduced to twenty-four hour openings, there were more than a few lives lost because of poor weather. I'm glad that they delayed this opening for a bit. When the wind blows the spray up onto the rigging of the boats, ice forms and any extra weight above the water line can make the boats unstable. Boats have sunk because of ice build up. I believe that baseball bats are standard equipment on crabbers for beating the ice off the rigging. It may not be the Bering Sea and this isn't The Deadliest Catch, but frigid temps and furious winds make it miserable and downright dangerous.You can almost count on the weather to take a turn for the worse right before the crab season opens. It could be sunny and fifty degrees on February 14, but then overnight an Arctic storm will blow in with howling winds and snow- it's uncanny. Most of the boats doing the crab fishing here are 58 foot limit seiners. I saw one or two large trollers geared up, but usually the bigger guys have the space for all the pots and can handle the weather. A couple of the smaller local boats used to go out and catch grey cod for hanging bait for the crabbers pots, but since Floyd Hunt passed away, I don't believe anyone else is doing it, but I could be wrong. For a few years I had a permit to longline for greycod. I never used it and finally let it elapse. I don't know why I thought I would ever have the intestinal fortitude to fish in the winter. I get cold if it drops below thirty. I should go south for the winter and fish for Grouper or some such thing. In any event, I wish these guys well. I figure if they have the courage to go out and face the elements they deserve all the success that comes their way.


  1. I'm counting down the days till I can come back and go fishing on the Bonnie J.

  2. Wonderful pictures once again...however mine would have been better...soooo...
    And, I already do have a t.v. show about fishing in the Lynn Canal, it's called "Funniest Catch" Sooo...

    Yeah, I'm with Camille, I caught my first halibut last year and wanna try it again! :)

  3. You girls must have short memories. I'd be glad to take you out on the boat, but if you want to catch any halibut you'll probably have to go with someone who can catch you one. I've never had a whole lot of luck fishing for them with a rod.
    Autumn, I have two shows- Scariest Catch- you'll be so scared after fishing with me you'll promise God that you'll dye your hair white and become a nun if only He gets you home safe sooo...
    I also have Most Boring Catch. You get to fish with me on a typical day. You keep watching the poles hoping a fish will bite, but they won't. After the first eight hours of no strikes,you start eating everything in the boat. By the end of the fourteen hour day you'll weigh 324 pounds and cry out of frustration. You'll be fighting to stay awake and wonder what you were ever thinking of, sooo...
    Sounds like lots of fun huh?

  4. Fascinating and all pictures are just gorgeous!!!

  5. Well, dad, I'm the one that gave you those ideas for your show...sooo...you just didn't know it because I did it subliminally...sooo
    And, You will weigh 500 pounds, and I will be laughing at your fat as even as I'm crying out in frustration...sooo
    And, even on Most Boring Catch I'll be in the other boat catching away...so, so, so what do you think about that?

  6. By the way, I'm also secretly the producer for both shows...sooo..you're fired...sooo...

  7. Dad I have faith in us catching a halibut with a rod or however else it's done. I'm just really looking forward to being out on the water with you.
    Love you.
    P.S. I'm not coming back to WY w/out fish.

  8. Camille..hope you were able to stop at someone else's boat and buy a halibut off them;-) Ha...just kiddin dad...always amused by the comments...even months later..I live a boring life...