An adventure is interesting enough in retrospect, especially to the person who didn't have it; at the time it happens it usually constitutes an exceedingly disagreeable experience.
- Vilhjalmur Stefansson
Aggresive. Grueling. Tough. Sleepless. Fast. These are some words that somewhat describe fishing in Bristol Bay. Imagine 250 boats, 32 feet long, all trying to set 1500 feet of gillnet as close as possible to an imaginary GPS line that is guarded by Fish and Game. All USCG rules of the road go out the window. Tempers flare. Middle fingers fly.
Once your skipper feels that the net is suffieciently full of fish, you begin to reel it in on a hydraulic powered drum. As each section of net comes in you have to "pick" each fish out of the net. Sliding your fingers up under the gills and popping out $4.50 (only $.45 was mine). Sometimes the net would have three or four thousand pounds of fish in it. They would pile up a foot high on the deck. Other times there would be only two or three. We did this routine of setting and picking hundreds of times. The first week your hands swell and go numb. The second week they just go numb. By the third week they feel fine.
Fishing was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Would I go back again? Absolutely.
There were many good times too. I met some cool people, saw a unique kind of beauty, and became stronger in many different ways.
I am back in Somerset, KY right now. I hope to add a couple more posts soon with pictures of bears from Katmai National Park and the Kenai peninsula.