Bugs, Bass and the Deadliest Catch 06-11-11
I was in forward fast Saturday hoping to beat the weatherman's rain prediction. There were 11 lobster traps in the bed of the Ford.
They would be worthless unless they were lying on the floor of the Great Bay.
Since my lobster trapping hiatus last summer I forgot how intense the preparation is just to get to this far. It started in February when I purchased my license. After my license arrived it was time to buy my traps tags that traditionally take a month to process. An early April trip to the barn accomplished sorting out the traps I would sink first.
By the beginning of May I had the first leg complete, license and tags. Then came turkey season. That put lobster preparation into a 30 day holding pattern. By the first of June I was ready to complete leg two of my journey by getting the USS Coalman seaworthy. First came getting the boat out of storage. Then to dry dock in my driveway where a list was put together of the supplies I would need.
The weather was beautiful last weekend to complete leg three. I took an early morning trip to West Marine and New England Fishing Gear to purchase the “stuff” on my list. It must be noted that both businesses were very helpful and attentive to my needs.
I arrived back at dry dock and got busy with my engineering duties. There was a pot hauler and battery switch to install. Then the engine got some pre-trip TLC. I ended the first day of the weekend giving anything with exposed wood a Thompson’s Water Seal bath. Sunday I hooked the boat to the truck and launched the USS Coalman on to her slip.
Now that I was OTW it was time for Part 4, lobster trap preparation. Friday i was back at the barn checking and modifying the gear I had selected in April. By darkness leg four was complete.
With the tide creeping ever higher and the clearance under the trestle getting ever lower I elected to only bring seven traps out on the first trip. A few miles into my journey I met Joe. He was fishing for the striped ones. His fishing skills proved better than his luck.
Six miles from the dock I arrived in the fishing grounds. Every lobster trapper has his favorite holes. As I approached each set location I was encouraged by the lack of any other buoys. There were no traps set in my Family Grounds. It didn’t take long to sink my pots.
As Mother Nature would have it, it started raining on the trip back to the dock. Heeding the warning of our dock master I postponed setting the rest of my gear. As he predicted the rain started coming down heavy. I took this time to go back to the barn and get a few more traps ready.
But my day wasn’t over yet. This was the night Captains Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand along with Captain Sig Hanson of The Deadliest Catch were coming to the Hampton Beach Casino. I had been looking forward to this day for some time. So for a few hours this evening I got to listen and laugh with my marine trapping mentors. There was no bleeping of the audio tonight. I felt like the cameraman who sits in the wheelhouse filming their odyssey. They were as real and down to earth as I could have ever imagined. Andy is quite the accomplished musician and we were treated to three of his songs about life on the Bering Sea. During his tribute song to Captain Phil I looked around the crowd. There were a lot of watery eyes. I have to admit mine included.
Meeting the Captains was the highlight of my night. I only wish the pictures came out as crisp and clear as our conversations. While Karen got in her hugs with Capt Andy and Capt Sig, Capt Jonathan and I discussed that a squid painted on the front fender of his Harley was much better than an octopus. Thank you Killer Paint.
I thank the Lord for his countless blessings. I know the bounties come from my faith in Him.