Original air date: April 25, 2006
The Aleutian Ballad, knocked over by a rogue wave, managed to right itself, but with several crew members injured—including Captain Tilley’s own daughter, Nicole—as well as its computer not coming back on line and the wheelhouse and deck damaged, Captain Tilley decided to return to port for repairs rather than risk more damage in the storms. Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie discussed a change in duty with his ship’s greenhorn—Harris’ youngest son, Jacob—and declared that Jake may finally be ready to take shifts inside the wheelhouse so that the captain can get some rest, which had been a goal of Jake’s all season long. As the fishing continued at full speed aboard the Northwestern, Edgar Hansen decides to celebrate the launch of the last pot string of the season with a traditional Norwegian meal of boiled salt cod, Captain Sig’s favorite dish. The Rollo dealt with a coffee crisis—down to less than half a can of grounds left, they still had a long string of pots to pull in before the end of the season, so the remaining coffee was rationed until the final pot was pulled; the crew celebrated the end of their season with the last pot of coffee left. Blake Painter, still upset about being passed over for the captain’s job on the Maverick, expressed his hope that he will still get to pilot the Maverick soon, perhaps as early as the upcoming Opilio season. The Cornelia Marie, still needing to catch crab to fill its large quota, moved closer to the same grounds being fished by the Northwestern. When Sig Hansen spotted a Cornelia Marie pot off the bow, he suggested to his crew that they “mess with it” as payback for Phil Harris’ pre-season comment that he would miss “beating (Sig’s) ass” under the new IFQ rules. The Northwestern crew hauled the pot up—”They’ve got more crab than we do!” Edgar observed—then hooked fishing gloves and a pair of thong underwear to the bait hook and welded the door shut before returning the pot to the ocean. As night fell over the fishing grounds, the Cornelia Marie retrieved the pot and were mystified by the welded door as well as the “party boy” underwear in the pot; Phil Harris expressed a belief that “my fat little buddy Rick (Quashnick, of the Maverick)” pulled the prank and radioed the Maverick for confirmation. Captain Rick Quashnick denied his involvement; however, Sig listened in on the conversation over the radio and decided to call Harris and see how long it would take before Harris figured out who really pulled the prank. Once Phil figured out the truth from Sig’s denials that he would ever pull such a prank—”I would never do such a thing—that would be illegal!” Sig asserted—the two men shared a laugh about the prank, but Harris got the last word by pulling a Northwestern pot and filling it with garbage, then mounting a steel pipe over part of the “shot” (rope length), which would interfere with the Northwestern retrieval block and give them a half-ton dead weight hanging off the side of the boat. As the Northwestern crew pulled their last pots up, they discovered the altered pot; Edgar figured out how to bypass the retrieval block and pull the pot aboard by the pipe around the rope. The Northwestern crew then discovered that all their crab were taken out of the pot and the pot had been refilled with garbage from the Cornelia Marie; Sig salutes his rival and gives the pipe-over-rope trick a “9” on the practical joke scale. The boats returned to Dutch Harbor to offload at the end of the season, one of the first seasons in years with no recorded deaths.