Original air date: May 13, 2008
After offloading 180,000 pounds (82,000 kg) of crab worth $756,000, the Northwestern raced back to the fishing grounds in order to catch the remaining 19,000 pounds (8,600 kg) of their quota in the nine days before their quoted price drops. Although they averaged 60 crab per pot, Captain Sig Hansen, concerned about the volume of crab, decided to follow his hunch and moved to different fishing grounds. The move turned out to be a poor one when the pots in the new territory produced low numbers of crab, causing the deck crew to grumble that they should not have moved. A pin broke in the picking hook pulley aboard the Time Bandit. The broken pulley dropped a steel cable on deck, nearly hitting greenhorn Shea Long. After replacing the pulley, Deckhand Neal Hillstrand had to climb the mast to secure the safety chain to the boom; a task all the more difficult since the Time Bandit was in 25-foot (7.6 m) seas. After low numbers caused low morale on the deck of the Early Dawn, Engineer Mike Fish decided to give greenhorn Bryan Mezich a lesson in humility by letting Bryan tend the rail for the first 20 pots of a 300 pot string that had been soaking for 18 hours. Bryan’s first attempts at throwing the hook were off the mark and Captain Rick Fehst put the boat into reverse, an insult to the hook thrower, after three failed attempts. Only after the sixth throw was Bryan able to hook the line. Despite the troubles picking up the first pot, the string proved to be a good one when the pots produced good numbers and the deck crew’s morale rose as more crab were brought on board. Six weeks into the season and after convincing his father to allow him to fish for king crab, Captain Sten Skaar and the North American returned to Alaska after a three year hiatus. Captain Sten hired aboard Captain Erik Nyhammer of the Rollo (last seen in Season 2) as a deckhand and his crab fishing pots to make this return to king crab fishing. By using borrowed crab pots, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game only allowed Captain Sten two weeks to fish. At Dutch Harbor, the Wizard offloaded 183,000 pounds (83,000 kg) of crab worth nearly $800,000. Before the crew headed back out, Captain Keith Colburn took the crew out for a drink and to pick up a porta-potty in order to play a prank upon the North American. In previous fishing seasons, the Wizard leased the North American’s fishing quota and Captain Keith felt it necessary to play a prank upon Captain Sten when he took back his quota. Captain Keith hauled up one of the North American’s pots and attached the porta-potty to it before dropping it back overboard. The North American pulled low numbers on their test pots and strings, but thought that their luck had changed after picking up the porta-potty prank. The full pots turned out to be full of female and juvenile crab, which must be returned to the sea, and only a few keepers were in each pot.