Original air date: May 20, 2008
Heavy seas, lack of proper equipment (no forward-facing sodium lights or crab sorting table), and the crew’s inexperience from being away from king crab fishing for three years, made for difficult fishing on board the North American while it tried to catch 22,000 pounds (10,000 kg) of crab to fill their tanks. Under pressure to catch their quota in a limited time, Deck Boss John Skaar’s orders to launch pots faster caused conflict on deck when the rest of the crew became concerned that cutting corners was compromising crew safety. Captain Keith Colburn of the Wizard decided to try his luck in an area, called the “Slime Bank” for the multitude of jellyfish, that he had not fished in over 30 years, but the 60 pot string produced no crab and Captain Keith returned to more conventional fishing grounds. A repaired coiler broke again, forcing the crew to hand coil the lines, but they continued to pull up good numbers in the new fishing grounds. The Time Bandit’s’ luck at fishing remote, seldom fished grounds was better when the boat brought up 35,000 pounds (16,000 kg) of crab in 12 hours, led by perfect hook throwing by veteran deckhand Russell Newberry. When an injured cormorant landed on deck, Captain Johnathan Hillstrand took him in until the boat returned to Dutch Harbor where wildlife rescuers could tend to him, but the bird disappeared after the crew finished pulling the string. On board the Cornelia Marie, the crew pulled up full pots, but the stress of fishing and a tight deadline for a changed offload date took its toll on Captain Phil Harris and he became ill, much to the concern of his oldest son, Josh. The Northwestern continued to grind through their pots in heavy seas. When greenhorn Jake Anderson hooked another boat’s buoy, Deckhand Matt Bradley saved the day by making a Hail Mary toss of the hook from the stern of the boat.