Original air date: June 3, 2008
The 2008 opilio crab season started with the Cornelia Marie returning after a main engine overhaul during the off season, the entire crew of the Northwestern suffering from the flu except for greenhorn Jake Anderson, and the usual change of captains on the Time Bandit from Johnathan Hillstrand to younger brother Andy Hillstrand. Johnathan’s son Scott returned for the opilio season. The fleet left Dutch Harbor ahead of a storm, but the Wizard trailed behind because it had to refuel before heading out. The traditional biting off of the head of a herring on the Northwestern was done by deckhand Matt Bradley before Captain Sig Hansen dropped their crab pots on family fishing grounds. After an 8 hour soak and with Captain Andy contemplating a move after the first two strings of a test string produced poor results, the Time Bandit’s third string produced good numbers. With the Wizard’s late start to the season, the boat was forced to ride out 40-foot (12 m) seas with a full stack of pots on deck until Captain Keith Colburn to drop 100 pots as soon as the boat reached the continental shelf. After the Wizard reached the normal opilio fishing grounds, a broken hydraulic system prevented the boat from dropping their remaining 150 pots. The North American broke in new greenhorn Darrell Labay to the ways of opilio crab fishing. On board the Cornelia Marie, an 8 hour soak on their 180 pots produced great numbers, but two engine warning lights on their newly overhauled engine forced the boat to return to Dutch Harbor. A United States Coast Guard HH-60J Jayhawk was dispatched from Air Station Kodiak to medevac a crewmember from the fish processing vessel Island Enterprise. The helicopter was instructed to fly to Cold Bay, Alaska where a waiting plane was to take the patient to Anchorage, Alaska, but poor weather conditions made the crew request an alternative flight plan.