Original air date: July 8, 2008
The Northwestern offloaded 184,000 pounds (83,000 kg) of crab at St. Paul Island, but the growing ice in the harbor made leaving the dock difficult. Captain Sig Hansen wanted to reach his northernmost pots before the rapidly approaching ice pack covered them up. At Dutch Harbor, the Wizard completed their offload of 407,000 pounds (185,000 kg) of crab and headed back to sea. But the trip started on a sour note when Captain Keith Colburn’s brother Monte argued with him over relief duties at the wheelhouse. The Time Bandit worked their fishing ground nicknamed “Mr. Magoo” for three straight days, pulling up nearly 270,000 pounds (120,000 kg) of crab. With Engineer Neal Hillstrand retired from working the deck, Scott Hillstrand took over operating the hydraulics. Scott’s inexperience at the controls made for slower work and he made a rookie mistake when he did not properly dog down a crab pot to the launcher, causing the pot to tip over on deck, nearly hitting a crew member. During one of his morning check-ins with his father, Josh Harris heard Captain Phil question his future as a fishing boat captain. The news lowered morale aboard the boat, but the crew pulled together for a 36-hour shift to pull up 200 crab pots. The Northwestern reached their pots ahead of the ice pack and after eight hours of pulling pots and breaking ice, the crew managed to retrieve 65 of their 130 pots and pulled in 45,000 pounds (20,000 kg) of crab. With an average of 750 keepers per pot, Captain Sig Hansen regretted having to leave the spot after getting everything dialed in, but the danger of losing pots to the ice pack was too great. After the Colburn brothers patched things up between them and the new greenhorn oriented to the ways of the deck, the crew of the Wizard resumed fishing, but pulled up blanks. On board the Time Bandit, the crew finished up a 72 hour grind, though several pots had to be rail dumped because they contained only female and juvenile crab, which can not be legally fished. With larger swells rolling in, Co-captains Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand went on deck to observe Scott Hillstrand work the hydraulics. When the boat took a roll, Scott lost control of a crab pot and it nearly crushed greenhorn Earon Overson’s skull. The Cornelia Marie pulled in 120,000 pounds (54,000 kg) of crab after 72 hours of steady fishing. As a reward for making it through his second 36-hour shift, Deckhand Freddie Maughtai let greenhorn Dan Decker throw the crab hook for the first time.