Original air date: April 14, 2009
The season opens with medical issues for Captain Keith Colburn of the Wizard; a biopsy standing between him and the season. Captain Phil Harris returns to the bridge of the Cornelia Marie after being away for eight months, but then immediately spends $5,000 on new bait sacks after Jake and Josh lost the sacks from the previous season. The captains gather at the traditional burn barrel and bar where they make the year’s captain’s wager for $4,000. This year’s wager is for the most keepers caught from five specially designated captain’s pots. On the Time Bandit, the Hillstrands re-hire deckhand Mike Fourtner, who has aspirations of running the boat when the Hillstrand brothers retire. The Hillstrands play a prank on him as a welcome back by dumping two bins full of water and flour on him. On the Wizard, Captain Keith receives a call from his doctor that the biopsy came back negative for cancer, but positive for epithelial dysplasia. During the traditional blessing of the fleet, Captain Phil receives a call from his doctor that the blood clot condition has not completely healed. Reluctantly, Phil decides he must relinquish the captain’s chair to Murray Gamrath. The Time Bandit is the first to reach the southern crab grounds where Captain Johnathan drops two 10-pot prospect pots in a spot that was productive last year. Just as the Wizard is to drop her first pots of the season, Captain Keith’s wife calls with news that the $400,000 in repairs during the off-season has drained his bank account leaving him with a zero balance. The prospect pots return nearly empty and Captain Keith decides to move on. On the Northwestern, Captain Sig Hansen draws the short straw, though actually a short zip tie, to do the traditional biting off the head of a herring. On the Wizard, a pot is lost when the line snaps. Captain Keith suspects a jagged edge of zinc anode is cutting the lines, and the only way to be sure is for Captain Keith to dive under the boat or return to port. Captain Keith made the decision to do the risky dive, but as he is ascending from under the boat, the boat rolls; he sustains a head injury, and has to be lifted back aboard in a life sling. Last year’s hot spot for the Time Bandit is just as hot this year when the first pot of the prospect string hauls in 96 keepers; seeing such great results, Captain Johnathan blankets area with all of his pots.