Original air date: April 21, 2009
The crew of the Wizard tends to Captain Keith Colburn, but it is too early to tell if he is seriously injured from bumping his head on the underside of the boat. After another test string results in a full pot, Captain Johnathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit drops his entire load of pots in the hot spot from last season. After getting eight hours of sleep, On the Wizard, Captain Keith takes over the helm even though he does not remember most of what happened during his accident. The skippers notice the red sky in the morning and the leading edge of a monster storm reaches the fleet at 10:00 AM with the Northwestern getting hit first. Her crew continues to fish through the leading edge of the storm, when Captain Sig Hansen’s wife calls with a weather report of approaching 40-knot (74 km/h; 46 mph) plus winds from the east. Captain Sig decides to push as hard as he can before the storm hits. The Time Bandit consolidates her entire 197 pot load in a 0.5-square-mile (1.3 km2) area. Relief Captain Murray Gamrath steers the Cornelia Marie to pick up a 15-mile (24 km) long string of 90 pots after a 48-hour soak, but instead of the 60 average keepers he was expecting, he gets only a few crab per pot. With such low numbers, Captain Murray orders the crew to stack the gear and heads off to a second string 20 miles (32 km) to the north. He also receives a phone call from Captain Phil Harris asking him how the fishing is going and providing Captain Murray with a report that Captain Johnathan of the Time Bandit was averaging 80 to 90 keepers per pot. On board the Northwestern, a broken pot catches the line while being dropped overboard, causing two pots to get tangled, but the crew slowly works to clear the problem. The Cornelia Marie hits the southern edge of the storm and where 60 pots were dropped to the north, but while the pots look good at first, most of the crab are females or juveniles. The crew grumbles about the lack of crab and Captain Murray has no plan on where to go next. The Time Bandit continues to pull up good numbers, filling up their tanks with nearly 30,000 pounds (14,000 kg) of crab, but the 36-hour grind causes the tension to rise between Mike Fourtner and Russell Newberry. The fleet gets hit by a typhoon from Japan that produces 35-foot (11 m) seas and 60-knot (111 km/h; 69 mph) winds. At 12:37 AM on October 22, 2008, the crab fleet hears a mayday call from the Katmai, a cod fisher with 11 men on board, that she is sinking, but the ship is 900 miles (1,400 km) west of the fleet and the skippers are too far away to assist. The United States Coast Guard launches an MH-60 Jayhawk and two C-130 Hercules from USCG Air Station Kodiak to the location of the Katmai’s EPIRB. After a seven-hour flight, the MH-60 Jayhawk arrives on scene and locates the EPIRB, a flare, debris, and an empty life raft, but no survivors. At 1:00 PM, the Jayhawk crew spots a survival suit in the water, but the rescue swimmer reports that the crew member is deceased.