June means fishing for the Lints Family.
Kyle flew up to Naknek, AK a few weeks ago with one of our new crew members, J.T. April is a nice time of year in Bristol Bay before the crazy flurry of salmon. Other fishermen have time to talk and you can even find a mechanic if needed. Kyle and J.T. looked over our boat, F/V Northland and prepared her for the upcoming season. They changed the oil, got the engine running and replaced buoys that had smashed against too many other boats last year. They also prepared the Northland for a hopeful post-season sale and showed it to a potential buyer. Our goal is to sell it and put money towards our next boat re-build.
2017 will be our first season trying to jam 4 crew members onto our tiny boat. It will only be for the peak of the season, about 10 days, but that means captain Kyle will sleep on the tiny wheel house floor. We're even trying out a young Ukranian guy. The adventures await!
And why the "D" after our permit number 3430? D signifies Double Permit in the fishing world. In years past we've leased a second permit, but this year we made the big plunge and bought a second permit. This means that instead of 3 shackles of gear we can fish 4, which equates to more fish caught per hours fished.
Flying out, the small, bush-town airline company delayed the flight by four hours, then moved up the flight by 5 hours and then at the last minute moved it up again by 45 minutes! Kyle hurriedly drove our diesel VW rabbit back to the boat to catch a taxi and on the way the engine ran away, overheated and seized. He left his beloved 1982 sports car on the side of the road with an "I'm sorry" note and ran on foot back to the airport! Meanwhile J.T. held the plane and Kyle barely made it on board. The property owner recently called us and requested moose steaks in June in trade for the free parking. Kyle is hopeful that the rabbit will run again.
The 2017 Salmon Bristol Bay forecast is a good one. Expected returns are 41 million and expected harvests are 27 million. The difference in these two numbers make sure that enough fish return up each river for the sustainability of the stocks-- SO important. These numbers are down a bit from last year, but we've had a couple gang-buster years and the number of salmon returning is always cyclical.
On June 1st Kyle will load up our trusty 1994 Ford F-250 with bunkbeds, house essentials and drive the Alcan Highway north once again. Then he'll launch F/V Skiffy and catch our halibut quota before flying out to Bristol Bay for salmon.