Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Stern Party"

I'm going to elaborate about the footage shown where Jonathan ends up with a buoy tangled in his rudder, and or wheel. First of all, most crab boats are equipped with a "shaft brake" which stops the prop from turning once the boat has been pulled out of gear, this allows the vessel to "coast" over buoys and lines and ninety nine percent of the time, that's what happens.

Now bear in mind as the driver, your sending buoys down the rail all day long and this would have to be the most common way to end up with a set of bags in the stern. The crew could miss, or the driver for that matter, or there could be another unseen pot. These scenario's are the one's that pose a problem because the boat doesn't coast over gear as easily at low speeds, such is the case when hauling

When unfortunately you end up with a bag tangled in the stern there's only a couple of options. One, is to hope by swinging the rudder back and forth the buoys will clear. Two,is to get enough of the line aboard to try to pull it out of the rudder or prop. If to no avail, you've gotten to the unpleasant part of putting the boat in gear, and cutting it off with the propeller. This is always quite nerve racking because you never know how much line will remain in the prop,if any. (Picture your engine dead and the shaft fowled) this is a possibility, although rare.

More often than not, the pot can be saved and it's nothing more than a time waster, but in bad weather, because the boat is in neutral, and drifting for what is usually several minutes,it can become quite harrowing as you get to thrashing around. Whatever the case it's nice to go months, and or entire seasons, without the infamous... "Stern Party"

Capt. Monte "Wizard Mouse"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sorry for the delay, as I've been on the road. I want to elaborate on the great time I had in Florida. I arrived late Friday and by Saturday morning I was ready to "go". This was a free day for me, and it was great to see some friends that I had made the year before. We spent the day on the beach in front of the hotel, drinking a few beers, and I somehow managed to get a tad too much sun.

Saturday night was the VIP/celebrity cocktail party. I had a great time meeting the pro athletes, all there for the weekend to support the Foundation, as I was. There were more than a few Superbowl rings in the house from the year the Buccaneers won it all.

Sunday was a beach day with the same group from the night before, and ironically it poured rain all day! We played a "Cornhole" tournament under a covered deck and the rain didn't bother us at all. The game is a cross between Horseshoes and shuffle board and can be played anywhere. Set 30 feet apart the object is to land the 5 inch square, corn filled bag, on the playing surface for one point, a bag that drops in the hole is good for three points.

My partner was "Dog" a local radio host and we managed to take third place! Mike Alstott and his partner took first.

The next day the sun came out and the conditions for golf were perfect. My team hit the ball great but struggled on the greens, we ended up nine under in the "Best Ball" format with the winners at 17 under. The food, (it seemed every tee box had a BBQ or something!) was killer! The entire event was first class. Thanks again to The Mike Alstott Family Foundation and all the hard working people who donate their time for such a great cause.

Capt. Monte Wizard Mouse

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Once the gear is wet"

At the start of every season, once the gear is set, there is a considerable amount of time to burn. If we are fishing 225 to 250 pots it would take roughly six or seven hours to dump the entire load. They would go over in 7 to 8 thirty pot strings, and cover 15 to 20 miles. By the time we ran back to the first pot it should have 8 to 10 hours on it.

Normally we wouldn't haul a string on a short soak (less than 18 hours) but one can get a feel for what's down there by pulling a pot at either end of each string, this is known as "spot checking". This is our usual practice even though we risk the possibility of being mislead ... for example if you caught 20 crab in twelve hours would that turn into a 60 crab in 36 hours? Hard to say but after roughly twenty pots, over twenty miles, one would have a pretty good idea which area had the stronger fishing.

With that said, by the time you set the load of pots (7 hrs), ran back (2 hrs),spot checked (7 hrs) then ran back again (2 hrs) now the first string has 18 hours soak on it and now we can finally haul the gear.

This scenario would not pertain to everyone because not all boats can carry such a large load of gear. When I was running the F/V Norseman, a much smaller boat, my plan was to run to the "storage area", pick up a hundred or so pots I had set prior to the season (no bait, doors open) and return to my original load, this would normally take 20 to 30 hours which would allow plenty of soak on the gear already set.

Capt. Monte "Wizard Mouse"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Since this was my last weekend at home for awhile I wanted to make the most of it, we loaded the dirt bikes up early and headed down the hill. One of our favorite riding spots is north of Reno about 30 miles near Pyramid lake, known as Moon Rocks. With dry camping, an endless trail system and mountains to scale the area has great riding for any caliber offroader. We always seem to find a new trail and sometimes it can get a little crazy, as was the case on Saturday. Thom, my riding buddy and Dustin his 15 year old son and myself set out to for a little hill climbing, our choice would have to be considered one of the most difficult in the area, and after a hour or so of serious climbing, we reached the top. Taking a well deserved breather, we decided to descend into a narrow passage that maybe only a handful of bikes had traveled. this "trail" soon turned into a narrow, boulder strewn canyon. And at this point it became obvious that there was no turning around! After a handful of vertical drops of six feet or more we approached the base and all that was left? a 50 yard blitz down a 60 degree chute with three huge boulders greeting us at the bottom.. We all safely navigated this plunge and nervous laughter filled the air, an hour later we were back at the camp reliving our conquest. A good end to a great day in the Nevada high desert

Capt. Monte "Wizard Mouse"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Catching up with friends.....

One of the great things about being back at home is the chance to spend time with friends and do some catching up, which is how I spent this past weekend. My wife and I went into Reno and met up with four other couples at "Joe Bob's Chicken Palace" to eat some good fried chicken, have a couple of drinks and listen to "Baker Street" do some easy listening tunes. While that was a good time in itself, we couldn't let it end there so we headed on over to "The Black Tangerine" for a couple more drinks and some really good old rock and roll. I had never been into The Black Tangerine before, and I have to say, it is a pretty happening little place there on the South side of town.

Capt Monte "Wizard Mouse"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mornin' I mentioned hanging out with the "Blue Collar Comedy Group" this was posted on Larry the Cable guys Web site... gdata
Capt. Monte "Wizard Mouse"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"How we let the little ones out"

Hello, now that I'm home for the summer,I'll take this opportunity to pass on some little known facts about crab fishing. And if you have any questions ask them in your comments.....

Over the course of the year I'm sure you have noticed that between every fishery we spend several days converting the gear to coincide with the various types of crab we target. These changes are required by the Alaska Dept. of fish and game. One of the most time consuming changes is the required "escapement" web. The size of the King crab mesh is roughly 6 inches high and about the same wide, this large opening is designed to allow the "undersized" crab to escape prior to the pot being hauled, which is fine with us because we don't want to catch crab we can't keep anyways. This larger web has to cover one half of a vertical surface being either the 'door' or the 'back' of each pot.

Now of course we don't sew or hang different web each season on the pots but instead change out the doors. Each pot has three completely different doors one for the Opilio crab another for Bairdi and a third for King crab. If we failed to change the door after Kings and went Opie fishing the pot would come up empty as all the 4 inch crab would run right out the large web. The Opilio web is about 3 inches squared and the Bairdi about 5 inches... check out the photo's and again would be pleased to answer any questions.

Capt.Monte 'Wizard Mouse"