Labor day weekend. A time where we celebrate working by scorching meat and drinking heavily. In the Harpy-Fisherman household we celebrated by plumbing. And yelling. Oh, and logged some serious hours in the crawl space. It was an all around win.
Saturday: Installed the two sets of manifolds for the plumbing. Ran 3/4 inch pex between the manifolds, the mains, and the water heaters. I swept and tried to find the tools that my dear husband poo-flung around the garage. (He's working. He doesn't have time to clean up after himself.)
Sunday: Turned off all the water to hook up the main to the house system. The hose finally got connected (We have a hose!). Insulated all the pipe under the house, in the crawlspace. That was my job. I managed to rip some hair out of my scalp. There are many sharp, points, hair-ripping thingys under the house. Pressurized the system to check for leaks.
Monday: Finished insulating the pipe in the crawlspace. TDF plumbed the downstairs bathroom. We realized we didn't have enough little elbows or whatever to complete the bathroom. After finding that everything was closed, we decided to go fishing. But first we had to fix the flat tire on our boat trailer.
These tires were free, on the side of the road. The rims were super rusty so the tire can't seal around them. After dumping the green slime fix-a-flat in it, jacking the trailer up so we could spin the wheel, scraping the rim, and filling the tire over and over it finally held air and we could go fishing! I scrounged around the yard for our longline gear (rusty and covered with leafy mulch), dug the bait out of the freezer, found my slicks, packed snacks, and got in the car.
Off to Starrigavan boat launch. The rickety-cricket Ford made it down the hill and road just fine. Our happy little bayrunner tugging playfully on the 1-ton Custom Ford Heep, Bowie ch-ch-ch-changing on the slick, stock tape deck. We pulled around to the prep slot, the left rear tire smoking. (Our differential leaks right into the drum of the brakes so we can get them a smoking real good if we drive, oh, 7 miles and use the brakes.)
"Hurry up and lets launch this so we can get the tire in the salt water to cool it off." He says.
"Our car's not going to catch fire, is it?" I ask.
"Not if we get it in the water now." He replies.
Back up. Back up. Backing up and getting the boat in the water is always amusing to everyone around us. We are the Keystone Kops of boat launching. I waded onto the ramp to unhook the bow from the trailer. My foot felt cold, but I didn't top my boot. My XtraTuff sprung a leak. They are not really XtraTuff, they are more like SumWutTuff.
And we're off! There was maybe a one foot swell and a little bit of wind chop. We whizz by the Trident Seafood processor barge as fast as a 1975 Evinrude 35hp motor will allow. TDF watches the depth finder, looking for a trench or a hump. Something that halibut like to hang out on. We are an hour before high tide, we need to get the line in the water. I begin to unsnarl the 5 or so shots of longline cf'd in the bow of our skiff.
"It's easy if you do it right," He declares.
"Maybe if you actually took care of anything, it might not be such an unmitigated disaster whenever we want to use it." I retort.
"You deal with the line. I'll bait hooks. This is how we work as a team." He opines.
I grumble and slowly clean up each shot of line so it will uncoil as we let it out. First the buoy, with about 200 feet of line attached to some old double-hung window weights for anchors, then the stretch of baited line, then another anchor. I'm supposed to drive the boat "straight" so we can drop into the trench we found through the narrow passage. Not really sure where straight is, I aim the boat toward a small island, battling the drift pushing us off our set. I haven't ever driven this boat before so of course I'm doing it wrong.
Much yelling, adjustment, and boat manipulation later, the line is set. We can go troll for Coho now. I don't want to bore you with trolling, but we didn't' catch anything. Instead we drifted for halibut behind a narrow passage. It was a slow drift since it was close to slack tide. We had a couple of good hits. Nothing made it into the boat, though. You don't always have to catch something to enjoy fishing. Decent weather, nice scenery, and a gentle drift is all you really need. It's way better than the crawlspace.
We let the longline soak until about 5:30 pm (3.5 hours is a short soak but it gets dark at 7:30 now and I didn't want to deal with boat stuff in the dark). We found the buoy and started pulling. A sticky slime coated the line that he was pulling up. It was jellyfish shards. I don't know what's grosser than snotty goo that burns your flesh. I coiled line into buckets while he pulled the line in. (Line ready for next set!)
There was something wrong. It was coming in too easy and it wasn't bouncing with the grumpy action of a halibut. Skunked. But, then he noticed the orange of a really huge Yellow Eye. Then another. Then another! Our last 3 hooks (out of 15) caught 3 monster Yellow Eye. Cod and other non-pelagic fish have huge swim bladders that inflate as you haul them to the surface. This expansion of gasses helps them float up, and they helped float up the anchor of our longline so it was easy pulling. The swim bladders also expand right out of the fish's mouths so it's like their throwing up their guts.
A perfectly good fishing trip can be ruined by actually catching fish. It means more work. We (he) filleted the fish on the back bench of our boat. Puncturing the swim bladder and their eyes so the carcasses would sink rather than float. These three fish yielded about 10 pounds of premium fillets. They are happily nested in our freezer waiting to become dinner.