On "Deadliest Catch," fans immediately know it is opilio season when they see Captain Andy at the helm of the Time Bandit. It is January in Dutch Harbor, and there is $160 million worth of crab to catch.
The Wizard's Captain Keith and his crew are thankful that the king crab season is over. They divided their season with blue and red crab, and it did not pay off. He lost a greenhorn that had to be airlifted from the boat by the Coast Guard, and the other greenhorn walked off the boat when they docked. Now with Keith's brother Monty recovering from shoulder surgery, and Lenny with a badly injured hand and Roger, greenhorn #3 on board, luck needs to be on their side.
On the Ramblin' Rose, Elliott is trying to reach his ex-girlfriend, mother of his two kids, by phone but continues to get the voicemail. During the off-season he lost his house, girlfriend, and kids; now if this season is not good, he will lose his job as skipper of a crab boat. Oh, he also lost deck boss Kevin "Kado" Davis who he told to find another job because he did not like his attitude; so Kevin went to the rival Seabrooke and Junior gave him a job and was glad to have him aboard.
Sig wants his crew to step up and stack the pots his way, and Edgar and Sig get into an argumentÂ—nothing new aboard the Northwestern. But nonetheless, they are happy to have each other aboard in spite of their butting heads.
As Andy pulls the Time Bandit down the harbor to retrieve his last pots, deckhand Travis slips on the icy deck and falls overboard. He is in the water for about three minutes and hypothermia starts to set in. They bring up his shivering body and hurry to warm him because he could die of shock. Thankfully, he is fine after a short while, and the crew is relieved. The temperature outside is five degrees below zero, and the water is freezing. Strike 1.
As the crew is about to depart, the weather report comes in telling them of relentless northern winds and an ice pack that is moving southward. In 1972 the entire sea was covered in ice, and from the weather reports, this winter should top 1972. The fleet is aware of the impending storm, but this is their livelihood, and nothing has stopped them before.
On the Seabrooke, after replacing their starboard engine at a cost of $65,000, the port engine is now running hot. So before taking on the Bering Sea, they head to home port to check it out.
Sig knows that finding opies is a difficult thing especially when fighting the ice pack. They set their pots with their fingers crossed. Jake Harris is first off the deck and already is under Edgar's skin for that infraction. Jake is hoping for a great season so that he and his brother can take the Cornelia Marie out for king crab next season. Fans have yet to hear Josh's side of the story.
On the Time Bandit, Andy orders the crew to start removing ice from the deckÂ—a tedious job. So Scotty decides to put an explosive charge high above the deck. When it explodes, a giant chunk of ice falls and takes off the arm of the coiler. Now for the rest of the trip, they must hand coil all the shots that go in the pots, a job that should double the time they are on deck. Strike 2.
Elliott continues to call his ex and continues to have the same luck, none. Half of his crew returned from king crab season, and the rest are new guys. A greenhorn has to throw the buoy bags over the rail, but his throws are dangerously close to the boat and could get caught in the propeller.
Every boat has dropped pots already; now if the sea gives up her bounty, it will be another thing. The Time Bandit is first to pull pots, and Andy hopes for a 300 average. The first pot is sparse, to say the least, with zero keepers. Strike 3.
On the Kodiak, a line snaps from the cold and loosens a pot from the stack just missing Wild Bill's son Zack who could have been killed if the icy pot landed on him.
Fifty miles away, the Wizard pulls its first pots that are filled with crab, but Captain Keith knows that when you hit the mother lode of 535 on the first pot, there is "nowhere to go but down," especially on the "Deadliest Catch."
Photo of Northwestern and Wizard: Wikimedia