Bad weather and cold waters made the already tough competition on the Bering Sea even more cutthroat. As pots continue to come up empty, the captains had to make and break alliances to meet their quota for the season.
The third episode of Season 14 opens with captains Josh and Casey on the Cornelia Marie moving their pots in the direction they believe the crab to be going. After finding success early on, the duo believe they can continue their success and migrate with the catch. Unfortunately, their new spot turns out to be worse than the old one. Realizing that they may have lost the trail and are back to square one, they make some bold choices.
“This is where you separate lucky from good,” Casey quipped.
They call on Captain Sean of the Brenna A, who is having similar difficulty catching anything in his sweet spot from last season. They make a deal for the Cornelia Marie to check one spot while the Brenna A casts in another. If one vessel finds crab, they’ll inform the other. Sean, however, doesn’t have faith that his new partners will keep the location just between them if they find it, and notes that he may not be as forthcoming with information as a result.
Meanwhile, Captain Jake Anderson of the Saga is still in contact with captain Keith of the Wizard. Keith is a veteran who has taken the new captain under his wing to help him find some crab and meet his quota. Sadly, the mentor mentee relationship is starting to wear thin on Anderson, who resents Keith’s propensity to teach him about crab fishing rather than just sharing information with him. Keith, meanwhile, finds the ability to school a young buck entertaining and totally misses Anderson’s frustration.
Things are compounded the next day when Anderson pulls his pots from an area Keith assured him would prove fruitful, only to find literally zero crab in some of them. Coming off a night of no sleep after accidentally getting the boat’s propeller tangled with a buoy line, Anderson calls Keith with a short fuse.
After lambasting his new mentor for giving him bad intel, Keith gets frustrated and dissolves their partnership. When they get off the phone, Anderson notes that he’s fine with losing a partner. Sink or swim, he’s determined to do this on his own as seeking help hasn’t been beneficial to him thus far.
Meanwhile, back on the Cornelia Marie, captains Josh and Casey are testing out their new agreed upon spot with captain Sean. Unfortunately, they quickly realize that this spot doesn’t seem to be where the crab are either. Casey quickly gets on the horn with Sean, who doesn’t answer. It turns out that Sean, after stealing quota from captain Wild Bill, is determined to upset yet another member of the fleet. His spot is hitting with crab, and he’s therefore reluctant to tell the Cornelia Marie.
Eventually, Casey gets him on the radio and it becomes clear that Sean is hiding something. While it’s upsetting, the co-captains know that no one will work with Sean after this, and that one day he’ll be starving for intel or help, and he’ll continue to go hungry. Just like that, another short-lived partnership comes to an abrupt end.
The episode ends on a high note for one struggling captain, Wild Bill. After getting off to the worst start of his very long career, the captain makes a desperate play. He turns to electronic crab callers in his pots that simulate the sound the king crabs make during a feeding frenzy. He tried them last season, but the equipment was faulty and therefore didn’t work. This time, however, he needs them to work. He casts pots with them inside and brings up a cool 65 crabs in the first pot. His second, which he cast without the new tech, yields only half that.
The move is bold, but it means he’s on the right track. The episode ends with the captain getting praise from his crew, whose spirits didn’t diminish the entire time he was struggling. At the end of the day, it seems the best fisherman, not the best alliance, will prevail in Season 14.