On opening day of the 2018 season, snow was still piled in the shadows of trees and gullies as fyke nets were set. A nearby fishing spot swirled with the excitement as this year is rumored to be one of the most lucrative glass eel season on record. Despite the enthusiasm of harvesters, the eels were not ready to run on opening day and with winter’s clinging grasp on the Maine coast the season has been off to a slow start. Still, there is an ebb and flow of people on the shores; fyke nets are visited at low tide while dip nets, often lit up by a single headlight beam, reach a peak of activity at high tide. Everyone ready at each turn of the tide for the uptick of the eel run.
I’m back at the eel farm doing my own hustle without regard to the pull of the tides. Tanks, pumps, and all the pieces are being put into place for a new batch of eels this year. I’ve been telling everyone I’m nesting. Supplies are being ordered, feed lined up, and more to do lists being made. While harvesters have sleepless night driven by the tides, my nights are sleepless thinking of redesigns and pipes and pumps and equipment and improvements to ensure these new eels have everything in place to ensure optimal growth.
This is such an exciting season. After the long, dark winters, it is not just eel harvesters and farmers who anxiously wait and prepare for the glass eel run, it is a signal to everyone in Maine that we made it through another winter and can expect the peepers, fiddleheads, osprey, and alewives will soon follow.