The Gillnetter’s Song

Oh, the decks are clear and ready, and the glass is holding steady,
And now we’re out to gillnet in Queen Charlotte Strait.
Voices on the radio say salmon have begun to show;
The Becky B. just pulled in forty-eight.
I’m setting on the spot where several years ago I caught,
A net so full of sockeye half my corks had disappeared;
See the jumper to the right, mine’s the only boat in sight,
And once again the drum rolls out the gear.

CHORUS: Oh, I love to count those corks goin’ down, down, down,
               Salmon runnin’ by the ton an’ I love ev’ry pound;
               Rollin’ out my net, gonna make a high-line set,
               And then I’ll count those corks goin’ down.
Last night we were a dozen boats tied up at a sheltered float
Auroras shooting all around the northern sky;
We packed into a galley tight, by amber glow of oil light,
Songs and well-loved stories passed the time.
Old Tommy, he spun fables ‘bout his life at poker tables,
And the cards would dance like puppets in his nimble hands;
He says the same of gillnetting, it’s a game of nerves and betting,
And you help the odds along as best you can.   [CHORUS]

It’s a life beset with danger, and surprise is not a stranger,
When you try to make a living on a gill-net boat;
Sometimes the fish don’t show, or prices are just too damn low,
And no-one seems to care if you’re afloat.
But, when for all my tryin’, I just seem to feed sea lions,
Or fill my net with dogfish and their beady little eyes
I’ll dream of that big pay-off – I know it can’t be way off –
Or I’ll scare myself about a job inside.     [CHORUS]

Off the stern quarter, rising straight out of the water,
I see two dolphins standing high up on their tails;
They look so sweet and silly, mating belly to white belly,
‘Cause from eye to eye they wear those crazy smiles.
As they sink back out of sight making love into the night
In a bed that is a million miles square,
You know that I love fishin’ but it kind of gets me wishin’
That I had myself a sweetheart with me here,

   Who would love to count those corks goin’ down, down, down
   Salmon runnin’ by the ton, she’d love ev’ry pound;
   Rollin’ out our net, gonna make a highline set,
   And then we’d count those corks goin’ down, down, down,
   Oh then we’d count those corks goin’ down, down, down
   We’d love to count those corks goin’ down, down, down.