I have to admit, right off the bat I made a egregious error, for which the deck boss, Steve O, gruffly corrected me. He did EVERYTHING gruffly, a true seaman, mathematical genius, skin like leather, smoked Marlboro reds, and an analytical whit I eventually loved. I forgot to latch the head door when I left. His deep voice bellowed at my mistake, and warned me of the dangers. “Someone could lose a finger, young lady.” I would beat myself up for being so foolish, and remember it forever.
Day break came on quickly as most fishermen rolled out of their racks and up into the salon. Captain Harris came over the loud speaker and started the regular rotation. One through four were up to troll, and the day had officially started.
The morning went by with anticipation leading to breakfast. Most people prefer a sandwich or burrito, keeps one hand for the boat, and mobile in case the crucial moment happened. Trolling went into 5 through 8, then 9 through 12 when it happened, “HOOK UP!”
This scream becomes a chorus on the boat. The angler who’s rod got the jig strike, deckhand standing on the bait tank, and half the passengers roar in excitement as the zeel of the line strips away with the hungry tuna. Fisherman who do not already have rod in hand, squeeze by each other up and down the side of the boat to get their rods out of the holders. (Some people run to the bow, but if you ever attempt a trip, do not follow them.)
Mickey showed me what to do, and I followed everyone’s lead. Grab my rod, and proceed to FORGET EVERYTHING I was told. My rod is dangling around when it should’ve been in the crook of my arm, I grabbed the worst bait in the hand well, put it on my hook, found an open spot on the wrong side of the boat, and my line went under headed right for the props. Fortunately, I was thwarted from becoming the worst angler ever when a deckhand grabbed my rod, reeled it up, put on a nice sardine, tossed it on the correct side of the boat and said, “Keep a light thumb on the spool.”
“Got it. Ahh, thanks.” I was fishing. Dad paid him $20 bucks to help me before we left the dock. Thank you, Mickey!