This is taking longer than I thought. Thank you for hanging in there. Last I had just been set up in the correct position on the rail. Bait was in the water, thank you, and the pandemonium had settled into a rhythm.
As the people shuffled their feet up the rail, abandoned bait that wouldn’t swim, got a bite, lost their fish, caught their fish, I watched my reel praying for a bite.
People who had fish on have the right of way, and they weave their line in and out of other’s, getting in tangles, and shout “under/over” as the tuna beneath the water tries to break free. The person on the other end lifting up, reeling down, tiring this powerful fish into it’s final death spin, hoping for a solid gaff from the deckhand, and ultimately landing the fish on deck.
Three or four people caught a tuna, and the school abandoned ship. Sonar marks were gone, and Butch had.us reel up to go find another school. Like it’s so easy to find 20 fish altogether in something as vast as the Pacific Ocean. NOT!!!
My trolling number was up, so I put my loaner bait stick, thank you Dad, in the holder and headed to my place at the stern. A long, forty five minutes went by and the next set of trollers were up. I was disappointed that my lure, the cedar plug, did not get bit.
In the galley, Bear called over the loudspeaker last call for breakfast. I realized that my excitement had caused me to forget to eat. I ran in and put in my order for a breakfast sandwich. Having been unsuccessful so far in the fishing department, I satisfied my stomach. Bear was incredibly kind, to everyone. I fell in love with him instantly, and would wrap in hugs for many years to come. Best breakfast I’ve ever halfway had, because the chorus began it’s beautiful song.
I was determined to keep my whits about me this time. I slowed down even though the adrenaline was pumping. I went up the rail, grabbed my bait stick, and properly approached the bait well. With hook in hand, I cupped my hand under the slimy sardines darting effectively out of my hand. Eventually, I scooped a nice one, pinned it on (stuck my hook through it’s nose), and dropped it over the correct side of the boat. “Wind in the face, in the right place. Wind in your back, empty sack.”
My little sardine swam/drifted away from the boat; I kept my thumb lightly on the spool. A few minutes later the line started to strip off my reel extremely fast. I breathed, and began my count. One, two, three, four, five, put the reel in gear, and set the hook! I hear the deckhand yell, “Fresh One!” letting the Captain know we have one hanging.
A side note:
More than a few days last year I thought I would never feel the excitement again! I knew I was lucky to feel it once!