Fishing for Trouble

January 18, 2010
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“Alright, let’s pack it up and go home.” “Oh Come on. Can’t we stay for a little bit longer?” I moaned. Even though this was an incredible experience-and I definitely want to do it again- I was depleted of all energy. I sat down as my brother exclaimed, “OH MY GOD, look over there!” We all turned to gaze upon an unbelievable sight.

The summer of 2009 was outstanding. Instead of staying at one place for a couple of weeks, we decided to travel to a few places and stay for a few days. One of those places happened to be Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My grandparents have a vacation house in Buzzards Bay, which we went to almost every year. Anyway, it was my grandfathers 70th birthday. Even my uncle and aunt, who was several months pregnant, came. We had a traditional Cape Cod dinner; lobster, clams, etc, and gave him his presents. My uncle gave him an expensive, waterproof watch. We gave him a ticket to go gliding. Just to celebrate my grandfather, my dad, my uncle, my brother, and I went to the neighbors.

This guy was a friend of my grandfather and also owned a charter boat. For those who don’t know what a charter boat is, it is a boat that you pay to go fishing on. Not just any fishing though. Deep-sea fishing. My family, on my dad’s side, is addicted to fishing. This was my first time deep-sea fishing and for a while I had wanted to go. This guy, Ray, had a 25-foot boat with an open stern (back side) big enough to fit him and all of us. At five o clock in the morning, we all awaked and prepared to go out. We bought some sandwiches and loaded into his car towing the craft. We reached the marina and waited a few minutes for Ken to back the vessel into the boat ramp.

Finally we were in the water and moving farther away from the car. It was low tide so there was only about six feet of water underneath the boat. We had to move slowly too because we were near the marina. I was looking around at the brownish-green hills of rocks around the boat. The sun was just over the horizon and a couple of seagulls squawked frustratingly. The boat was white with a navy blue bottom and a single propeller engine. I sat on one of three ice coolers with my dad and uncle while my grandfather and brother were in the cabin with Ken. I stood up and walked over to the edge of the boat to stare at miles and miles of ocean water.

I hastily sat down as we passed the “no wake” sign. Ken pushed the throttle about 20 degrees forward and the engine roared. From my perspective it seemed like we were traveling northward at around 20 knots or about 23 miles per hour. The waves were from three to five feet high. Most of the time the boat was either tipping at a 45-degree angle or out of the water. I held on so tight that when cooler lifted off of the boat an inch or two I went with it. if you had stuck your head out like I naively did you would have gotten soaked. Every time we hit a wave a shower of salt water would spray all the way past the boat. Man was it fun, flat out excitement!

I was white-knuckling the cooler for what seemed like an hour or so. The boat lurched to a stop and I had to pry my hands of the cooler. It hurt to stand and flex. Ken took out the keys, walked out, and took down six fishing rods, a bucket of sea clams, which are about the size of your fist, ten-pound weights, and three inch hooks. He set the poles up and baited them while declaring,” We’ll be fishing for Cod and Haddock. When you’re reeling them up, don’t give a lot of force because they have soft mouths like jello. Every one had a big grin on their face as they took their first cast.

It didn’t take long for something to gnaw on our bait. The first fish was a small haddock which we hade to throw back. Two fish latter I caught a decent sized haddock. The first keeper. That was about it at that spot. For the rest of the thirty minutes we only caught dogfish. Dogfish are ugly slabs of meat that are part of the shark family and love to eat. Bizarrely the best way to get a dogfish off the hook, without getting bitten, was to literally beat them senseless. Ken had to take out a tiny wooden or metal bat and strike the dogfishes’ heads numerous times. Thank God that that wasn’t the only fish we caught.

We weren’t having much luck so we reeled in the fishing poles and moved farther away from land. We caught some cod and haddock that were around 20 inches long. We stayed at that spot for about forty-five minutes before we started catching more and more dogfish. It would be at one point where we weren’t catching anything. My dad stated, “ Well, this is a dry spot,” and literally a second after, my father’s fishing pole started twitching. This occurred twice.

That didn’t last long so we moved a third time. Here my brother caught another specie of fish. It was an eel like fish called a cusk. Fortunately it was a delicious tasting fish so we threw it in with the cod and haddock. We had already used up an entire cooler so we had to use our second. Sometimes while fishing, fish swallow the hook making it more challenging to retrieve the hook. That happened with a fish and unfortunately it died. We threw it out into the water. I stared at it for a few seconds when a fin protruded from the water. It was four yards away so we couldn’t glimpse the entire shark. It lasted for ten seconds, though. It was pretty common for sharks to appear but to us it was something we only saw in movies.

We stared at the water hoping that the shark would return. It didn’t so we went back to fishing. My dad would get gigantic bites but would lose them because he would jerk his fishing pole up too fierce and quick. It would rip the hook right out of the fish’s mouth. My brother and I, on the other hand, were doing fantastic. We caught the biggest two fish in the entire trip. They were cod that were about three feet long and around seventeen pounds. I sat and reeled in this fish for almost half an hour. It was so strong I had to let Ken put it in the rod holder. That was one of the best moments that happened on the trip.

Everyone was getting tired from reeling in all of those fish. We were ready to go home and rest. We put the rods away and the bait and waited to get started. My brother suddenly exclaims, “OH MY GOD! Look over there.” We all turned our heads to see a dorsal and tail fins come out of the water heading directly at our boat. We all rushed to the stern as it submerges underwater. Like the other shark we think it disappeared so we go back to packing up. My brother keeps watching the water and three feet away from him, in the water, was a ten-foot blue shark.

Just a year before this occurred my mom and dad took us to Montauk, NY on our boat. It was exhilarating. The beaches and restaurants were out of this world. The best part though was the shark tournament. People were bringing in six-foot sharks to the marina. The sharks would of course be dead. They would hook them up to a huge scale and then cut open the sharks to examine them. It was definitely an interesting time.

You could tell it was a blue shark because it has a blue tipped nose and tail. We thought it was the most phenomenal sight in the world. It majestically swam under the boat and was about to leave when I asked if we could feed it. Ken pulled out a clam and threw it into the water. The shark swam under the boat went to the clam and sucked up the clam like a vacuum.

Next Ken took out a fish. He laid it down on the cutting board and incised close to the head all the way down to the tail. He threw that chunk in and then the other part of the fish. It sank so slowly that the shark took its time getting there. It swiftly moved its tail back and forth powerful enough to move itself one yard per second. The shark swam up to the fish and opened its mouth. In that millisecond, the picture of jagged, colorless teeth was burned into my memory. It bit down on the fish, eating it but the head still stuck out. In a blink the head was sucked into the sharks mouth.
It wasn’t going to leave so we had to. We had to leave slowly and carefully so that we wouldn’t hit the shark. We got going and started to go home with about thirty fish. We were more than twenty-five miles out so the trip back got a little boring. For fun we went over near whale watching spots and saw something. It was a whale. We were about fifteen feet away from it when it resurfaced. That was the only time we saw it so we left yet another time. That was it we reached the marina and headed home with the boat being towed by the car. It might have been for around five hours of my life but I will always remember that day.
Who knew we would catch three feet fish. Who knew we would see a whale. Who knew we would see two sharks. Who knew we would feed one of those sharks. I guess you just don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens.





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