Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Martha's Vineyard - The fish of a lifetime

A true story...

My brother had been having a frustrating week of fishing one summer and on the last day of his vacation was determined to put a bluefish in the freezer for my mother. He only had a short window of opportunity to fish and decided that the "big bridge" in Edgartown posed his best chances.

On his way to his fishing spot, he chatted with an elderly couple and explained his quest. In a few short casts of his plug, wham! he was on. And man could this fish fight. It ended up stripping a significant amount of line off the reel and he quickly adjusted the drag in hopes of tiring the fish out quickly. In classic folklore fashion, the fight became a consistent tug-of-war where he gained some on the fish followed by the fish taking more line. On and on it went. At one point, he was so tired he had to sit down on the rocks to rest, holding on to the rod and letting the fish pull on the line.

The fight lasted several tens of minutes and he still had not landed the fish. Finally, as he was holding the rod tight, snap!, the line busted and went limp.

Distraught over the whole experience and simply out of time, he started to make his was back to the car. On his way, he came across the same elderly couple and explained his misfortune, having fought the fish of of lifetime for what seemed like an eternity, only to have the line break. The couple looked at him, held up a lure and asked if the lure was his? Stunned, his answer was "yes". The couple laughed and said that the guy on the other side of the bridge recounted a similar tale, only to reel in my brother's line!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Martha's Vineyard - Striper Man

In the heat of the summer when the fishing was slow at other spots, I'd always give the Oak Bluffs pier a shot. The bass were never that big, but the lights on the pier were kept on all night and always attracted some schoolies.

I ended up at the pier late one night right when the bars were closing, casting my "can't miss" sand-eel on a floating line to the schoolies that were smashing the bait on the surface right below the lights. At low tide, you can wade in a good distance, allowing you to cast to the end of the pier. The action on this particular night was decent, resulting in some consistent hook-ups. As I was casting away, I heard a commotion on the pier. I looked up to watch a woman who'd obviously been having a good time that night, hop the fence while trying to persuade her boyfriend to follow her, strip off the majority of her clothes, and dive in! And yes, right where I was fishing. She splashed around and then started to come my way. She paddled to about ten feet from me and said, "Hey Striper Man, how's the fishing?". She proceeded to let me know that there were bigger fish at this and that location.

Well, you never know where the advice will come! I just had to laugh. She had slowed the fishing at that moment, but the entertainment value was worth it.

FYI, they shut the lights off on the pier after the last ferry now. Maybe there was too much advice being given out :-)!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Hungry Ocean, Linda Greenlaw

Change is good! Throw my mantra out the window regarding non-fiction books having to teach you something to be worthwhile ... at least for this book.

This book is great. I give Linda credit for recognizing that the Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger put the struggles and plights of swordfish fishing front-and-center in the public's eye and afforded Linda the opportunity to write this book to such public acclaim. But, whereas Junger had to use poetic license and speculate on what really happened to the Andrea Gail, Linda provides a first-hand account of the dynamics, highs and lows, and difficulty of being successful in the swordfishing trade.

In the end, I did learn something. I learned that I don't want to be on a swordfishing crew.