My husband kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday. All I really wanted was to go fishing.
We went in the “little boat”, an 18 foot Almar that was just equipped with 4-cycle motors. For those of you that don’t know much about small engines, the old 2-cycle motors rattle, make a lot of smoke, and roar like a chain saw. A 4-cycle motor purrs quietly like a kitten with very little exhaust, more like a car engine. You can even talk on a cell phone while sitting right by the motor!
When we bought the little boat, my husband and his father said that perhaps I could learn to run that boat and be able to use it when the big boat was not available. That was about five years ago. While we flirted with the “lessons” now and then, I really didn’t get to operate it much.
I even made notes. Step by step, from checking fuel, to untying the lines, to the rules of the harbor.
What a beautiful day. Sunshine, very little wind, and almost flat calm water. Chris showed me how the easy steer bracket mounted from the larger motor to the smaller one so that we could steer with the wheel instead of by sitting on the stern. SWEET!
Lines go into the water. One gets a downrigger and the other is a flat line. The herring are cut expertly by my husband, the charter boat captain. We talk about the equipment on the boat, the shoreline, water depth, the weather which is outstanding. Hardly a word about work or teenagers – pure bliss!
Then it hit. That beautiful sound of the screaming reel every woman loves to hear. (Okay, guys love it too) Deceptively, the fish played gently, making me think that perhaps it was a “shaker”, or an undersized King Salmon under 28 inches. We played around in the magic tug of war for about 10 minutes. I’d gain a little, the fish would gain – the back and forth that makes fishing so fun.
Just as my husband went to net the fish, the battle ended. I’d tugged too hard or maybe tightened the drag too much or maybe I didn’t set the hook right, but I had the classic “Unauthorized release of a legal King Salmon”. I’d lost my fish. My husband, being the sweetheart that he is, announced that it was MY birthday fish to catch, or NOT.
Well, I lost the fish, but the day wasn’t over. Just as I started to relax, along came the Coast Guard.