September 13, 2010
Offshore for marlin - 9/11/2010
A friend of ours called on Monday. He asked us if we would like to go offshore for marlin. The boat belongs to a friend of his, and they have been fishing buddies for a long time. Come on down! Stay at the house. Let's go catch some fish.
It was a plus that we are able bodies. See, marlin fishing is a complicated sport which can require more than a few knowing fishermen to pull it off. There are outriggers, teasers, floating and sinking baits. It can be a very chaotic procedure. The sea can be very rough and not every one is cut out for a full day of getting slammed around. Those who do not know how to properly fish, lose a lot of fish. And given the expense of offshore fishing, losing fish is not a welcome option.
Anyway, we jumped on the opportunity. Put the dogs up at a kennel, packed up, and drove down to spend a day far off over the Atlantic shelf.
On Saturday morning, we were up at 4am, at the dock at 5am, and motoring out to Oregon Inlet at about 5:20am. We were running behind another charter, navigating the myriad of markers and bouys by spotlight. The tide was falling, and the swell was up. The combination makes for waves upon waves. It was, well, rocky. When we passed under Bonner Bridge, things got a wee bit tense. There were sand bars and other boats to complicate matters. Some powered through the waves, some tentatively hung back. But, once outside, it was all out to get to where the fish were. Open up the throttle and go.
On the bridge, the radio crackled with the voices of captains exchanging information. Banter back and forth. We were headed North. The sun started to rise behind low clouds on the eastern horizon. The sky turned purple, then blue. The stars faded away. Seawater washed over the bow and sprayed the bridge. Pitch, roll, slam...We hung on and swapped jokes, stories.
At about 8:45 am, the radio exchanges quieted. Then, someone, on some other boat, from somewhere else, began to sing the Star Spangled Banner. The ocean heaved. The sun cast rays between the distant clouds. We all fell silent, and then, we all sang that lovely song together...
When I try to explain to people who don't fish that there is so much more to fishing than just fishing, those are the diamond-like moments I am talking about.