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'Fish on' is all the captain yelled

June 12, 2011|By LLOYD WATERS

It’s always good to begin a fishing story with a little humor.

“You know Alan,” I said to my fishing buddy, “all fishermen are liars except for you and me, and to tell you the truth, I’m not real sure about you.”

He didn’t agree with my assessment.

I also excluded Lawrence, another fishing buddy, from that fraternity of truthfulness, because I once caught him holding up five aces from a card deck in one hand on the captain’s boat.

He seems always to take my money at our friendly card game.

A few weeks ago, the three of us were off on one of those special fishing trips to Smith Island.

The day’s travel usually begins around 2 a.m., when Alan and Lawrence show up at my door. We load my gear onto Alan’s truck and off we go down through Frog Hollow.

We don’t use a GPS unless all the trees disappear.

As we pass the Kennedy farm, I always share a story about John Brown. When we get to Sandy Hook, I remind them that all the houses in this town are built on one side of the road.

I let them figure that one out to see if they are awake.

When we get to Md. 17 off U.S. 340, it’s time for the first cup of coffee and a Krispy Kreme raspberry-filled donut.

No other way to start a fishing trip.  

Be sure not to pick an overstuffed donut, otherwise you’re going to get some of the filling on your fishing clothes as the excess slides slowly down your shirt sleeve to your trousers.

What caused that? Too much filling in the donut is the obvious answer.

Our first stop has prepared us for the trip to Crisfield. We will stop in Easton for some more coffee and then proceed to the McDonald’s in Crisfield, where we will meet up with some locals, tell a few jokes, have a light breakfast and then head over to the marina where we will meet the good captain.

At 7 a.m., we load our gear onto the captain’s boat and head out to the waters to wet our lines as we troll the Chesapeake Bay for some large rockfish.

Fishing, for sure, is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

As the captain sets the lines, we relax a little, give a toast to the waters and give thanks to the One who created the fish and the fisherman.

Soon, we know, one of the lines will be pulled from the reel by a large striper, or rockfish, as they are known in these parts.

As we sit patiently, a loud “zinging” sound comes from the back of the boat as the fish has announced his arrival. The fish has taken the lure.

The captain sees the line being pulled and hears that familiar sound.   

“Fish on” is the yell of the Captain, and by chosen lot, the first fisherman rises to grab the line.

Lawrence tightens the tension on the rod and now begins his dance with the big fish. The fish tugs and pulls the line; the fisherman does the same.

Lawrence is careful to keep the line tension taut, or otherwise the fish might spit out the hook and wave his fins goodbye.

Although the line might be out 100 or more feet, it is important to keeping reeling in a steady motion.

If the fish is large, your arms will begin to burn as you continue reeling.

Lawrence has done this before, so he knows the drill.

After some continuous reeling, the 35-inch fish is finally brought near the boat and the captain heaves the striper on board.

This fish was not so lucky this time, and Lawrence was the fisherman of the day.

For sure, a bad day of fishing is better than the best day at work.

Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes columns for The Herald-Mail.

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