A tall tale involving a fish


            It was a hot, desultory morning with a calm sea off the northeast coast of Jamaica.  We were trolling some lines behind the boat but my expectations were low.  It is not that it didn’t ‘feel fishy’ that day, it was more that the sea had seemed so ravished by the local fisherman, that in our several weeks in Jamaica I hadn’t seen a fish bigger than my thumb.
            Suddenly, my reel was screeching for several seconds, as a fish hit it hard; then there was silence.   I looked back at that point and saw my lure swimming lazily as usual on top of the water.   A large black fin suddenly appeared out of the deep and charged at the lure like an underwater freight train, smacked it hard in a spray of water and shot away with it.  My reel was screeching again like a cat whose tail was stepped on.  I grabbed the rod, set the hook, as was treated to a truly marvelous spectacle: a large blue marlin leaped clear out of the water 7-8 times in row, shimmering with irridecsent blues and greens and rainbow-colored water drops refracting in the sunlight.   That was where the fun ended.   Unfortunately, I had used a small rod that day and the fish ran so hard and fast he almost emptied my reel in 1-2 minutes.  Ninni skillfully managed to get the boat turned around in time to start chasing him, with only about 30 yards (of 600) left on the reel.  It wasn’t long before the fish and I came to a stalemate.  I would pull in 20 feet and he would pull it back out a while later.  The sun was hot, the breeze was absent, and we drifted sideways for over a mile.  Eventually, after 3 1/2 hours both the fish and I were exhausted.  Ninni was pressuring me to resolve the ‘issue’, as we had to make it to port before nightfall in order to safely enter.  Then disaster struck when the line seemed to tangle up in a fish pot we had drifted into.  I couldn’t believe it would end this way after so long a fight.  I grabbed the line and started pulling by hand to try to free it. Miraculously, it wasn’t caught and I hauled that bad boy in by hand the last 50 yards (it wasn’t pretty and I don’t tell my fisherman friends about it, but it worked).  It was a beautiful 130 lb. blue marlin. He was so tired, he could only swim belly up in the water at the end (and I was so tired I could only lay belly up in the cockpit).   We let him go and he slowly swam away.

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