It was one of those splashes that leaves a hole in the water.
The unknown type of fish at the time, was only visible by its tail when it crested the water and then it suddenly disappeared into the hole it left. Suddenly, what had been a day without much energy, was suddenly an energized moment. And so it became that I held onto this situation, by gripping the pole while watching the line on the reel, evaporate with each revolution.
Here in this great mecca of blue and surprise, I was now locked and feeling the torque and energy of a fish, seemingly bigger than me. There were guesses and these were legitimate guesses based on the evidence observed, perhaps a marlin or a tuna, for they pull with such vengeance. Yet, twenty minutes later and fifty feet from the port corner of the boat, an eight-foot mako shark, sprang violently from these calm seas.
This is excellent table fare and a favorite of those that enjoy sea creatures that are delightfully tasty and when hooked, they are definitely resilient and resistant creatures.
And so for more than 30 minutes I reeled and held tight and held on and the sun was hot and the fish was strong and I was nearly useless against its will. Evidently, being nearly useless is still enough to turn the reel handle several hundred times and bring this fish to the boat.
From the chair, the first thing I could see was the teeth of this fish. From the chair, I could see that the teeth on this fish had an appearance of being sharp. From the chair, I reminded myself that this was a shark.
It seemed logical that someone would have the job of actually gaffing the fish, meaning the fish would be subdued and brought into the boat. However, good logic has an equal and opposite cousin known as bad logic, too.
When the gaff touched this fish, utter chaos erupted. The fish spun, twisted and literally launched itself onto the corner of the boat, leaving several teeth marks and gouges, before it literally torpedoed away. My job, as it had been, was to hold tight to the rod. Where before I thought the fish fought a good fight. I was now enduring what would become the real, good fight.
In a matter of seconds the fish pilfered some 600 yards of line from the reel, before it stopped. The pressure on the rod was menacing. Somehow, again being nearly useless had an advantage and again I reeled the fish to the boat.
Over the course of the next 20 minutes, the following events played-out in successive order, four times with the same result: I reeled the fish, logically we tried to gaff the fish, the fish torpedoed away, and I reeled the fish.
After it had been nearly an hour, the fish was again at the boat. I was hot and a blister was gnawing within my hand and certainly, the fish was very much angry.
And so it became another opportunity. Again, this was a shark. It was big. It had the sharpest looking teeth. It had bitten the boat. It was wild. And we humans were full of logic. From where I sat, exhausted and tired, I saw tail and fin and gills and mouth and body and I heard commotion and banging and men groaning and the water was churned and the line was tight and then something sharp finally cut the monofilament and in an instant, the fish was free.
The moment was heightened. The fight, all of it was worth the effort. And yet, even though we lost the fish and the opportunity, we gained much in terms of further appreciation for nature and the sea and the creatures that have sharp teeth and sharp legends.
I slept the two-hour ride back to the dock. I was not angry. I was not disappointed. In fact, the moment was refreshing. You see, wetting a hook is about hope. It’s about hope that a fish will bite and one will find success. More importantly, it’s about hope that when they do not bite and or the bite and spring free, that you as a human that fishes for the fish we hope for, finds even more passion to fish. Such is the case for this writer. Such was the case for those sharp teeth. It was one of those splashes that leaves a hole in the water.
Enjoy your time outdoors.