Almost 10 years ago, a young four-year-old boy saw the blue ocean for the first time. It was on an offshore fishing trip that my oldest son was indoctrinated into the world of fishing. On that trip, he reeled in a mahi mahi and it was a big moment in his little life.
Exposure to this world of fishing became part of what would be the future and how we live for offshore fishing. We think about being offshore daily. We look at boats and talk about boats daily. We think about tackle and the color of lures and we make our own rigs and we do all of this because we love and appreciate the opportunistic bounty that swims in the ocean.
For a number of years, it was only me and my oldest son on these sea adventures. Then, when his younger brother became seaworthy, he too trekked the sea and he became an indoctrinated fishing boy. He caught his first mahi mahi. He caught a tuna. He caught a wahoo and in recent years he has caught blue marlin and sailfish and this has been a worthy growth for him to grow with.
Yet, they are brothers. And, as brothers go there is always a place to be discordant and to disagree and to compare and battle and at the end of the day, argue about something. Whether it has been on land or in the truck or on the boat, I have heard all of it from these two sea-kids: “my fish was bigger”, “I am next to reel in a billfish”, “you’re not holding the rod the right way”, “it’s my turn to be up next”.
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For years, this has been a revolving mutiny of struggles and points of contention and sometimes I look at them and my non-verbal is apparently frightening.
Then, there was this past week. A decade after my oldest went on his first offshore trip he and his brother, who is now a decade old, were on the boat, together. This has been a common theme these last few years, however over the last year they have increased their interest and desire to not only fish, but to do all the things necessary to fish.
So there we were and my oldest was hooked to a tuna and as we love to eat fresh sushi, we really wanted this fish to join us on the ride home. As the fish neared the boat, young brother said that he wanted to bring the fish to the leader, meaning hoist the fish into the boat. Of all the intricate places that things go wrong and fish are lost, the final few moments of getting the fish in the boat is one of the places that fish escape, without riding the boat home.
Yet younger brother was persistent and confident. More importantly, older brother was not only agreeable to this, he was actually supportive.
I watched from the corner, camera in hand and I could see the tuna circling behind the boat as they do. Younger brother reached out and he grabbed the monofilament in his hand and upon doing so, older brother stepped back, reeling as he has been taught. He held the line and the fish darted. He held the line and the fish pulled away. He held the line and carefully he gained control and with each wrap of his palms around the line, the fish darted less and pulled less and so it became that the fish was near the boat.
I watched as he leaned over and he lowered his grip and in one motion, pulled the fish over the transom wall and on deck the fish became part of a celebration. When the fish was held for a photograph and placed on ice, older brother turned to younger brother and they exchanged high five’s.
Over the next few hours, this scene repeated with both boys actually helping each other bring fish into the boat. They worked in unison. They worked for the good of catching fish. And more importantly, they worked as humans should work for humans. T
he day and those moments on the boat that day became a moment of continued realization that some moments observed in fishing have nothing to with fishing. On this day, humans helped humans and there was display of gratitude and at the other end of a plate of sushi, are two brothers that worked together for a common purpose.
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