The alarmed clanged at 4:30 a.m. and jolted me from a deep peaceful sleep. I pried my eyes open to darkness and questioned why I would want to repeat this trip especially when the weather report called for rain.
I jumped out of bed, threw on a bathing suit, shorts and a t-shirt. My husband and I filled the cooler with beer, water, sodas, subs and fried chicken, and we loaded the car.
We headed for the Ocean City, Md docks to meet the guys at the sportfishing boat the Kingfisher. By 5:30, we loaded our coolers and boarded the boat.
The engines roared and diesel fumes permeated the salt air and we motored out of the Ocean City harbor. As we left the inlet and picked up speed the engines thundered, our hearts raced while white waves churned and frothed in a V formation in our wake. I looked back and watched the Ocean City ferris wheel fade from sight.
We advanced into the sunrise and wind whipped my hair and salt stuck to my damp skin. Fishing lines dragged in the water, and the mate dumped a stream of red chum or bait chunks behind the boat to attract fish.
The water changed from pea green to ink blue as the water deepened to about 100 feet. Wind blew and the boat bounced like a toy ship in a jacuzzi bathtub with the jets on full force, and worried thoughts about boat emergencies flooded my mind.
Unlike our previous voyage when we watched a huge flat sunfish drift in the shimmering sea and the dorsal fin of a thresher shark slide by, this day we white knuckled any vertical surface as the boat slammed into swells and the sky faded into clouds. Some of my friends turned greenish-white, and one retched over the side.
Suddenly a fishing line zeeeiiinnnngggged as a fish took the bait and swam for its life. Adrenaline pumped and queasiness was forgotten.
My friend Frank jumped in the fishing chair and the mate harnessed him in, so that he wouldn’t get pulled overboard during the fight. After about 20 minutes, the fish seemed to tire, and Frank began to reel it in. As we watched him fight the fish, a wave suddenly surged over the back of the boat.
The swell soaked us and gushed into the cockpit. We grabbed buckets and quickly scooped the water out. The rapid rush of water startled us, but it did not dampen our exhilaration over hooking the fish.
Within 45 minutes, Frank brought a tuna up to the side of the boat. The mate reached over the rail and slammed a large hook or gaff under the backbone of the fish and pulled it onboard. Dinner had arrived and it was time to head home.
Last week Kingfisher CaptainTommy Jones, our captain’s son, won the world-renowned White Marlin Open billfish tournament. He caught an 83 pound white marlin and won about $1 million. The day that we fished, I never imagined that the Kingfisher would become famous.
- Severna Park Man May Have Hooked A Million Dollar Fish (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
- Outdoors column: Stream Weaver takes S.C. series win in Charleston (myrtlebeachonline.com)
- Angler jumps overboard to make rare catch off Hong Kong (grindtv.com)
- How big was that fish? (jacquisenn.com)