Wow. Wow. Wow.
Today we’re going deep-sea fishing! It is another first in a week of firsts! I’ve done coastal fishing, and lake fishing, but never ocean or deep-sea.
It’s different from coastal fishing. The waves are bigger, for one thing. And between the breeze and the tide, these swells pushing the boat around were getting to darned near everyone.
Ted was nauseated,
even Don said by the end of the day that he’d had his fill of uppy-downy motion.
A couple of the poor souls who we were fishing with were in really bad shape. I can’t quite figure out if I did well or poorly; I’m the one in the family with the delicate stomach, not Ted. And I got twinges (though in my defense the smoked salmon I’d had for breakfast was a little jucier than I like, and it was a long motorboat out to the fishing areas the Captain had in mind, so I got bored, which I know is a terrible thing to say on such an exciting day), but I didn’t get sick, which left me feeling really bad for those who did because realistically it should have been me. I’m not really sure why it wasn’t, unless it has to do with my conscious efforts to reprogram my subsconsious settings, one of which is that I get motion sick.
Tip #1 – prepare yourself mentally. Tell yourself that you’re going to have a good time. Remind yourself that you’re in charge – of your body, of your attitude, of what feeling you attach to each event. And if you want to let your subconscious know that you mean business, leave the seasickness pills at home. With nothing to fall back on, you have to stay well! And that means you’ll enjoy yourself more, which in turn will reinforce the notion that you aren’t bothered by the waves.
Now, the notion of boredom on such a trip leads to Tips #2 and 3 – Talk to your fellow passengers and the crew; wherever you’re going, learn the rudiments of the native language so you can have even a minor, stilted conversation filled with charades.
First order of busines was catching bait fish – what we in Minnesota might cook up for a pan fry – good sized fish, some of them. Then we motored out to the deep water. The crew threw longlines into the water, and several of us were pulling fish in with laughing glee. Not being familiar with this style of fishing, I was wondering if that was how we were going to fish all day, and if I should head on down to take my turn. I decided to keep taking pictures.
As we moved deeper into the bay and the shoreline got smaller, Beba (our guide and translator), told us about the observatory situated high, high in the mountains in Ensenada – so high they get snow. And she spoke about the lighthouse, pointing it out; probably it had helped to guide the Imagination in the night, she said. And she spoke about the tuna farms, maintained by the University.
It was fascinating, and yet so frustrating, because I was only understanding part of what she said. I didn’t catch how many pounds of mackerel the students bring out to feed the tuna daily, nor how deep the netting goes, or how many fish they harvest or even what the tuna farm is for – eating, releasing? Sport fishing?
I need to learn Spanish. Seriously need to learn Spanish.
At the first target area, the Captain slowed and stopped the boat; the crew came around to help us toss in our lines. Each rod has multiple hooks and a massive sinker; Don said that the idea is to run the line down to the very bottom of the ocean floor; the bait and hooks float up, and the fish bite. We were barely there a few minutes when one of our fellow fishers pulled up a red fish with bulgy eyes and spikes all over. Apparently they look like normal fish at their proper depth; but when they’re hooked on a line, the fisherman pulls them up so fast that they can’t adjust to the changing pressure, and they puff out all over.
That one fish, and the Captain had us pull our lines and moved us to a different spot.
I still don’t know what it feels like when the fish bite; in that second spot the Captain hooked something and passed his rod to me while I was still trying to figure out how hard a pull on the line would signify a strike.
Holy. Hannah. That fish was strong. I reeled it in faster than I had my roosterfish in Costa Rica, and it didn’t drag the line back out half as often, but that was still a fight! My wrist got so sore, and my hand was white, the fingernails purple, with the pressure I was using to grip the rod! (Don said later that I probably didn’t need to hold the rod quite that tight; I think that was probably a little bit of an understatement.)
It was still really, really REALLY fun! An experience I will not soon forget!
And Tip #4 – listen to the Captain and crew. They’ll set rod, lines, bait, and depth, and they’ll give you advice on how to pull the fish in. They want you to succeed, and to have a good time.
We fished a couple more spots – after my first, I didn’t throw a line back in. I wanted to give everyone else a chance at a fish! But the wind kept rising, and the waves kept growing; the Captain said it was bad fishing, that the water was pushing us too fast for the fish to bite on the bait. And since some folk were getting really seasick, we went back in a little early. The crew threw the longlines out again on the way back; Jerry and Austin had fun reeling in one fish after another. I even took a turn at that – it’s a different type of fishing again. The lures skim along the top of the water, and if the boat moved through a school, the fish swim up to strike. But they don’t seem to take hold; when you’re pulling one in, you have to keep steady pressure on the line, or the fish will let go. When you finally do get them to the boat, they’re stunned from being pulled through the boat’s wake.
Tip #5 – in every situation, embrace new experiences! Even if you decide you don’t like it, you’ve added overall to the quality of your life by doing something different.
Kind of like Don, Ted, Jerry and I did after we got back to the marina!