Yesterday I ticked off a bucket list item and went fishing off a boat for the first time ever… with a hangover (the hangover wasn’t for the first time, that just rocks around to remind me that it’s Sunday). The morning had begun foetal positioned on the floor, cocooned in blankets and a tumbleweed desert scratching in my mouth. This was the result of afternoon celebratory ciders, kapowed with Jager shots and consequently letting my flatmate’s tambourine out loose on the dance floor.*
So Sunday was looking up when talk of fishing was bandied about. I chimed in with slurred words like ‘on my bucket list’. A 30 minute scheduled leave time was given and I got up out of my sorry-for-myself-sack way too fast. Movement at that stage was minimal and undesirable. But by the time I had showered and layered up with stripy long johns paired with zip off pants, an over-sized jacket and decomposing gumboots, I was ready to roll with my flatmate and her bf.
It really was a perfectly awesome winter’s day; the sun shining, the crisp air breathing life into me. When we pulled up at the marina A Friendly Little Octopus Named Augustus waved at us from the rocks. I slunk onto the boat where bf’s friend and 2 ½ year old daughter welcomed us aboard. It was her first ever boat fishing trip too and she had a new rod named Pinky, for the occasion.
The motor purred out on the thank goodness it was calm ocean. I wasn’t prepared for first boat fishing trip to be accompanied by first boat overboard chuck. The fish finder said let’s stop here for a while. The pint-sized fishergirl (FG) pulled out Pinky and cast. We sat around with rods in hand, lulled by the gentle rocking. FG got the first bite and reeled in a snapper. A little sucker, but still, FG at less than 3 years old had impressively caught her first fish. She said “Thank you” and waved it goodbye as her father let it loose into its homesea.
Our next spot was set and the birley bomb anchored. I went up the front of the boat and started casting, while my flatmate sat motionless, eyelids heavy. I started casting towards two shining kahawai. Turns out that Pinky had yielded a two for one deal and FG reeled those two in. The rest of the crew had still yet to receive any bites, the fish must’ve sensed an after alcohol atmosphere.
The snapper became rampant after I had said that we’d hit a quiet patch; the boys were pulling them in like they were picking flowers. I cast and a particle of salmon fish guts decided to land on my bottom lip. I shrieked and nearly swallowed the particle. Then I wiped it off with my jumper that was covered in micro particles of fish by association. I think I can now call myself Wild Fisherwoman.
I got a bite. My state rendered a delayed freak-out response as I was still in fish gut lip disgust, but in came Skippy the under-sized snapper. We had our picture taken and Skippy went back to sea to tell its mates that it had met Wild Fisherwoman.
My random ‘have you ever caught anything weird?’ question was superseded by the bf’s rod doing a high-arch u-turn. The struggle was on to pull this fighter in as we waited curiously to see what had taken the bait. A long ribbon retracted, furiously whipping back from the boat and the net was summoned. Scooped up was a light coloured eel dripping in snot-goo and snapping away at the net with its gator-esque gnashers. We tried to release the ugly beast, but it decided that would boa constrictor itself through the holes in the net and make a not so tidy knot. We reckon it was an eel, but the idea of being a sea snake was thrown out there too. The beast was not so easy to release but after some help with the gaff, it was free to be creepy in the sea again.
Creepy sea creature signalled the end of boat fishing venture, as we cruised back to the shore. FG was tuckered out and snuggled in to have a power nap on my flatmate. I quietly awaited the anticipation of greasy treats while wishing I was 2 ½, because then I would have caught 3 fish and had a cuddly nap.
A hangover didn’t mar my boat fishing expedition. I’m completely hooked and now I am in search of a lucky pink fishing rod.
If I was this eel and could talk, I would’ve said “Sorry mate, I’m just a bit tied up.”
*Never underestimate the power of a tambourine in the wee hours of the morning at a pub. Not only can you shake it more than you’d shake a shakey thing, it is a man-magnet and people actually clap and cheer like you are holding the Olympic torch.