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The one that got away!
“Holy s**t!!” the man screamed as his fishing pole was just about ripped out of his hands and he found himself leaning back to an almost laying down position as His feet were digging into the pebbles just up from the surf and the pole was bent almost in half. The reel was whining as the line was peeled off with a screeching sound. A crowd was gathering around to watch and see the monster that this beach fisherman had hooked and was in the process of fighting. The line was paying out and seemed that whatever it was, was heading for the other side of the Long Island Sound. But then it would just stop. Just stop with no movement at all. Then it was off to the right and a long sweeping turn up and around to the left and then a rush towards the shore. The fisherman cranked his reel frantically as the beast raced towards the shore only to have it stop and reverse and take his line screaming off the reel once again.
Up and down the beach the man would move trying to outsmart the monster. He would gain by reeling in line only to have the line once again snatched off the reel and everything that had been gained was lost with yet even more, he could not hold the line after he reeled. The fisherman had the drag on his reel set to max but still, when this monster wanted line it just took it.
“Oh my God!!” one of the spectators standing on the beach watching this match of man against beast yelled and was pointing out into the water, “Whatever it is it is huge! Did you see the size of the tail that just broke the surface?”
Others started shouting and pointing as they too had seen the tail of this monster breach the surface and make a splash, about 75 yards off the beach, that caught the eye of just about everyone especially the fisherman.
“Jesus Christ!! What the hell is it? Good thing I got 40 pound test on the reel.” he yelled out. “I have been fishing from this beach for years and have never had anything this big.” His reel was once again screaming as the line was peeled off at an incredible speed. All he could do was hold on and hope that, whatever this was, it would not rip all of his line right out of the reel. “Never had anything like this!”
The monster started in towards the shore once again and the fisherman reeled as fast as he could but about 50 yards from the beach, once again the water splashed and this huge black tail broke the surface and then disappeared and the line was once again being peeled off the reel. All the fisherman could do was hold on as the screaming sound of the reel fed the monster all the line it wanted.
The crowd was starting to give thoughts as to what this monster was. Surely none of them, like the fisherman, had ever seen anything this big hooked from a beach on Long Island Sound. Ohh if he can land this monster, for sure it is going to be some sort of record and put Greenport on the map of the fishing world.
Suddenly the line stopped peeling off. The fisherman began his task of trying to take back the line. But as hard as he tried, the line would not reel in. Whatever it was just stopped. The fisherman lifted his rod and gave a pull, nothing, It was like he was snagged on something. No give at all. The line was tight, the fisherman was not giving in, he kept a tight hold on the pole pulling back and keeping the line taught into the water. This went on for about five minutes.
“How can this be? How can something that is swimming and hooked, obviously fighting, just stop and appear to become part of the Earth itself?” was the basic conversation amongst the crowd. “we all saw it break the surface twice!” everyone was puzzled. All of a sudden the fisherman was reeling in line, whatever it was, well it was moving again and it was coming towards the beach. “There!” came a scream from the crowd pointing out into the water at the huge splash that was just about 30 yards off the beach, “Did you see that? Oh my God! It is giant!” the crowd started yelling and cheering the fisherman on, he had been fighting this monster for about 20 minutes now and it seemed that he was now in charge.
25 yards off the beach another huge splash and lots of screams from the crowd as well as the fisherman who knew he was now in charge and this monster was his. But as soon as the splash settled back into the water the line started peeling off the reel again causing it to scream and whine. The fisherman was once again just trying to hold on.
Harder and harder the fisherman tried to pull back on his pole trying to make the monster slow but to no avail and suddenly, “SNAP!” The line parted, the fisherman stumbled backwards falling to the seat of his pants. It was over, the Monster, whatever it had been, had won.
The fisherman stood and looked to the crowd, “You all saw what just happened? I was not dreaming was I?” The crowd told him that he had put up a magnificent fight but whatever it was, it was just too big.
Of course I had no idea about what was taking place on the beach, I was just having fun playing with this line and tackle I had grabbed hold of and started swimming away from the beach as hard as I could. For twenty minutes I played with this. I ran towards the beach and the line was reeled in but then I turned and rushed out again only to retake the line. I could feel the fight coming from the beach and I thought several times that I needed to give, whoever is was on the other side of this line, some hope so I inverted myself and put my huge black Fara-Fins towards the surface and kicked hard breaking the surface and making a great splash. But this was hard work so I had to settle to the bottom and rest. I felt the line pull taught as I settled on the bottom. Again whoever was on the other end of this line was trying to pull in his catch. I checked my air and saw that I had about 1,000 PSI left out of the 3,000 PSI I had started with. It was time to say good-by to this game and head back to where I had entered the water which was on the other side of the rock jetty I had swam around, into the current and had found the fishing line I was playing with.
When you dive and there is a current, you always swim into the current at the beginning of the dive. This way when you get tired and your bottom time is coming to an end, you can relax and allow the current o carry you back to your starting point. As I was drifting with the current I was passing over a kelp bed and found three nice size lobsters which I grabbed and put into my net bag used for collecting.
As I was coming into the shore, I saw my friend Pat coming down from the jetty rocks. He saw me and ran over to help me with my gear. I handed him the goody bag with the three lobsters and said we would have a good dinner tonight. I got my gear off and peeled off my wet suit, dried off and got dressed, got all the gear up to my truck, which was parked on the jetty. Pat pulled the lobsters out of the goody bag to look at them, Each was about 2 pounds. He put them into the cooler. As I was loading the gear into the back of my GMC Jimmy, I reached into the pocket of the Buoyancy Compensator and took out the sinker I had cut off the line I was playing with. I put the sinker in my pocket.
The ride back to my place (I had an Apartment on the 25th floor of the Bayridge Towers in Bayridge, Brooklyn.) was going to take about two and a half hours. Pat and I were talking and he started to tell me about this incredible fight he had seen take place on the other side of the jetty. There was this fisherman who seems to have hooked the world cause he could not get it in to the beach no matter how Hard he tried.
“Oh he properly got himself snagged on something and was trying to get un-caught.” I said.
“No! I saw this thing break the water’s surface three time and there were about 25 other people who also saw it.”
I smiled at Pat, “And how long did this battle go on for?”
“Shit I bet this guy fought with this thing for about 15 or 20 minutes”
“Did he get it?”
“No, after what seemed to be that this thing settled to the bottom for about 5 minutes, it came towards the beach the guy reeled in and then all of a sudden it was peeling off the reel again and then the line just snapped!”
“Wow! Quite a fish story.” I drove home. We got to my apartment and Pat and I got all the gear up to my apartment and put it in the shower. I got in the shower with it and as I rinsed it all off I also rinsed myself off. Pat was in the kitchen putting up a big pot of water and getting it to boil the lobsters.
Pat and I were both really big lobster lovers and we would be eating these three I caught for about 3 to 4 hours, so I told Pat to set up out on the terrace. Great dinner with a fantastic view overlooking lower Manhattan Bay. As the sun set the lights started coming up and the lobsters were ready. I brought out two plates and took the lobsters out to drain. It was time to enjoy a good dive collection.
As Pat sat down to the table out on the terrace, he saw a lead sinker with some cut line attached to it sitting on his plate. He picked it up, looked at it then looked to me and asked, “What’s this?”
“Oh, that’s the sinker off that guys line I was fucking with this afternoon!”
“Oh man, you are a f##*!! For sure, you are a true f##*!” we both started laughing and enjoyed the next three hours eating every succulent piece of meat the three 2 pound lobsters I caught had to offer.
The times I remember that I couldn't stop laughing involve my dear old mom and my sister Diane. When we get together in Ohio watch out. My other brothers just look at us as if we were some crazy loony tunes. That is what we are! My mom has this infectious laugh. It starts out low and then erupts into belly- flopping- roll- on- the- floor -can't-stop- laughter. When I hear it start, I gaze at my mom and say, "What? Oh, no mom!" I start out slow and then hold my stomach and then it's on! Laughter here! Laughter there! Laughter going virus! My sister joins in and then we are in for a laugh fest to the tenth degree! When we finish, it feels like I have been through some serious zumba mixed while being intoxicated with 5 Hour Energy! Phew!! I cough and cough and cough and hope that the oxygen returns to my asthmatic lungs! Mom, Diane, and laughter that goes on for hours....what a insane time!