I was in that deep rest. The kind of rest just before sleep when the back of the Waterman went off like a scene in Jaws. The drag of the giant saltwater reel holding our swordfish rod screamed and stressful shouts came from Brian Trow, “Currier! Currier! Currier!”
I was dozing upstairs in the Captain’s Chair with my ear to an alarm that warns us of oncoming vessels. I was coherent for action. When I heard the reel and my name at the same time – I knew – we may have a swordfish on.
Brian and I were on watch and we’d already decided the first bite was his. So I remained on the second deck and hung over the rail while Brian wearily stood next to the rod stressfully bent. Thank god it was secure in a rod holder. Within a minute everyone was up on the deck.
The sizzling run lasted more than a minute. Brian raised the drag pressure in the middle of the run fearing the line was leaving too fast. All it did was cause the fish to run harder. Watching the havoc sent shivers up my spine. I wanted to see this fish but was also creeped out. Then the line stopped.
There was some anticipation at this point. Swordfish are known to run then turn around and charge the boat. With the longest sharpest bills of all billfish this wouldn’t be good. We peered into the Atlantic ready for an angry monster to explode from the darkness.
The rod sat silent for more than a minute. Then without taking the rod from the holder, Capt. Mike reeled. He cranked hard for more than three minutes and soon we saw what was left of our squid bait. Our swordfish was now only a mystery fish and he was gone. I haven’t been so disappointed by a lost fish since the Africanus last year in Oman.
While Capt. Mike, Richard and Art returned to bed, Colby, Brian and I were amped and ready for the next bite. However shortly before 2 AM I became ill. And I don’t mean seasick. I mean stomach problems I won’t describe that turned to achy body hell. The pain in my joints and back was so bad I took eight Advil’s before sunrise. I was miserable.
Once daylight arrived, I remained on the couch in the Waterman’s cabin. I could hardly move. I was in the fetal position hoping I could make it to the deck if a marlin came. Instead, what came was a dolphin blitz and soon Colby, Brian and Art were all hooked up.
I must truly be a fishing fool because despite feeling like death warmed over, I dragged myself to the deck. I reached my Winston and made a godawful crappy cast. I was almost hoping the darting dolphin would refuse my fly. But they act like they’re starving. Less than a minute earlier I was dying on the couch, now I was getting worked over by a hard fighting game fish.
One dolphin was all I could handle. It sounds lame but I tell you, I felt like I was going to die. The rest of our day produced only two casts for white marlin. Brian had a marlin hot to trot but when his fly landed the marlin ran the opposite direction a 100ft then sank from sight. I too made a cast and it was good. But my marlin left also.
We returned to port this afternoon earlier than planned. Tropical Storm Julia has repaid her visit. We are presently at Art Webb’s house and I am sicker than I was when I woke up. The aching is unbearable and I can’t keep my eyes open. Perhaps a 24-hour flu?
As it stands now, weather depending we plan to get up at 4 AM and meet Capt. Mike for one more shot at a marlin on the fly from here in Virginia. I simply hope I’m alive. Right now it’s seems doubtful but I’m not a normal man.