Jul 22

first fishing experienceI’ve never been the fishing type. I’m always been more the relax-on-the-beach-with-a-cool-drink type. The “I’ll see you when you get back” type. If I’m near the water, I’m either on the beach, on the deck or poolside. Once in awhile, when I feel adventurous, I’ll dip my feet in the water. Once in awhile. You get the picture.

That’s why it was such a chore for my friends to convince me to join on them on a deep sea fishing expedition a few weeks back. They saw a Groupon for half off and thought it’d be a good friend-bonding experience. Get up at 4 in the morning, hop on board of a little dinghy while it’s still dark with a “captain” who hasn’t seemingly shaved or showered in months. And I have to catch my own food if I want to eat. Hardly a way I’d like to spend my Saturday bonding with friends. I suggested we rent a yacht charter. We’d still be on a boat, with a captain, by the water. And hey, you could still fish if you want. That didn’t fly with them.

With my girlfriend out of town and no extra work to do at the office or around the house, I ran out of excuses. They convinced me, shockingly.

Fast-forward to the day. Up at 4 a.m., hoisting anchor by 5:30 a.m. with a captain named Mel who may still think he’s a pirate. We all cracked open a good-morning beer and christened the S.S. Rascal.

It took us two and a half hours to cruise southwest from LA to our destination—the middle of nowhere. During that time, we sat around and told stories, and even heard some from our captain Mel, who I admit, had some pretty funny stories, true or not.

Mel started to grow on me, and once I was fully awake, the trip started to as well. Here I was in the middle of nowhere, drinking beer with my four best friends (and a stranger). Not a bad start to Saturday, even though it was still 8 a.m. We got out or fishing rods while Mel supplied us with bait for the halibut, yellowtail and barracuda we were trying to catch.

The last time I fished was in fourth grade when I caught a turtle and a bike tire. Safe to say I was an amateur. My friends seemed to know what they were doing, and I didn’t care if they saw my lack of fishing skills. But when Mel started to approach me before I was about to cast, I started feeling a little embarrassed.

But there was no reason to be. He came up to me, grabbed his own pole and stood next to me, giving me tips and showing me proper technique. Within minutes, Mel was reeling in a red snapper while we were laughing over one of his stories. One of my friends got something relatively small. And me, still nothing, but I didn’t care. I started to relax, while I had another beer, and we all told stories. My friends started catching things about half an hour in and putting them in a cooler filled with ice. Despite my hardest efforts, I was actually having a good time.

Then my line pulled. I had something! Mel instructed me on how to reel it in, not too fast, not to slow, and within a couple minutes, I had the second biggest fish of the day: a 28 pound yellowtail. I had never seen a yellowtail before. Only in sushi. But the taste of satisfaction of catching this fish was better than any sushi in any restaurant.

From that moment on, fishing hooked me. I was drinking beer with my friends, reeling in something every fifteen minutes or so. There’s no feeling like that of camaraderie with your friends doing mixed with the satisfaction of seeing what’s on the end of your line.

We’re going again on the expedition this weekend with our new friend Mel. I have chores to do around the house and my girlfriend wants to go shopping, but hey, I got some fishing to do.

Shanks