May 12, 2009

five hours: no fish, but two captains save lives

I fished the bay beginning on Saturday evening at 8:30, an hour before high tide, and got a ride down to the wall because there would have been no way to carry the cooler, net, bait, tackle box and four poles on my own.

Jon D. was set to come down by 10 p.m., and as I casted the first line two things came to my mind: 1) Three of the poles needed re-rigging after a disastrous triple-tangle last time out. I didn't even have enough equipment to rig them all and 2) If I caught a fish now, I'd have no way to bring it back to the house. No one home, brother out in the city.

Oh well.

I got two out of four poles rigged, baited and thrown in as the sun was just going down, and when Jon arrived at 10, I still had caught nothing. His brother arrived shortly after and we had the extra supplies to get all four poles in. But while Jon was making the supply run, I checked the poles (which had constantly come up empty - without bait - each and every time one was reeled in) and one felt heavy, like dead weight. A crab, I'm thinking.

Sure enough, I got the line in and see what was weighing it down - a spiral shelled snail, like one you'd find on the sands of Jamaica or something like that. It had my bait and hook locked inside and surely had a death grip. I managed to pop the hook out and put the snail on the top of the wall as proof to show that at least something was caught.

By around midnight, the wind was really starting to pick up and there was one point where we remarked that it suddenly seemed to just take off. Shortly after, we saw emergency lights coming from every direction and a police helicopter took off from Floyd Bennett Field, just across the way, heading toward Breezy Point. Trucks from Brooklyn drove over the bridge, pausing for a moment mid-span, and a few police boats flashed blue lights. We saw what looked like a big glowing fire flickering at the horizon and, at the time, thought that a house had gone up.

As it turned out, it wasn't a fire at all that brought all the rescue. A boat had capsized in the bay and four people were in the water at that very moment. Apparently, their boat was slammed into the waves and began taking on water. Two nearby fishing boat captains heard a "Mayday" call and arrived in time to get all four people on board and to shore, where they tried to keep warm after a few minutes in the frigid water.

We had no idea any of this was going on, but, still, nothing bit our lines.

In the end, after five hours of fishing, there was nothing to show for it.

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