Theres this young kid who works the fuel dock. Good kid, about 15, who is cursed with fish on the brain like us. Even worse hes a bottom fisherman. Really nice boy.Every weekend he sees me at the end of the day getting fuel or ice. Always looks in my xactic as he knows I usually have a batch of something from the bottom. He must get real tired of weekenders talking bout stripers and fluke. He always asks me about the "hows, wheres' and whys" of what I caught. I ask him if he wants to go everytime I see him. His mouth waters but between weekend work and school he can never make it.
This past weekend all my "on call" crew fag-ed out because of the rain. So Sunday I go to the boat about 10am to check her out. I decide Ill go alone for 1 drop blackfishing. Go over to the fuel dock to get some crabs. I see him and say "cmon, wanna go? as I always do. His eyes light up as his boss just sent him home because of the weather and lack of people. I ask, "whattaya wanna catch?" He tells me he heard blowfishing is real good. Ok blowdogs it is. I get some chum, clams and throw in some crabs just in case.
So off we go. Get in the bay, give it 10 minutes and here they come. He fished 2 rods and pulled double header after double header. In less then 2 hours we beat them pretty good and I didnt feel like skinning the amount we had. Mostly smalls(I dont care what anyone says those little guys are the best). So after catching alot, I mean a real lot, we head back to the barn.
Weve only been out 3 hours and I didnt want to go home and I could see he didnt. As I get to the bend at the inside mouth of the inlet where I turn for the slip I keep going straight to the East out to the ocean.
I thought he was gonna wet his pants. He asks, "What are we doin?". I say, "Just tie some blackfish rigs". He was in Heaven. I didnt plan on going far at all but I was gonna give this kid his monies worth.
I only steamed 2 miles. We anchored up and I explained to him what I was looking at on the machine, how and why I anchored like I did, etc etc. Hes paying close attention, asking the right questions and genuinely wanted to learn. Most kids that age just want to know how much longer the steam was and "just take me to wherever they bite". So we come tight and I just sat back. He hits the bottom and immediately catches a 7 lber. He looks at me like Im Santa Claus. I sat and watched this kid have a pretty fast pull of decent Taug. Much better fish then I expected. Eventually I couldnt take it anymore and grabbed a rod. He and I slugged away for 2 hours.
I ask him if hes got any fish at home and says "no". His Dad doesnt fish and he rarely gets out.
I take him back to the fuel dock and he insists on scrubbing the boat and givin me money. I had to wrestle the deck brush away from him and threaten him with bodily injury if he tried to stick the few bucks he had in my shirt pocket again. At this point Im ready to adopt this kid. I sternly, and in my most crusty, grumpy seadog attitude tell him to cut the shit even though I was more impressed with this kid then 99% of all the people Ive ever fished with. I just had to maintain the hardass, crudmugeon skipper attitude I was known for.
I skinned all the blowfish and packed all the fillets and chicken legs in a bucket full of ice. He said his Mom was coming to get him at his usual time when he got off work in about 20 minutes. I told him anytime he wants to go to just call me. Anytime. I gave him my number and said "dont be afraid to call if you wanna go or youve got a question". He couldnt thank me enough and in keeping with my tough guy persona told him to "get the hell off my boat". He leaves smiling ear to ear, carrying a bucket full of blowfish legs and ice, as I watch him relive his day talking to his mother. Im also watching her stare at me asking herself "who the hell this weirdo is who took my kid fishing?"
It was a great day and I cant wait to fish with him again. Funny thing is that I had a better time then that kid.