Jack’s gone fishing

When you go fishing, it is usually a lot more fun if you actually catch some fish. Ol’Jack knows this from personal experience. Recently, my lovely wife, a couple of friends visiting from the States and I went on a half-day fishing expedition off the coast of Contadora. We hired a panga with a crew of two, who we’ll call David and Charley, because that’s their names. We went for a four hour cruise and we didn’t catch any fish; not a single bite; nada.
To be fair, we didn’t schedule our outing for first thing in the morning, like you’re supposed to; and we didn’t bother checking the tides. After a fun-filled evening before, we decided to take it easy, sleep in and go in the afternoon. After all, the whole area out there is a prime fishing ground and we just wanted to catch a couple of late rising tuna or wahoo. It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot with a light breeze and fairly calm conditions.
It was just fun being out on the water, passing by scenic green islands with billowy clouds in the distance. A few frigate birds hovered overhead, but none dived or even looked very interested. After about an hour, with Charley changing the lures a couple of times and David setting course around yet another rocky point, and absolutely no action, not even a nibble, one of the rods bent over and the reel made a loud whining sound. I leapt to my feet and grabbed the pole. We were hooked on a rock. That was it—the only strike of the day.
When you’re out on a fishing trip and you don’t catch any fish, you usually go through the five stages of grief. The first is denial. This can’t be happening. We’ve got guests. There’s plenty of fish in the sea. The second stage is anger. These guys don’t know what they’re doing. Whose stupid idea was this any way? The third stage of an unsuccessful fishing trip is bargaining. Oh, come on give me a break here. Can we try somewhere else? I see a couple birds way over there in the distance. Sometimes by the second hour, but certainly by the third, depression sets in. Geez, it’s hot out here. Why me? And finally as time runs out, acceptance. Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough. Then to the crew, “Okay amigos, no mas.”
The outing wasn’t totally depressing. We did manage to have a relatively rare out-of-season whale siting. In fact, a rather frisky fellow who did several back flips for our viewing pleasure. It seems some whales do come up from the Antarctic. We also went swimming, which was a pleasure for our friends who were escaping a late-season snowstorm up north; and we found some nice shells along the surf. But no fish.
With only a few crushed empty beer cans in our cooler we trudged home, feeling just slightly sunburned, and a bit wiser for the experience. I pretty much already knew that midday wasn’t the optimum fishing time and that notion was verified. No need taking it out on our guides, but ol’Jack wasn’t that enthusiastic about a tip. However, my friend was generous.
About an hour later, Charley appeared at our terrace while we were having a subdued happy hour. He offered up a moist plastic bag and inside we found a nice size Corvina (sea bass). He wouldn’t accept payment and we could see David waving from beside the boat down on the beach.
I’m not saying that’s always going to happen, but the guys felt bad we didn’t catch anything and tried to make it right. That evening we grilled our fresh fish and felt quite lucky.

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