Last week Manny went out sailing on a neighbour's boat. It was Friday afternoon and I was still busy teaching yoga, so he grabbed the chance to get out on the water for a couple of hours and joined Amir and Reuven. As a last minute thought he grabbed our fishing rod and a lure that a one of the marina staff had assured him would catch a fish. It was an automatic sort of gesture because, you see, Manny hasn't caught a fish while trolling from a boat ... well ever!
Let me make this clear. Manny has fished many fish from shore. He's quite good at spear fishing and when we cruised the Bahamas, he often provided a dinner of lobster or conch. Over here, he manned a fish trap for years, which brought us regular dinners. He built a smoker and has earned quite the reputation for his smoked fish. He has crewed on boats in various oceans when fish have been caught. He has helped land the fish and he has cleaned the fish, but he has never reeled in his OWN fish while trolling a line from a boat.
Once on a delivery aboard a Formosa 50 ketch, Manny found a rod, some line and a lure. We were on passage from Egypt to Turkey and it looked like a promising night. He rigged the rod off the stern of the boat, reeled out line and gave me clear instructions to call him if I heard the reel go off. Then he headed down below for a well earned nap and I took over the night watch. Just as Manny began to drift off to sleep, I heard the reel go off. I jumped up and down squealing with delight and hollered "You've got a fish!" Manny shook himself awake, dashed up to the cockpit, and began to reel in the line. Unfortunately the rod was old and rusty, the line snapped and the reel gave in. He gave me a smoldering look with clear instructions NOT to bother him with fish anymore and slunk off to bed.
Aboard Yofy, if there is any wind at all, we generally troll a line. Sometimes friends join us and then there usually is a discussion about which lure we are using. Everyone offers their advice.
"I always catch fish with a silver lure".
"Anything that's red and rubbery works. They think it's a squid."
"THIS is the lure that ALWAYS catches fish for me!"
He's bought and tried them all. He's got a good professional rod, reel and proper line. He's weighted the line and not weighted the line. He's trolled the deep water, the farthest point south, the lucky spot by the harbour. We've watched for seagulls over the water and trolled where they are fishing. We have watched tuna chasing groups of fish causing the surface of the sea to "boil" and we've trolled right through the school. Not a fish.
About a month ago, Manny was out sailing trolling a line as usual and he sailed right past another boat also trolling a line. As the two boats passed each other and were parallel, suddenly the line on the other boat went off and Manny watched them reel in a fish. That evening he told me "I can't believe it. They were just meters from us!" The whole thing was becoming a joke.
So you can imagine my surprise when I called him last Friday afternoon and heard that he'd caught a fish. I immediately put our camera on standby and waited for the Five o'clock Bridge. This was one picture I had to get. As soon as they had docked Amir's boat and the fish, a three kilo tuna, was brought over for cleaning, a group collected around the guys. The story was told and retold. Manny began to clean the fish and now everybody gave their opinion on the best way to cook it. In the end Manny cut the fish into steaks and shared them with Amir. We each got several good sized steaks and I took the head and tail to make fish broth which I'd freeze. Then I began to thumb our fish recipes.
We decided to try a recipe by Chef Jamie Oliver: Spice-Crusted Tuna Steaks with Cilantro and Basil
The steaks were delicious. Now I can't wait to make chowder using the fish broth as a base.
As for Manny, he's now setting his sights on a Mahi Mahi. Who knows he might even catch one!