Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Fishing with Rasmus
The next morning at 10, while I was having breakfast on the beach, Rasmus came running up to me.
"Okay! You are having breakfast. That's good. I go get the rope, the hook, the things for the fishes to eat. The man was telling me the fish like to eat the squid and they like to eat late in the day. So, I think, three or four o'clock, something like this, we get the boat, we go to the rocks out there, and we get this fish. He pointed to a collection of boulders at the far edge of the bay, grinned with an excitement rarely seen, and then ran off down the road into the village.
For the next two afternoons, Rasmus and I were proper fisherman. We rented a kayak and paddled out. We had chunks of raw squid, a knife, hooks, bobs, sinkers and were getting it done.
On Monday, we only had one line: a little 30 meter finger spool. We were amateur at best. The first catch was a little, five-inch, dark-purple, spotted "grouper." It appeared quite spiky and we had no idea what kind of fish it was. Neither one of us wanted to take it off the hook.
"We are such pussies, no?" Rasmus asked with a belly laugh.
By dark, Rasmus was barefoot atop the boulders slinging this hand line 30 feet into the sea. We had it down to a science.
By Tuesday evening, we were pro. We each had a line and were fishing from atop the boulders. I stood on a boulder that seemed to hover ten feet above the water (ten feet above a calm recess in the side of the bay). The smaller fish were visible, and numerous, in the water below. We had caught a lot of those already and had thrown them back. At the bottom of this recess was a massive, submerged boulder with a dark space beneath it. The sun was setting. It was beautiful. The tide was coming in; I moved the "bob" about seven feet up the line: right where I wanted it. Then I fixed a gnarly chunk of squid to the hook. I must say, in all modesty, the throw was perfect. The squid sank to the perfect depth and lazily drifted with the waves past this dark space.
A black oval shot out from beneath the boulder and took the line. I pulled him up as quickly as I could. It was a 12-inch, maybe two pound "grouper" or rock cod (I got differing opinions) and it was gorgeous.
Back at the guesthouse, they were happy to cook it for me. They suggested frying it with some garlic and I didn't argue. It was quite tasty. I was a proud fisherman.
Afterwards, a bunch of us went to the Thai fights. The high whistle ringing and constant drumming was a steady soundtrack to the screams for blood and money. The bookies circulated among the seats shouting who they were betting on and collecting and handing out bills. I broke even with them, but I lost five dollars to a random, heavy-set Thai woman sitting behind me. She had a wide smile and a pleasant sounding laugh.