the first time i went blue fishing on the chesapeake bay, i was five months pregnant with my first child. i had fished a few times in ponds on farms of rolling green hills and in streams in woods full of stately trees, leaves crunching underfoot, squirrels and birds and chipmunks, even the occasional snake, but never from a boat on a vast dark body of water. and what was a bluefish anyway?
we began the adventure very early one morning. the sun had just made its first appearance of the day, spreading its warm rays over the land, slowly penetrating the cool crispness left over from the night. with it came a sort-of sleepy comfort, a coziness born of the early-morning quiet and the knowledge that today was a play day.
as i boarded the boat, i felt seven pairs of eyes on me. five of those belonged to my fellow fishers, one set to the boat’s captain, one to the first mate, a young fellow in his teens. they were all men. they were almost all amazed to see a woman joining them. a couple of them knew me and were no longer surprised at anything i did.
one of them had made fried-egg, ham and cheese sandwiches for everyone for breakfast. he had kept them warm in foil and they were a delicious treat. we played poker while the captain piloted the boat out into the chesapeake bay.
by the time we arrived at what the captain thought was a good spot for bluefish, my fisher-mates seemed to be enjoying my company and eagerly waiting to see how i handled the actual fishing.
all but one. george was an over-weight guy in his 40’s, new to all of us, and had never been out on the bay before. by the time we reached the anchor-drop spot, poor george had hung his head over the side and retched at least five times. i found out later that he spent the entire day being angry because i wasn’t sick and i was pregnant!
i had a wonderful time learning how to brace the heavy pole and work hard to reel in the strong, fighting blues. oh, by the way, we had a pool for the longest fish and one for the fish that weighed the most. i won them both, with a thirteen-pound, thirty-six inch long bluefish.