March 2007 — As the Discovery ran north from Bellingham, we stopped in Petersburg on Saturday night to get ice, but we had to wait until the fish plant opened in the morning. With nothing better to do, we went out for a few drinks at the bar.
On a cold night in March, albeit a Saturday night, there is not much going on in Petersburg. We wound up doing what we usually do — sitting around and looking at each other as we supported the local economy by drinking expensive booze.
As we sat and looked, we were joined by a burley fellow in a watch cap and a black t-shirt. He was vague on what he was doing in Petersburg, but he was here, that was for certain. He had a goofy East Coast accent, like some guys I know in Bristol Bay, so I figured he might be from where they were from.
"So, are you from Gloucester?" I asked.
"YEA!" He replied excitedly, "I'm from Gloucester!"
Immediately he started ranting about life in Gloucester, Mass., and how the movie The Perfect Storm did such a great job of portraying such a life. He talked about the bar in the movie, and told of many an hour spent there, living life much as it had been shown in the movie.
By this time we all realized this guy was completely full of shit, but looking at him was much more interesting than looking at each other, so we hung on his every word. Next he shifted to his fishing exploits.
He said he had gone fishing on a big boat, like the one in the movie, but he couldn't remember what kind of fishing he had done. But the guys were tough — real tough; and The Perfect Storm did a good job portraying fishing life. We did get him to admit the part with the shark chomping down on the guy's leg was a bit phony...
Next he started talking about another fishery had had done. "I was fishin' out of Gloucester," he began, "fishin' for those... those..." he glanced around, trying to rejoin a long disconnected synapse, "...you know, those RED things — with the PINCHAS!"
"Lobster?" I asked, hoping that wasn't the answer.
"YEA! LOBSTA!" He smiled broadly, and continued his story. "So I was fishin' for lobsta. And we was fishin' in the shallows. And I was throwin' the traps ova, and I got a hook stuck in my aam (arm) RIGHT HERE!" He pointed to the outside of his shoulder. What kind of "hook" got stuck in his arm, I had no idea. We just let him go with his story...
"So the trap took me ovaboard," he continued, "it took me DOWN." He looked at us to see if we were with him; we were — he was now underwater with a lobsta trap hooked to his aam.
"But we was fishin' in shallow watta — ten feet deep. Now, I had a buddy who fell ova in shallow watta, and he didn't make it — he drowned." He looked at us solemnly; we understood. "He tried fightin' the trap on the way down — he didn't make it.
"Now what I did — I was smart. I let the trap take me down — all the way down. It was only ten feet deep, so I went to the BOTTOM." He looked at us; we were with him — on the bottom. "THEN, when I was on the bottom, THAT'S when I took the hook outta my aam. I didn't fight it, and it came right out — I WAITED, I went to the bottom, and I MADE it!"
TO BE CONTINUED...
National Fisherman Live for Dec. 18, 2013
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