How To Break In A New Outboard Motor
OK, here's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I left Peters Creek for Whittier to break in the new outboard motor for the "Beer Thirty" on Wednesday about noon. While not exactly planning a "three hour tour," keeping the music from Gilligan's Island playing in the background of your mind while reading this might add a certain color to this story.
The weather as I left and for that matter all of Wednesday, was Prince William Sound gorgeous. Sun shining, light chop, warm breeze. Because of "break in" restrictions on the new motor, the first couple of hours were kind of tedious so I took in the scenery that I usually blow by. The Kittiwake Rookery just out of Whittier is almost empty now, but the tour boats are still making that one of their stops, and the old logging camp just beyond still beacons to me to come explore one day.
A run out to Esther Island Hatchery produced a couple of small silvers, so the actual run will probably be in about a week. Hot Tip.
Now we get to the part of this story that might be interesting. After finding a suitably sheltered moorage late Wednesday night, I baited a circle hook with a chunk of herring and dropped it off of the side in about 100 feet of water, and then turned in. I've not gotten a lot of fish with this method but on occasion I've picked up a Rockfish or two and you just never know. I left the pole just leaning against the gunnel rather than in a pole holder mostly because of projected expectations and past experience.
About 6 AM I was awakened by the bang, bang, bang of my rod against the side of the boat. Jumping out of bed in nothing but my boxers I exited the warmth of the cabin to a refreshing down pour accompanied by a cool breeze. The rod tip was going nuts and so for the next 5 minutes or so the fish and I got to know each other. This fish was heavy, but didn't feel like a halibut and when I quit pulling he seemed to quit pulling, so I decided to chance getting dressed.
Setting the rod down once again against the gunnel, I grabbed my pants and somewhere between getting one leg in them, and having the other headed that way this fish decided to make another run. Hoping on one leg back to the rod, I grasped the reel as it was going over the side. Regaining control of the rod and my composure I set about adding personal dignity to that list. Standing bare footed on the butt of the rod I managed to finish dressing. I was now covered, if not dry.
The next 20 minutes or so were largely unremarkable. I'd gain a little line, he'd take it back, but since we were only in 100 feet of water he didn't have far to go.
As a measure of just how exciting the retrieve was, I was able to reach into the galley with one hand on the rod and the other reaching in to start the coffee I had readied the night before. This was no small feat given I was using one hand and "strike on the box" kitchen matches. I had time later to pick up all of those "extra matches" off of the floor. I promptly forgot all about the coffee, which lead to the discovery of what I'll call "Boat Expresso." Write for the recipe.
I digress, so back to the fish. Once the fish broke the top of the water, three simultaneous thoughts came to me.
The first idea I had was to shoot it. Nope wrong gun, wrong loads. (Note to self)
As it turned out, I had strapped it to the top railing in a pretty efficient manor. (Note to self). Good thing I'm not all that big or I might have caved in the top of the ice chest in the next few minutes. With the rod in one hand, rod butt planted in a new sore spot near my hip, a good Igloo top and a little perseverance, the harpoon came loose from the top.
Bringing the halibut back to the top, I briefly considered the awkwardness of a rod in one hand and sharp stick in the other but like I said, the thought was brief. Doing what I imagined as my best Queequeg imitation, I cocked my arm back and let loose with it the next time the fish breached. A clean miss. Once again retrieving the fish from the depths and re-assembling the harpoon, I made another try. Misjudging the thickness of this beast, the harpoon tip was returned to me in a manner not unlike that of a lure spit back at you while under tension as the fish took off like a sprinter out of the starting blocks. The third attempt was charmed and I now had a large angry fish attached to the boat.
I'd like to say he next towed the boat around for awhile, but he didn't. He did however test the rope and the cleat it was attached to a few times. Being pretty sure I didn't want a live fish this size in the boat, assuming I could get him in the boat at all, I slit his gills and sat down to the two cups of coffee my six cup pot had now become. See brewing method above.
Fortified with the strength of success and 2 cups of Boat Expresso, I proceeded to relieve the sea of my hard earned prize. This effort was somewhat hampered by the back up rope I had attached through the fish's mouth being securely attached to a cleat and too short to allow the fish to come fully over the gunnel. With both feet planted against the gunnel, and one hand barely able to hold the gaff, I managed to overcome this last test with a note to self to buy more rope next time I was in town.
Untethered, the fish slid easily into the boat thus answering the age old question of why fish are slimy.
65" of fish in the boat. Almost gunnel to gunnel. No record, but a prize to me and the whole thing accomplished without a prominent scar.
Now if that isn't sport fishing I don't know what is.
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