Concerning Curiosity

There’s a certain excitement that comes with every trip offshore, whether it’s the final day of a high-pressure tournament or a casual weekend outing. In any event, the best of the best do everything possible to put themselves in contention with trophy game fish every time they hit the water. However, there are times when not everyone on board knows the methods to my madness.


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Illustration: Rey Flores

During a recent holiday weekend, great weather gave my wife Lisa and I the opportunity to head offshore together. So we readied the boat as usual and were just about to push off when she asked, “Should we invite Mariangela?”

A close friend of ours, literally our next-door neighbor for the last five years, Mariangela was easy on the eyes and sunbathing by her pool as we untied from the dock and posed the question. She looked over at us surprised at the invite and replied, “No thanks, I’ve never been fishing and would only get in the way.”

Lisa and I both assured her that we’d love the company. After pondering it a few more seconds, Mariangela smiled and agreed to go. As she settled in uncomfortably close to the helm, Mariangela looked at me and said, “I don’t know anything about fishing so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of stupid questions.” To be honest, I felt bad that we hadn’t invited her sooner and wanted to be as accommodating as possible. I casually replied, “You can ask me anything. No question is a stupid question.”

As we were cruising out the pass I lightheartedly mentioned to Mariangela, “Who knows, you may even be a good luck charm!” Looking over at the livewell full of frisky goggle eye I blurted out, “If all those baits are gone by the end of the day, then you can come fishing with us any time you like.”

Mariangela is very intelligent, but as the day went on she was challenging my comforting sentiment that no question is a stupid question. After spending the majority of the day several miles offshore dolphin fishing, Mariangela now had an education on outboard motors, outriggers, boat wraps, combing bolsters, bottom paint, radar, FLIR, non-skid, flares and much more. She was also comfortable plotting a course on the GPS and hailing a vessel over the VHF. 

To round out the day we decided to drift the edge for blackfin. Soon thereafter we caught a 30-pounder and Mariangela released her first sailfish. After resetting one final drift Mariangela turned to me and asked, “Cole, what’s that big yellow thing in the water that keeps following us? Somehow it’s right next to the boat every time we stop.” Confused, I looked in the water at the sea anchor and replied, “You mean you haven’t seen me throw this in every time we stop?” I thought to myself, “Okay, now that was a stupid question.”

With only a few minutes of daylight left, Mariangela peered into the livewell and said, “Still a bunch of baits left, let’s see what we can do about emptying this.”

I quickly replied, “That’s the spirit, there’s still plenty of time and the best tuna bite often occurs just before sunset.”

While at the bow helping my wife tend a flat line, we heard some commotion near the transom. I turned around to see Mariangela reaching into the well with dip net in hand and tossing live, and very expensive,  goggle eye overboard two at a time.

I quickly dropped everything and yelled, “Mariangela, what in the world are you doing with our bait?” Smiling ear to ear, she replied, “Just making sure I’ll be able to fish on your boat again.”