Ah, those good old Cape May days… by Jackson D’Catur
Fishing with line and hook is not the sport of a gentleman. I used to think differently, and had a whole wall of my study in the D’Catur Mansion covered in stuffed trophies, from a 30-foot great white shark to a school of angry piranhas to a rather surprised-looking goldfish by the name of Flaubert (whom I had snared by accident when practicing fly-casts in the study: one went long, and as it passed over Flaubert’s bowl he leapt a foot in the air and snagged the hook. It was not the hook that killed him, but his subsequent high-speed landing into the mouth of one of the pirhanas. It seemed a mark of respect to have him stuffed and on display, though after we removed him from the piranha’s jaws, he was much the worse for wear.)
In those days I regarded fishing with line and hook as the mark of a gentleman, a noble warrior’s pastime. But then one fine weekend I was fishing off Cape May Point with Ernie Hemingway, and, catching my line on some underwater obstacle, resolved to dive down and free it. I stripped off, put my Bowie knife ‘tween my teeth and dived in.
I battled my way down to the end of the line, and saw through the murk that it was wrapped around the fingers of a statue of Poseidon, proof at last that Cape May is in fact the very tip of the lost city of Atlantis. I was about to explore further when I saw a flash of silver in the water by my head, turned, and then felt an agonizing pain in my cheek as a terrible yank pulled me back to the surface. As I floundered and fought, spitting blood and seawater, I saw Ernie on the distant shore, shouting and wrestling with his rod. The bugger had snagged me and was dragging me towards the beach. I am not one to give up lightly and so did not cut the line, but fought like a demon. I dived deep and when he least expected, rose to the surface and pulled him off his feet. I let him reel me partway in then erupted into flight, dragging him ten feet into the water. He dug his heels in, the pain of the hook caused me to momentarily pass out, and when I regained consciousness I was close to shore. Finally, weak from blood loss, I ran at him, and delivered a stunning blow to his temple with my fist.
“TAGH THAD!” I burbled past the hook, and kicked the unconscious oaf in the ribs.
It took me an hour with that little hook extractor to free myself, by which time I had resolved never to be so unsporting as to hook another fish again.
Since that day, I have used only the speargun, hand grenades and low-yield nuclear warheads to fish. It’s the decent way.