In Part 1 of this series, Jim attempted to reward his hard-working little brother with a fishing trip in Belize, not realizing circumstances would conspire to have Jim accompany his brother on the trip. (This was not the original plan.) Many things went very wrong very quickly, and a lousy first day of fishing had resulted in one lousy little fish. Through Jim’s eyes, these mounting tragedies become a delightful comedy. Click here to read Part 1 of “The Non-Angler Tries a New Angle” at escapefromamerica.com.
It got hot. Really hot. The captain tried again and again to repeat the earlier victory but failed. He began to blame things.
“Dis not my normal boat. Probly not should say dis, but dis not my real boat. My boat sick.” He said.
“Is this not as good as your boat?” I asked. He just looked at me.
“You brought da wrong bait.” He said. “Dis is cooked shrimp. We neet live shrimp.”
“We didn’t bring the bait.” I reminded him. “Ya’ll did.” He looked at me again.
“If it get any more cloud above, we screwed.” He said.
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Can no more see da fish.”
“It shouldn’t make much difference. We can’t really see them anyway.” I laughed. He glared my direction, but I didn’t care anymore. Then my brother glared at me.
“What’s up?” I grinned and opened a beer.
“You are really bumming me out.” He said.
“What? Why? Because it’s hot, we have the wrong boat, the wrong rods, the wrong bait and now the clouds are making it harder to see the fish. Don’t be bummed out.” I said.
“We don’t have the wrong rods.” He said.
“Did you see any spin-casters back at the lodge? I asked.
“No. But we cleared that with them on the interview form.”
“Yeah, but we also asked for a patient skipper.” I laughed. “It’s just one day fishing, bro. I don’t blame the whole sport.” I tried to cheer him up, but this trip was ruined the moment I signed the payment agreement with this company. I’d do what I could to salvage things.
“Skipper, don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m a brand new fisherman so I might ask some questions that might seem stupid.” I said. He just stared off at the water as we drifted.
“So, here’s my first question: how do we catch these fish? I can’t see the flash because I don’t have your seasoned eye.” I asked.
“Watch for da flash.” He said.
“Right, been doing that for hours. Do you see any flash?”
“Not now. Fish eating and stirring up clouds of dirt. See dat?” He pointed to the left of the bow. My brother nodded and then shook his head as if this made perfect sense.
“No, I don’t see anything.” I said.
“We can cast into the cloud.” He said.
“But how can we hunt in a cloud of muddy water…we can’t see anything.” I asked.
“We stopped hunting hours ago.” My brother conceded. “Now were just ‘fishing’.” They began tossing their lines into a dark area off the left side of the bow. I could tell that my normally funny brother was not really digging my jokes so I backed off a bit. I kept praying he would catch a fish.
But he didn’t.
The captain caught one more fish that day and he let my brother reel it in. I wanted to take a photo, but I had jumped overboard to cool off and I had thought of using the ocean as a toilet (the Imodium were working but I still needed to go). I tried to get back on board to photograph my brother’s catch but was too late. I knew that he’d have loved to have had that photo, but he did not bring a camera or hire a professional photographer. And looking back, the fish was pathetically small. I would not have wanted to share that photo with anyone. He was grasping at straws and I hated it.
And that was the last fish we’d get that day. We had multiple lines in the water most of the day and caught two, lame bonefish. Those fish cost us about $750.00 each. I had a feeling that this was not lost on my brother.
At one point, the skipper and his son, who basically spoke island-style Spanish to each other all day and said precious little to us, had decided to break for lunch. They said nothing to us. No dinner bell, no announcement. Just some grumbling from the rear of the boat as they ate hamburgers. Earlier, I had noticed that the son had probably upset our lunch plates inside the ice cooler. I pointed this out at the time and the son grimaced a bit but said nothing. As they ate, I got up and verified it, chicken salads floating in six inches of ice water.
“You brought da wrong lunch. Salad no good on boat.” The captain said.
“We didn’t choose that menu. It was chosen for us. Never mind, you guys enjoy your lunch. We’ll just have a beer. But perhaps, it’s time to head back soon, eh?” I asked. My brother nodded. He was completely defeated and disgusted. This was not at all what he had expected. Honestly, it was about on par with what I expected. This was fishing: spending a lot to be uncomfortable for hours and ultimately catch nothing. Click here to continue reading “The Non-Angler Tries a New Angle, Part 2,” and learn how Jim rescues this miserable fishing vacation.