JUST FOR THE HALIBUT-dedicated to Domenico-Rest In Peace
I considered my husband a wild cowboy of the sea, NOT kidding! There wasn’t much he wouldn’t do to try to catch the “big” one! He thought the ocean was one big rodeo. This morning I was cleaning out my desk and came across his lucky halibut hook. It had the dubious distinction of catching a 150 lb. halibut. I held it in my hand and I was instantly transported back in time, in that boat with my crazy, passionate Italian husband.
We travelled up to Winter Harbour which is located on the North West corner of Vancouver Island. South of Cape Scott and North of Brooks Peninsula, At the mouth of Quatsino Sound. At the time when we were fishing there, it was a logging road and still active, I don’t know if that’s still the situation today. I only remember flying down a gravel road at high speed towing a boat and keeping a wild eye open for logging trucks. Because if we saw one it meant we had to pull off quickly or risk getting hit because there was no way they would be able to stop. This one particular trip was action packed, we had a flat tire on the way up and Dom unhooked the truck and left me with the boat and trailer while he went to the nearest garage which was a considerable distance away. I was sitting on the trailer musing about the current situation when I looked up and a cougar was stealthily crossing the road in front of me perhaps fifty yards in front of me. I wasn’t scared, I could only admire his beautiful catwalk and grace with awe. I knew the adventure In the high seas was going to be worse than anything this cat could throw my way. Turned out I was right!
Tire gets put back on and we proceed. The heat is on, to get the boat in the water and away we go. He had more than one idea on how he was going to catch this huge Halibut and he was giving me the drill. I always called it a form of brainwashing, so by the time we were in the situation I could handle almost anything. I’m laughing here. We were into the third hour, still no bite. Seas are getting rough and were in open water, the ocean can be really treacherous there, I’m feeling nauseated by the back draft of gasoline fumes that the high winds are blowing my way. I knew better than to say, “don’t you think we should head in now?”.
It was at that moment that his rod almost flew out of his hand and BAM the bite was on. It was a BIG one. It was going to be the fight of either Dom’s life or the fish, I could tell that neither one of them were going to back down anytime soon. Three hours more into the battle and Dom is worn out and that Halibut which I had a glimpse of wasn’t backing down either. He managed to reel him in close to the boat and he shouted at me to load the shotgun and shoot it, I told him NO, seas were too rough and that fish was all over the place. It had a long way to go yet before it looked even remotely tired. So Dom lets some line out and hopes this fish will tire soon, meanwhile swearing at me! I’m used to it, did not phase me a bit.
Another hour goes by, gas running low and swells are at least 8 feet high and Dom is oblivious to everything except that fish. He did get it close to the boat again and this time yells at me, “Estee get the knife and just gut it”….Oh my God, I’m thinking, one swipe from that tail and I’m dead. But this time knew if I didn’t do as I was told there was a good chance I’d be swimming for my life with that poor Halibut. I often think back still to that moment and thought what a movie this would of made.
The poor Halibut gets some line again and Dom is almost crying, “I don’t think I have the strength to bring him in one more time”…. I encouraged him to get the last of his adrenalin fired up because I was pretty sure unless he brought this fish in soon, we’d be drifting into Japan and it’s getting dark by now.
One more reel in and he’s got this fish right up to the side of the boat and he’s yelling at me to help him lift it into the boat, tail is still swiping and it’s at least 150 lbs.. Dom has his arms around it and I’m holding the rod, I was rooting for him, not the fish because I knew by this time ALL our lives were in danger.
One slippery hug and Dom is flat on his back in the boat and the Halibut gave one last hurrah and landed flat on top of him… in the boat.
The rest is history as they say..
copyright Es-tee Miller
Relationships fail because people change for one person to be somebody they are not. Eventually one person breaks and everything goes hay wire…