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The Big Tee was ”the” boat of the Grouper/Snapper, (GS), boats on that dock. She was 42’, twin screws,(2 engines, 2 props). All others were smaller and single screw boats. For those of you lucky folks who have never been on a “work” boat, most are “VERY” meager in their amenities. No shower. Fresh H2O is to be used minimally and for cooking and such. No head. (Bathroom) Big Tee was no different.
I had been told by my “cruise director”, WW, that those boats go out for “6 or 7 days”. That was going to work good for my schedule as the boat I was living/working on, that captain had taken his wife to Greece for a vacation. BUT, we had a lot of bookings when he got back. I could make this work. Hmmmm.
I was quite excited to see a new, to me, form of comm fishing. I had Long Lined, deep water crabbed, worked a stick boat,(harpoon), deep water lobstered, etc. This actually sounded like “fun”(hehe). That big electric reel was sorta like a fishing pole, right? We were using hooks, leader and line. Send it down, wait for a bite, and “hit the damned button!” Catch all kinds of different species, neato! :)
Off we sailed early that morning in the dark. “Where’er headin Capn?”. “None of your damed business”….hmmmm..:confused: These folks that do this kind of fishing are VERY super-secret about their spots they fish. These “numbers” are not on charts and when some of these fellas retire their notebooks of numbers can fetch thousands of dollars.
At the Captains seat in the small wheel house is the electronics that tell you lats/longs and GPS was just coming into its own. All these devices had pieces of cardboard tapped to them making little covers/shrouds that only the person, Capt, sitting directly in front could see the info. The compass also was treated the same. You were NOT allowed to look!:rolleyes: It was the 1st time in 20yrs on the water that “didn’t know where I was”. Oh, I knew direction but didn’t have a clue of where we were on the ocean. Very weird feeling. We were anywhere from 20-40 miles out.
So, the first few days went smooth and it was as good as I had imagined. All kinds of different fish coming over the rail. Loved it! Learning curve was good for me but I couldn’t hold a candle to that old bustard. His station was literally 9’ from mine. Using same hooks, bait, leader length….didn’t matter, he smoked my butt at the beginning of that trip. There was a new young feller,(never been out for more than 2 days..hmmmm) on board also, just 3 folks total including Captain Bligh.:D
The only thing of note those first days was this new feller approached me on about day 4 and said, “Ahh, umm, I am REALLY worried about something.”…Me/”Lay it on me…whatsup?”…..”Well, Ahh..ummm..I haven’t carped since we’ve been out here! Is that normal?”...Me/” Well, no, it ISN’t normal at all…Do you feel OK?”…” I feel OK, but I’m worried!”…Me/”Well you should be! That stuff starts backin up yer lunch is gonna taste a bit odd I would imagine.” …”How many times have YOU gone since we’ve been out?”…Me/ “Oh I go every day, I would be worried if I didn’t”…heheh….”Well I haven’t seen you go! When have you gone?”
Now, you need to know, many boats like this do NOT have a head, TOILET. The head is a 5 gallon bucket, and on Capt Bligh’s boat you did NOT carp directly into the treasured, ancient, passed down from son’s and fathers for gawd knows how long FIVE GALLON PLASTIC FRICKIN bucket! No sir! You lined that heirloom with a black plastic garbage bag, tied a knot in it and sent it on its way like some biological “note in a bottle”, to eventually drive some poor beachcombing tourist from our shores. AND, you did not go below to make this “treasure”, no sir! You went forward on the bow to frighten any birdlife and unsuspecting dolphins that might be in the area far away.:eek: This was all done while anchored and fishing of course. Our Capt was a “regular” guy and a large man of somewhere north of 250# and somewhere north of 60yrs. Every morning before pulling up the anchor and heading to next super-secret spot, he would get the treasured bucket, make a big show of lining it, all the while reminding one and all that “no one better carp in this bucket w/out a liner”, hack up a lung or 2 and he would head for the bow. Understand that when a boat is at anchor the bow points to the wind. So while our loving Capt is scaring the wildlife he ain’t doin anything nice for the crew either that is eatin their breakfast. I swear the spawn of Satan lived in that man’s guts. He would also choose that special time to ask one of the 2 of us a question, or give an order, and small scale shouting contest would ensue(he was hard of hearing), until the dreaded command of, “Just git yer arse up here where I can talk at ya!” I was never quite sure what kind of respect Captain Bligh was tryin to get outta me by having me come chat with him while he was making that “beach comber soufle”, holdin onto the rail, squatting over that magical plastic bucket, but there we were. I swear I heard him laugh every time he pitched that black plastic surprise over the rail.;)
So…no, I hadn’t carped in 4 days either and didn’t care! But we sure had fun with that new feller till the dam burst on the 6th day. Hehehehe. Had that boy convinced that he was most likely gonna die and when he started tastin it in his mouth and was spittin brown, we would head fer the barn.:rofl:
Next up;
Takin water on the Big Tee

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