The fishing, the sociability, the daring trips …! We typically kid ourselves– sailors– that our ships are “Can,” drifting about on King Neptune’s Domain, at His Impulse.
Long period of time consumer Lou Olton share this grand tale of capturing fish off his navy ship. Thanks for your service Lou and thanks quite for sharing.
… Twas the night prior to Christmas and all through your house, not an animal … WAIT, incorrect Introduction! Now let’s get “reel”! Really, finest I can remember, it almost was close to the Holidays, circa 1997. We, that is the USS KIDD, DDG-993 was arranged for dry dock in Norfolk Naval Lawn, where “she” was stationed, however the thinking behind it uncertain to the team, which I was a “Slab Owner” of, and Finder tech./ operator 2nd-class (STG2 extraordinaire!).
Long story short, Captain Kearley notified us through internal comms that we were going to be doing a Drug Op on the West Coast. Excellent yet another Vacation Duration away. This would be my fourth journey through the Panama Canal. Finest I remember, as I formerly stated, Thanksgiving was approaching so we understood it would be warm at our location– a Big rectangular shape running North-South from off the NW corner of Columbia to Panama’s Northern border.
My Navy profession began in San Diego however rapidly ended up being an East Coast thing– 1985 through 1998, when USS KIDD lastly did get the Dry Dock visit; this time it was to Decommission “her”! That is a tale left for another time.
Being an Easterner, I was all too knowledgeable about the Beach Fishing scene, however not with a Fishing pole … yet! That all began when I got to my first ship after bootcamp my Finder C-school in San Diego. That got me to Jax. Florida and Mayport Naval Station and my first Fly Fishing Beach Design along all that golden sand. The Saint Johns River wasn’t far. Basically self taught with my experiences as a freshwater trout man maturing on Long Island (NY).
Now that you have some back-story, on with the Joys of Fly Fishing From a “BIG Private yacht”! Ends up that our Captain was likewise a Fly Fisher and what we like to call– “a crew-members Captain”. Conventional Sundays-at-Sea would be a throughout the day BARBEQUE on the Flight Deck affair with civilian clothing optional if you were not On-Duty.
As you see from the 2 pictures, one day I was quickly to be On Responsibility and the other I was not. As we patrolled our “box” doing incredible trolling speeds I rapidly entered into the Fantail Fishing State of mind generally, however never ever decreasing my obligations as Finder Watch Manager, Department Troubleshooting Petty Officer or Department Security Petty Officer. Needless to state, when not Fly Fishing off the Fantail, I was a Very-Busy-Camper.
Drifting Flotsam or “individuals drifting scrap” as it was, was all too widespread, and in my eyes welcome, as it was (and will constantly be) a “Fish Magnet”. Reality is, the 2 Mahi Mahi were as an outcome of quick-casting to trash stacks or pallets drifting along with the ship.
Capturing Mahi Mahi ended up being 2nd-nature, sort of, once the Boatswain-mates got the “Grease Monkeys” to make a long gaff to be able to snag the catch and raise on deck. Then one lovely Sunday-at-Sea I was at my normal starboard-fantail railing corner with my homemade sinking fly line set out to about 75 backyards. Then I got foolish, keeping in mind like it were the other day, I feel ashamed all over once again informing this. It was “Starving Time” and I required a hamburger and coke. Here is the foolish me; setting the Sage RPLXI 10wt propped on the steel rail I produced a “mad-dash” towards the Flight Deck Ladder to bring that “pale of water” (coke and hamburger). No faster than midway throughout the Main Deck (about 20 feet from the rail, and the rod), I hear a team member fishing pal SHOUT; “Petty Officer Olton!”– an easy Lou would have done. I turn and see My Fishing pole Quiver and Dive, apparently as though it were Overdoing it … however it didn’t. Then I searched for and out to sea to see what I might see; following my Fly Line Support, and there it was. Never ever in my wildest dreams did I ever believe “OF THAT”! Ends up I hooked a Sailfish. Typical sized I expected. After all it was Sooo-far away because immediate all of it happened. It resembled that scene in Hemingway’s Unique when the Black Marlin made its very first look with that leap out of the sea! Well, that image came later on, however, you get what I imply, ideal?
With the rod and reel undamaged, I would live to eliminate another day … fortunately. That day would come, not remarkably on another Sunday-at-Sea (when the majority of the fishing was done). SO, most likely the next week? Type of a gloomy day, rain on and off and now nearing dust– about an hour away. The BARBEQUE Crowd had actually thinned and primarily diehard anglers stayed, with a couple of interested onlookers enjoying the sun gradually sinking. Some Dark Low-Hanging Clouds off in the range had me shocked … then I saw IT!
I wasn’t sure in the beginning what the disruption was on the surface area as it appeared up until now off– thinking 2 or 300 backyards. However this Disruption was Moving from Right to Left– looking aft out over the railing. I, once again in my preferred Left-hand corner, stated to the other 6 or two anglers, “Prepare men, that is a sea of tuna and they’re heading our method!” Yup, basically simply what I keep in mind stating!
Certainly, that “Wall of Marvelous” Fish turned a bit towards KIDD. I rapidly blurted more line and decreased my rod pointer as near the water as I might– still about 3 feet away. My Fly Line Rig included a Really Heavy Sinking Head– I’m believing it was 30 to 40 feet long; from a Saltwater Cortland Fly Line that I cut the HEAD from and connected to as much 30lb. Support as I might fit on my Reel.
That had to do with 300+ backyards. Point being; it worked, by golly it worked simply as meant. Unfortunately though … I was the only one to get a Hook-Up. Now, I remained in the Battle of My Life … Actually it appeared as however at the time! IF you recognize with those knobby fabric painters gloves (?). I had actually make-shifted a set of Fingerless design (cutting the ideas off, plus stitching a Leather Pad on my Reel Hand (Left hand Retriever) as a Drag Help. Half Hour into the battle, those gloves were a “Blessing”. Whatever this fish was– believed I had an excellent concept it was a Yellowfin– you can’t be specific. It Dogged me bad, and the Drag was set all the method, and yet the line kept going and going and going, like the Eveready-Wabbit.
Seriously I was at wits-end and I asked a young Lieutenant JG, standing watch at the time/ radio comms in-hand, if there was any method he might get the KIDD slowed or stopped so I might land the fish. No Joke, that is how it decreased, … and with a smile on his face (me too), he contacted us to the Bridge and asked SIMPLY THAT! Surprise, Surprise, surprise … Captain Kearley Came Through. Then HE appeared on the Fantail … “Oh Kid,” I believed; shits gon na strike the fan now. This is when I first found out that OUR Captain was undoubtedly an Angler’s Angler and fly fisher too-boot. It took, all informed, about 45 minutes (thinking) to get that Yellowfin along with and gaffed. I needed to bang the head into the deck a couple of times to stop the crazy knocking about, once I had the ability to raise it up, I might inform it was gon na be a Huge Banquet follow Sundays at sea BARBEQUE.
The “Conference room” officers-mess got their sushi repair and some steaks and the team did simply as well that next Sunday at the Tuna-BBQ Banquet … yea there were still hotdogs and hamburgers. Got ta state, of ALL the Navy Cruises I’ve been included with– 3 ships, journeys to the Mediterranean, off West Africa, Bermuda (triangle), Cuba, Caribbean, All of South America (around the Horn/ UNITAS), Louisiana (Mardi Gras), Panama, New York City (Fleet Week) … hmmm, what am I forgetting? Needless to state MY time in the Navy was a “Circumstantial” Dream Come To Life … and by that, I’ll need to end it– for another “story” might be developing…!?.