Someone finally asked where we were headed. “Nantucket!” Captain Scott said with a jaunty grin, warm and dry beneath his boat’s hardtop roof. We grimaced and huddled closer. We were out there all alone, just us and far away in the distance a flock of birds, diving and hovering over the water, busy catching . . . fish.

Catching the Big One

Scott and Dick, experienced fisherman with long reputations for reeling in big ones, headed towards the birds. “Okay ladies,” said Scott. “Everybody’s fishing!” I demurred. Said I had to write a story. Take photos. “Nope, everyone fishes,” said Scott firmly. Soon I was planted in the stern of the boat, a large plastic belt around my waist. A big fishing rod was put in my hands, anchored in the belt.

“This is how you jig,” said Scott, showing me carefully how to whip the rod back and forth over your shoulder before letting the lure (colored an appropriate pink to honor the fight against breast cancer) fly. I braced my feet and give it my best shot.

Catching the Big One

“I’ll just try it a couple of times,” I thought to myself. “Then maybe Missy will give me some of her snacks. The sun might come out and I can work on my tan for the party tonight.” Suddenly I felt a ferocious tug on my line. The rod in my hands bent in half.

“FISH ON!” yelled Scott. And that was the moment when everything else dropped away and I became completely, totally obsessed with getting that fish in the boat. I reeled and reeled. Tried not to think about the pain in my shoulders and my arms. Cursed the hours I missed on the treadmill at the gym. Kept reeling.

The fish leapt in the air over a wave, shining in the dim morning light, about 30 feet away. “It looks like a big one,” someone said. I gritted my teeth and kept reeling. Twenty feet. Fifteen feet. “I can’t do this!” I said to my cheering crew members. “Yes, you can, keep going!” they said. “Bear down, come on!” I felt like I was giving birth.

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Susan Dewey is the associate publisher and editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. She lives in Centerville on Cape Cod and enjoys gardening, sailing, walking on the beach, gallery hopping, cooking with fresh seafood, and exploring Cape Cod and the Islands from shore to shore.

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