Do you want to buy a plastic fish? – Deep sea fishing off Miami
Having skipped the fishing in the Florida Keys we were excited about heading out for some deep sea fishing. A few phone calls to our captain and we were booked in for the next day on a shared charter.
There are three main ways to hire a fishing boat. A $40 group tour is anywhere from 8-80 people drift fishing off a large boat and getting their lines tangled together. A $400 private charter is a small boat to yourself. We opted for the $125pp shared private charter, which meant us and another couple shared a small boat a bit cheaper, and the crew get $500 instead of $400.
A bit pricey, but we figured it was a one-off experience.
The passengers gathered together in the cabin area for a safety briefing. This was pretty much “Wear a lifejacket. Catch big fish”.
Before we even held a fishing rod we had a long lecture about how we weren’t allowed to keep any fish we might catch, but the boat could arrange a high quality plastic replica “trophy fish”.
A steal at only $1600.
Unfortunately I looked at that and had flashback to Christmas fads of yesteryear:
Yours for only $13 on eBay. I could get a 123-strong chorus of Big Mouth Billy Bass fish for $1600! All singing in near harmony….yeah…on second thoughts that’s not such a great idea. Still – I’m not spending $1600 on a plastic fish.
Unfortunately (Wisely) no one else on the boat was particularly enamoured with a three-foot long plastic fish so didn’t express much interest. The captain was clearly on a very high commission for these things, so kept pressing the issue to the point of annoyance.
Fishing for sales
Eventually we got outside and the captain started fishing. This involved a very elaborate array of rods, reels and even kites, extending the lines far out from the boat. He quickly caught a large sailfish, and the first words out of his mouth were “I could get that mounted for you”.
I’d still not touched a fishing rod, but instead stared intently at the receding Miami horizon. The water was a bit choppy and I’ve previously been told to use the fixed point of the horizon to avoid seasickness.
“So is anyone going to buy a trophy fish?”
The German man tiredly said “At this rate we’re not going to catch any fish”.
I kept quiet and went indoors to find the head (or toilet). The bathroom was too low to stand so I sat down for a bit. Sitting there in the belly of the boat I realised I obviously couldn’t see the horizon. This immediately made me feel nauseous.
I tried to stand to get back to the fresh air but my legs had decided now was a good time to go to jelly. I sat there a bit more and though about all the stairs I need to climb to get back to the horizon.
Leaving a nasty taste in the mouth
By now I was even more nauseous, and with the sink only a few inches in front of me I thought I may as well throw up. Once I’d started there was no stopping.
Possibly 5 minutes, possibly an hour later I was done, so dragged my way back upstairs. Everyone looked up at me as I emerged from the door, drenched in sweat and misery. Then they all turned away and continued to throw up over the edge of the boat.
The poor souls had been waiting for me to come back to cast the deciding vote on whether to give up for the day. I nodded agreement and joined them at the edge of the boat to feed the fishes what little was left of my previous evenings dinner.
The captain, accepting he wasn’t getting any plastic fish commission, was happy enough to go back to shore. Once we started moving I’m sure it wasn’t just my imagination or relief that the boat suddenly became far more stable, making the journey to shore very quick.
I had a business idea for other fake plastic trophies that would remind me of the fishing trip, but it seems someone beat me to it: