It's kinda funny what a fella will hear sittin' 'round bars in
the afternoon. I was sittin' over to Latitude 22 the other
afternoon and couldn't help but overhear these folks talkin' 'bout
the food chain. Food chain kinda meant to me that a fella gets
himself a job so he can earn enough money to make all the
restaurants in town. Then they make enough money so they can buy
food and stuff from the farms and wholesale houses who in turn by
packaged food from the people who package it after buying it from
the farmers. I always thought a food chain was a supermarket.
Anyway that ain't the case.
Those folks were talkin' 'bout little fish eatin' plankton or
somethin' like that and bigger fish a eatin' the little fish and so
on up the line until you get to the killer whales and maybe an
occasional fisherman or a Japanese long haul boat or gill netter or
somethin'. I wasn't real interested in what they were a talkin'
'bout until one fella piped up and said, "Hell, I'll give you a
Seems that some dude by the name of Ozzie Davis out of the Bay
Area owns a boat down here called the EL POCHO and was called back
to business kinda unexpectedly. He could tell his skipper was
right disappointed about it 'cause the skipper was plumb ready to
do some fishin'. So this Ozzie dude tells the skipper, "Listen,
Kenny, if you want to take the boat out with your friends a couple
of days, go ahead. You deserved some time fishing instead of
So this guy named Kenny is out there by Gordo Bank or somewhere
with a buddy of his playin' the role of a rich boat tycoon on a
custom built sportfisher that musta cost a bundle. They're pullin'
eighty pound line and hopin' to catch a big one. All of a sudden
the reel starts clikin' and clakin' the way they do and his buddy
gets all excited and starts reelin' like crazy. Before he knowed
it there's this tiny little four pound Skip Jack, his eyes bulgin'
out of his head, trying to figure how in the world to get off the
hook, swimmin' half dead by the swimstep.
Naturally the kid is kinda disappointed in the fish and wants to
throw it back, but the skipper, Kenny, says, "Naw, let the line
out, maybe we'll catch something bigger."
The kid lets the line back out, trollin' it behind this fifty
million dollar boat and bingo, the reel gets to chaterin' again
just like it did before. Again the kid get to reelin' in the line
for all he's worth. In about five minutes a twelve and a half
pound yeller tail tuna is seen near the swimstep. The kid is
elated. That one's eatin' material. "Naw," says the skipper, let
'em swim out. We might hook up with something bigger yet."
Well, the kid's a little tuckered by now and mumbles somethin'
'bout Kenny takin' the pole. Well, no sooner he hands the rod to
the skipper the reel just goes crazy. It don't do no clickin' and
clackin' now it just starts screamin' with that high-pitched squeal
that they make, and Kenny knows it ain't no tuna that took after
that little ol' yeller fin. Ol' Kenny is a standin' on the deck
flat footed with his knees bent to keep his balance and startin' to
wonder what in the world it could be when all a sudden this big ol'
marlin comes bustin' outta the water just madder than hell.
The kid can't believe his eyes. Inside he's probably sayin' he's
sure enough glad he done gave up that rod. But ol' Kenny, the
skipper, just keeps humpin' that marlin and the line just keeps
whinin' of the reel like a baby. 'Bout an hour and a half into
this crazy scene and the line starts rollin' back onto the reel.
Kinda looks like the battle's 'bout over for the fish. But it
takes another hard fifteen minutes to coax the critter to the
swimstep. It's the dammedest story I ever did hear and I really
didn't believe it till I saw the picture. That black marlin
weighed five hundred and twenty-eight pounds. It sure in howdy
was a big ol' black marlin alright.
I'm kinda glad I was drinkin' a beer at the Latitude that
afternoon. Now I guess I understand a little somethin' 'bout what
a food chain's all about. It sure ain't no supermarket like I
thought it was. A fella hears some of the darnedest stories
sittin' 'round a bar in the afternoon. -cwf-