To the Beasts of the Sea

"Fish," he said, "I love you and respect you very much.
But I will kill you dead before this day ends."
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

While on a family vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, my brother, his father-in-law, my nephew, my dad, and myself chartered an off-shore trip to do a bit of sport fishing.

With an impending hurricane headed our way and a fortuitous cancelation by another client, our vessel “The Predator” and its Captain, Chris Barnett, were able to reschedule our trip for an earlier date in the week. (Which also meant a much earlier start time).

The Predator 57' custom Carolina Sport Fishing boat

Up at 0300 and on the road at 3:30 am, we loaded the truck and made the journey to Wanchese from our rental house in Hatteras. The early start was nostalgically reminiscent of fishing trips with my grandfather. 

Despite being just a small boy then, I can still remember the smell of his old woody Jeep wagoneer, riding in the dark to fish the Chesapeake bay with my dad and little brother.

Though he has passed, the family tradition still continues in the next generations with my nephew and some day, my own son. And while it was a bit of struggle to wake up that early then, as a man, I can now see the immeasurable value of getting those extra moments in.

“Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Bridge at Oregon Inlet before Sunrise
With the faintest hint of sun on the horizon, we boarded the 57-Foot Custom Carolina and set out to sea, passing under one of the immense spans of the bridge that traverses the well known fishing port of Oregon Inlet.

As the sun finally peaked up over the horizon we continued heading east towards it while first mate, Nik Sitterly, diligently made preparations.

The thing about fishing is that there are never any guarantees. Anyone who has ever cast a line knows that the majority of the time you will reel it back in empty handed. But optimism is a useful trait for a fisherman, as is luck and skill.

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Our first catches of the day were a number of tilefish that did not disappoint in both their fight and how delicious they turned out to be. Nearly fulfilling our limit by the time the bites slowed down, we went further out in search of larger quarry in the form of yellowfin and round eye tuna.

Speaking from this experience, the mystique of the ocean and the excitement of a reel singing, (indication of a big fish taking out line) is something every man should experience.

Off-shore Fishing on The Predator

After a bit of trolling on the open sea, we were able to link up on some nice sized fish that put up a hell of a fight before we finally landed them in the boat.

For anyone who has had the honor of battling such beasts, it’s easy to relate to Hemingway’s words from his famous novel reference above.

After watching Chuck, (my nephew’s other grandfather) pictured above, completely exhaust himself landing his first big off-shore fish, it was my turn to saddle up to the fight chair and try my hand at the next tuna we found.

Before long, the line began to sing once more and I too felt the might of an animal fighting for its existence.

Big Eye Tuna Fishing

It is a beautifully tragic thing to take the life of another creature to put food on one's table. But the real tragedy is how many have removed themselves from this connection with the land and seas that give us life.

Because in order to have it, we must take it.

And a true Savage Gentleman does so with respect because he knows that without such nutrients, he himself would cease to exist. It is the way of all living things to fight to survive and this yellowfin fought with every ounce of energy it possessed.

Feeling the raw power and tenacity of this fish, I couldn't help but have a deep feeling of gratitude and admiration. 
The nobility of such an effort, to continue to persist until the very bitter end, is an excellent reminder to us all.

Eventually, we will all meet our demise one way or another. And for many of us, the hook may already be set. We could choose to sit idly by as the grim reaper slowly reels us in.

Or, we can fight with all our might to prolong our stay on this mortal continue to wring every drop of life we can and leave this world expending all the strength we can muster.

Savage Gentleman Josh Tyler Holding Yellowfin Tuna Fishing Offshore OuterBanks Leather Patch Trucker Hat
“But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea 



Savage Gentleman Leather Patch Trucker Hat Coffee/Sand
Brown Leather Engraved Gold Inlaid Declaration of Independence Savage Gentleman Made in USA
Leather Patch Trucker Hat  (Coffee/Sand)
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1 comment

So well stated…a very powerful post.

Deborah Link September 06, 2021

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