Becoming a real Sailor

There are so many service men and women in the US Navy today who have no clue what it is like to actually sail.  This, until the last year or so, included me.  4 of my buddies in the USS Texas’ M-Div went in together and bought a 70’s era 37ft sailboat.  We all thought they were crazy, mostly because they had no idea what the hell they were doing.  Couple that with a high dollar no guarantees investment, and one would think we weren’t too far off in our opinion.  But like all good Submariners, they knuckled down, did their homework and taught themselves how to sail.  It wasn’t too long until we were all invited aboard, the only stipulation was we had to bring lots of beer.  No problem.  The memories of those exciting times will live on forever and are among my most favorite in the Navy so far.  Fast forward a year later, here we are in San Diego on shore duty and my wife and I befriended a gentleman who just so happens to own a similar sized, and much nicer sail boat.  Long story short, we just got back from a 3 day cruise and had an absolute blast.  There is nothing like hoisting several sails, cutting the diesel, and enjoying the cool breeze as you quietly glide over the water.  With the prospect of being out on the ocean, I made sure to bring my fishing pole with me.  While out off the coast of SD, I geared up my el cheapo Uglystick with some 50# braided spiderwire, steel leader, 3/4oz sinker and a small minnow swim bait.  I paid out about 30-40 yds of line behind us and set the drag pretty low.  I then set the rod up in its holder and continued with my socializing and enjoyment of the gorgeous day.  About an hour later, my attention was rapidly shifted back to the rod as the wonderful, adrenaline inducing sound of line rapidly paying out came to my ears.  I jumped up and had just pulled the rod out of its holder as the noise stopped as suddenly as it came.  Bummed out and cursing my slow actions, I reeled in the lure to ensure that it was still there.  After inspecting the line and lure, noting some tears on the little minnow, I plopped her back in the water and payed it back out to the same spot.  No sooner had I set the rod in the holder and turned around thinking that was to be my only strike of the day, the reel started going crazy again.  This time I quickly snatched the rod up and started fighting the fish.  He was pretty strong and gave me a decent 3 minute fight as I hauled him closer to the boat.  As he got closer, I was able to make out a slender silvery fish about two feet under the water.  As I pulled the little (small for the ocean anyway) fish up and into the boat, I was instantly filled with excitement as I realized what I had just hauled in.  It was my first ever Barracuda!

How sweet is that?  Thank God I alway have my diggit on my belt, I was getting worried how I was going to get that hook out of his mouth.  My wife snapped some pictures for me, I got the little predator off the hook and let him slide back into the water.  The awesome fish and wonderful weather was icing on the cake to getting out on the ocean again and learning how to sail.  Thanks Vinnie for your hospitality and awesome time.  We will have to do this again sometime.

Dive! Dive!

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