Chapter 11: Night Fishing
Half an hour had passed, and the Ocean No. 1 had already entered a drifting state.
Uncle Jing came over to inform them that they could start setting the nets in a little while, and everyone should choose their own area to fish.
After waking up, Xiao Yang steered the Blue Ring to catch up, making the little guy quite tired on the way.
Jing Tian also walked over from the lounge, looking a bit nervous. Although she grew up by the seaside, her grandfather was very strict and never allowed her to go out to sea with them. Only in recent years, when his health was not good, did he occasionally let her join. But going to the open sea was still her first time.
“Aren’t you cold?” Yang Xiaolong took off his military coat and put it on her.
“Thank you,” Jing Tian said absentmindedly.
“What’s wrong? Do you have something on your mind?”
“Brother Xialong, do you think we can make money from this trip?”
Her family was not very wealthy to begin with, and although the joint fishing venture had rich resources, the expenses were also considerable. At the end of the trip, each family would have to spend at least five or six thousand yuan.
“Do your best and leave the rest to fate,” Yang Xiaolong replied. Of course, he wouldn’t directly tell her that they were guaranteed to make a profit. Even if he did, she might not believe him.
Suddenly, there was a sound of rushing water.
As they were speaking, some people on the boat had already started to drop their fishing nets. The wind was strong that evening, causing the nets to sway and float in the air.
“Xiaoyang, don’t just stand there. Come over and help,” someone called out.
“Okay, coming,” Xiaoyang replied.
Xiaolong ran over quickly. The one leading the team was Jing, the second eldest son of the Jing family. Despite his usually easy-going personality, he was quite renowned in the village for his fishing skills out at sea.
Although each fisherman used their own nets, they always worked together to lower and lift them. After all, the faster they could finish their work, the more time they could spend fishing. The larger boats were more fun to use, but their fuel consumption was terrifyingly high. That was why they formed a cooperative to go out to sea, as they could not afford the costs if the fish yield was low.
After about half an hour, Jing had already lowered half of his five nets. There was no doubt that more hands made the work easier. On a regular day, it would take at least an hour to lower three nets, and it was even more challenging during high tide.
“Old Jing, you’re so anxious and flustered. Are you planning to join the air force tomorrow?” someone joked.
“Rubbish, if anyone’s going to join the air force, it’s going to be you,” Jing Lao Er retorted.
“Jing, actions speak louder than words. How about we make a bet?” someone proposed.
“That’s right, we always hear you bragging. Let’s see if you can back it up,” someone chimed in.
“Let’s do it. When have I ever been afraid of you guys?” Jing Lao Er responded confidently.
The group of fishermen started placing their bets in a lively manner, with some betting on a three-pound stone bass, and others betting on a five-pound sharp-mouthed fish. In short, there were all sorts of bets placed.
The atmosphere on the boat was cheerful and everyone worked without feeling tired.
At around 2 am, everyone had finished lowering their nets except for Jing Tian’s family.
“Jing, have you chosen your spot yet?” Jing’s uncle asked.
Jing Tian was indecisive. She usually followed her grandfather’s instructions and only helped with lowering the net.
Meanwhile, Yang Xiaolong was busy controlling the blue ring and circling around the area while they were setting the net.
It must be said that Jing Lao Er was quite lucky. The spot where he set the net happened to have a school of pomfret swimming by, and by chance, the net caught them all. He was sure to win tomorrow’s bet.
During the rising tide, many fish and shrimp in the water were scattered by the waves. While controlling the Blue Ring, Yang Xiaolong was passing by a reef when a group of black breams were hiding inside.
“This is the spot,” he said.
“Uncle Jing, let’s just drop the first net along the side of the boat,” said Yang Xiaolong, pointing to a spot.
“Xiaolong, are you sure about that?” replied Uncle Jing.
Although Jing Tian didn’t know if Xiaolong knew what he was doing, she supported him unconditionally since they were working together. So, she didn’t object to his suggestion.
Jing Lao Er sat by the side of the boat and said, “Little Yang, do you want me to take a look for you? Your position is not good. Just give me two packs of cigarettes later.”
Yang Xiaolong smiled and said, “Thank you, Uncle Jing, I’m good.”
“You young people are so stubborn, not listening to the advice of your elders. You’ll regret it later,” Jing Lao Er said jokingly.
Other people saw that he was determined, so they didn’t say anything else. After all, it was their own net, and it was their freedom to choose the location to drop it, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to interfere too much.
In the blink of an eye, all five nets were dropped. They didn’t say much when they dropped the first one, but as they continued to drop the nets, they felt that it was getting more and more absurd.
Most of them had been fishing for a decade or two, and they had never seen anyone surround five nets in a circle like this, especially in the open sea. It was foolish to wait for fish to come to them like this.
Although the fishing nets were set up properly, there were still comments being made. Even Jing Tian looked at him strangely. She didn’t understand why they needed to fence off the fishing area. After all, if they ended up with a loss, it would be two months of wasted effort.
At 3 am, all the crab cages were thrown into the water, with their positions marked. Two crew members stayed on watch duty in the cabin, while the rest of the crew went to rest.
Back in the rest area, Jing Tian seemed a bit down.
“Are you having trouble understanding something?” Yang Xiaolong was the first to speak up.
Jing Tian didn’t say anything, but just nodded her head.
“Don’t worry, I won’t treat my own money carelessly. You’ll see tomorrow,” he said before lying down on the cardboard to rest.
It is said that working in the water is not easy, and even Yang Xiaolong, who is not used to it, spent the whole night setting up the fishing nets. He stopped and felt like his body was falling apart, with soreness and pain all over, especially his arms, which felt like they were filled with lead.
The sound of the waves crashing against the boat at night was so loud that it gave Yang Xiaolong a headache. He tossed and turned all night, unable to sleep. In contrast, Jing Tian slept soundly on her bunk bed. Perhaps growing up by the sea had made her accustomed to the sound of the waves.
He remembered his first night in the dormitory when Liu Yufei’s snoring and teeth grinding kept him awake all night. He even bought earplugs to help him sleep. However, as time went on, he got used to the sound and sometimes couldn’t sleep without it.
After half an hour of tossing and turning, Yang Xiaolong’s stomach started to feel queasy again. Since he couldn’t sleep anyway, he decided to put on his coat and go up to the deck to get some fresh air and clear his head.
The temperature difference on the sea at night is quite large. During the day, it’s so hot that you wish you could take off your clothes, but at night, you need to wrap yourself up in a thick military coat and still feel a bit shivery.
He took out the fishing rod he brought with him. It had been a long time since he last went night fishing.
Back in his hometown, whenever he had free time, he would go to some wild rivers with a few playmates from the village, armed with flashlights. Sometimes they would squat there until midnight, especially on summer nights when the mosquitoes were so numerous that they could literally bite people to death.
When he came out today, he specifically bought some live bait from the old man Jing. After a whole day, some of the fish in the bucket that were lively and jumping around had already flipped over with their bellies up.
He first hung the bait on two fishing rods and threw them down. The tide had already started to recede, so he might be able to catch some big fish.
Blue Ring was busy all night and may be tired, so it was resting in a crevice among some rocks. Yang Xiaolong didn’t disturb it again, just in case it gets too exhausted and something bad happens, he won’t even have time to cry.
As the saying goes, ‘Jiang Taigong goes fishing, willing ones take the bait.’
Yang Xiaolong decided to give it a try, even though he hadn’t caught a lot of fish before.
“Big Brother Long, why did you come here?” Jing Tian walked over with a drowsy expression and even yawned.
Suddenly there was a sound behind him, which startled him. He thought she was sleepwalking.
Taking a deep breath, he realized that she was behaving normally and said, “Oh, I probably slept too much during the day and can’t fall asleep at night, so I came here to pass the time.”
Note: “Jiang Taigong fishing, willing to take the bait.” This is a famous Chinese proverb that means to attract people who are willing to be lured or fooled into doing something. It comes from a story about Jiang Taigong, a legendary strategist in ancient China, who used his fishing skills to select the best candidates to become his military leaders.