Chapter 14: Full of Abundance
The Ocean.No. 1 has sailed to the designated sea area. Jing Er, anxious to start fishing, lay flat on the side of the ship near the anchor, ready to cast the net. The success of the first catch would depend on this crucial moment.
Third Uncle Jing shouted with a laugh, “Jing Er, can’t you stop acting like a nervous bride on her wedding day? This is not your first time. You’re making yourself too anxious.”
“It’s different this time. The stakes are high, so don’t try to cheat later,” Jing Er retorted.
“Alright, alright. Let’s hurry up and pull the net,” Third Uncle Jing agreed, eager to begin.
As they chatted and laughed, the bow of the ship came to a stop next to the fishing net marked by a small red flag. Jing Er couldn’t wait any longer and grabbed hold of one end of the net, gesturing to the person by the winch.
“Let’s start,” he said.
“Click, click, click!” went the winch as it started up, slowly lifting the fishing net.
“Hey, we caught something! We’ve got a catch!”
Jing Er couldn’t contain his excitement, grinning from ear to ear. The first fish they caught was a small rockfish weighing about half a catty.
Everyone rushed over to the net, which was quite heavy, two people helped untangle it. Third Uncle Jing was in charge of controlling the winch, while Yang Xiaolong and Jing Tian were responsible for putting the fish they caught into the live fish hold.
At the beginning, the catch was quite impressive. In addition to the two small rockfish, they caught seven or eight black porgies that Yang Xiaolong had spotted the day before. However, as they went on, the catch started to dwindle. Some crabs came out of nowhere and tangled up the net, causing a mess and almost leaving them with no fish at all.
Jing Er was initially full of energy, but as time passed, he became more and more disheartened. By the end, he was so upset that he just sat there with a black face, not saying a word. This was unusual because he was usually the one who talked the most.
When they finished pulling in the net, all they had were enough fish to barely cover the cost of the fuel.
“Older Brother, there are still a few days left, don’t be so down.”
“That’s right, try to be more optimistic.”
Seeing his low spirits, the other people on the boat came to comfort him. After all, they were all from the same village.
Although they often joked around and played pranks, they all hoped for each other’s well-being, knowing that life was not easy.
They continued to pull in several more nets, and while there were some fish, it wasn’t a lot. They could barely cover the cost of fuel.
The atmosphere on the boat, which had been good before, became as heavy as a frostbitten eggplant. It was quite dull.
The nets couldn’t be immediately put back into the water after being pulled up. On one hand, they were tangled up, but more importantly, there was a fishy smell that could be detected by the fish, causing them to avoid the area.
The last net left belonged to Yang Xiaolong and Jing Tian.
“Xiaoyang, we’re about to pull up the net. Are you nervous?” Third Uncle Jing asked.
“Not really,” Xiaolong replied.
While Xiaolong seemed relaxed, Jing Tian was not as calm. She tightly clutched her hands together, worried that they wouldn’t catch enough fish.
Both of them were new to fishing, unlike the experienced fishermen who had been doing it their entire lives. They were afraid of losing money.
In no time, the Ocean No.1 sailed to the location where Xiaolong was going to cast the net.
Yang Xiaolong pulled up a bunch of foam, and Jing Tian brought over a net box. There was only one live fish cabin, so each family brought their own net box to avoid confusion and keep their own fish separate. They would then transfer the fish into the live fish cabin.
As the winch turned, the fishing net was pulled up, and everyone watched eagerly.
After a few minutes, the fishing net was halfway up, but there were only a few small shrimp, oysters, and snails. There was not a single fish weighing more than half a jin.
After the first round of fishing, the net box was still empty, and not even the small bucket in front of them was filled.
“Xiaoyang, I told you to listen to me, but you didn’t. Now, you see, we got nothing,” joked third uncle Jing.
“Yeah, Xiaoyang doesn’t have experience. We already knew yesterday when we cast the net that it wouldn’t work. How can you expect to catch anything with just one round of fishing?” added another person.
Everyone was talking, and even Jing Tian’s face didn’t look good. Although she was mentally prepared for the possibility of not catching anything, the fact that they didn’t even get a single fish was beyond her expectations. Their luck was just too bad.
Yang Xiaolong didn’t care about what they were saying because he had already explored the situation below with the blue-ringed octopus.
The reason why he set the net in a circle was to catch a group of mackerel, which he had located the previous night. There were about forty to fifty mackerel feeding in this area.
However, he didn’t immediately set the net because mackerel like to swim in groups, and if one of them gets scared, it could lead to the entire group scattering. Although he had the blue-ringed octopus, he couldn’t rely on a small octopus to intercept a group of fish that were many times stronger than it.
To avoid alerting the fish, Yang Xiaolong deliberately set up a large trap not far from the fish school. He surrounded the trap with five fishing nets, forming a fence-like structure, leaving only a small opening that was a must-pass. This way, he could wait for the fish to swim into the trap.
After more than ten minutes, the second net was also pulled up. This time it was a bit better than the first one, with several sea bass and barracuda, but still a loss.
Compared to Yang Xiaolong, Third Uncle Jing was now in high spirits, as his catch was relatively bountiful.
On the other hand, Jing Tian silently picked up the fish, not saying a word since the first net was pulled up, feeling a bit down.
After some time, the winch was prepared to pull up the third net.
“Xiaoyang, why don’t we leave the remaining nets for a while longer? Maybe if we give it more time, we’ll get a better catch,” Third Uncle Jing suggested kindly.
“No, let’s just pull it up,” replied Xiaoyang.
Seeing Xiaoyang’s persistence, Third Uncle Jing didn’t continue to argue. He pulled the lever of the winch and the third net slowly emerged from the water.
The others lost interest and considered the lack of fish as a certainty, except for Jing Tian, who kept her eyes fixed on the net being pulled up, still holding a glimmer of hope.
Just as everyone was disregarding the net, Jing Tian suddenly shouted out loud.
“Fish! We got a fish!”
As soon as the third net was pulled up, a slender, sharp-mouthed fish was caught and brought up, flapping on the deck with its belly up.
“Sea bass, another one.”
“Yellow croaker, wow, this one must weigh at least two catties.”
“More catch, horse mackerel, and more than one.”
As the group watched, their attention was drawn to the catch by Jing Tian’s shouts. Yang Xiaolong could clearly see the transition from disappointment to shock on their faces.
Except for Jing Tian, Third Uncle Jing was the most shocked. His facial expression changed faster than a chat emoticon, and he kept muttering, “This shouldn’t be possible? How is this even possible?”
“Don’t just stand there, hurry up and help,” Yang Xiaolong urged as the fish began to pile up.
“Xiaolong, you must have gotten incredibly lucky,” one of them said.
“Yeah, this is unbelievable. I’ve been at sea for over a decade and I’ve never seen so much catch from a single fishing net,” another added.
Yang Xiaolong smiled and said, “I’m not sure, it’s just good luck.”
In the following nets, more than forty horse mackerels were caught, each weighing seven or eight catties, and several were over ten catties.
In addition to the horse mackerels, there were also many other types of fish caught, including seven or eight sea bass, stone dogs, black pomfrets, and small yellow croakers. Overall, this net had made up for the cost of fuel and this trip was not in vain.