Chapter 5: Going Out to Sea
The weekend came in a flash, and last night Liu Yufei called him and asked him to arrive at the harbor at 6:30 in the morning.
Yang Xiaolong got up at 5:30 and packed his new equipment. He rode a shared bike as fast as he could and finally arrived at the harbor.
The morning harbor was filled with various boats, and the fishermen were busy with their work. Some had just returned from sea and were happily unloading their catch with a crane. Others were preparing to set sail, tidying up their crab cages and fishing nets in an orderly manner.
Yang Xiaolong looked around and finally spotted Liu Yufei on the deck, wearing a leather apron and sorting through the fishing net.
“Liu Yufei,” Yang Xiaolong walked over and waved to him.
Liu Yufei looked up and shouted, “Hurry up and come help!”
Yang Xiaolong had just stepped onto the boat when a dark and strong middle-aged man approached him and blocked his way.
“Young man, do you need something?”
“I’m here to find my friend,” Yang Xiaolong replied, pointing to Liu Yufei on the deck.
“We’re about to set sail, so if you don’t have any business, please go down quickly.”
Liu Yufei ran over when he saw the situation. “Boss, he’s my friend. I asked him to come and help. I told the boss’s wife about it before.”
The middle-aged man took a look at him and nodded before walking away into the cockpit.
“Hurry up and get on board. Don’t just stand there,” Liu Yufei urged him with a hand gesture.
Yang Xiaolong was going out to sea for the first time and everything was so new to him. The constant sound of the ship’s whistle and the roar of the diesel engine matched his excitement and anticipation.
The boat they were on was only about eleven or twelve meters in length, so going out to the open sea was out of the question. They mostly sailed around the nearby coastal areas, and only the family members were on board, without any other hired help. The route for this trip was relatively short, and they could complete it in a day, so they didn’t need to prepare too much. Before departure, they carefully checked their equipment and made sure everything was in order.
“A honk ~ beep beep.”
The middle-aged man sat at the helm, honking the ship’s whistle first, and then skillfully steering the boat. Unlike a car, when the boat started, you couldn’t feel it moving at all. It was exceptionally slow.
After sailing for about twenty minutes, Yang Xiaolong began to feel something was off. His stomach was churning, and his mouth kept producing saliva.
Unable to hold it any longer, he stumbled and pushed open the door, ran to the deck, and threw up. The middle-aged man in the cockpit smirked, “So he’s a landlubber.”
The expression “landlubber” refers to someone who is not accustomed to life at sea, often used in a derogatory way to describe someone who is inexperienced or incompetent when it comes to sailing or working on a boat. So if someone says “So he’s a landlubber,” it means that the person being referred to is not familiar with the ways of the sea or is not comfortable on a boat.
After throwing up, Yang Xiaolong felt much better, but he lay on the side of the boat, sweating profusely. The vast and undulating sea made him feel dizzy.
Liu Yufei handed him a bottle of mineral water, “Old Yang, you should have told us earlier that you get seasick. You’re really suffering.”
“Waa~ paah.” Yang Xiaolong rinsed his mouth and said listlessly, “I had no idea. I’ve never gotten seasick when boating at home before.”
An hour later, the boat had reached its designated location. The middle-aged man adjusted the route and walked out of the cockpit.
“Xiao Liu, bring over the fishing net.”
“Okay.” Liu Yufei dragged over the neatly arranged fishing net.
The fishing nets were also available in various sizes. Generally, a three-layered net was used, but in the sea, a four-finger net was more commonly used. However, some people used a one-size-fits-all net, which was called a “castration net.”
The middle-aged man first found a foam ball, which was the top of the net. For lowering the net, generally, two people were required, one person to organize the net, and the other person to lower it. Otherwise, if it got tangled, it would be troublesome.
Yang Xiaolong wasn’t of much help and felt a bit in the way, so he decided to step aside and take out his fishing rod. The weather was too hot, and the squid he received from his boss yesterday had a bit of a smell to it.
He controlled his blue ring, who seemed lazy and uninterested in moving around. Some small fish and shrimp were swimming around it, but it remained still.
They were fishing in an area close to the coastline, and occasionally, other fishing boats passed by with large nets. They had to be careful not to get caught before they could catch anything.
After half an hour, Liu Yufei and the others had already put down two nets and some crab cages. Blue ring had also arrived, but they hadn’t caught any large fish yet.
As Blue ring swam past a crevice in the rocks, they noticed something unusual. Seven or eight long, cylindrical objects were hanging down, lined up in a row. Blue ring was small and agile, and if it weren’t for them, they might have gone unnoticed.
Blue ring quickly swam through the crevice, revealing a group of sleeping ribbon fish. Ribbon fish were social creatures that usually slept during the day and came out to feed at night.
Yang Xiaolong quickly rigged his lure with a sea worm, estimating a distance of about twenty meters. He stood up and with a flick of his wrist, the lead sinker made a “thud” sound as it hit the water, creating ripples that startled the fish and shrimp in the area.
Based on his past experience, he had good technique today, successfully casting his line into a crevice where a school of ribbonfish were hiding. However, despite the commotion caused by the sinker, the fish remained sound asleep and not biting, causing frustration for Yang Xiaolong.
“Hey, how’s your catch going?” A middle-aged man approached and asked.
“Just started, do you need any help?” Yang Xiaolong offered, feeling a bit uneasy since he was on the man’s boat.
The man gestured for him to sit down and the two of them sat in silence, staring at the ribbonfish in the water. The atmosphere was awkward, but Yang Xiaolong paid no attention, focusing on the fish that were now nibbling at the bait.
“Boss, what can we do if the fish don’t bite?” Yang Xiaolong asked a few minutes later, after most of the bait had been eaten.
The middle-aged man blew a smoke ring and replied, “Nothing.”
Yang Xiaolong decided to reel in his line, realizing he couldn’t wait until nightfall for a few ribbonfish, even if he wanted to. He had hoped for bigger catches, but things weren’t looking good. However, just as he was pulling in his line, a sea bass swam up from nowhere, much to his surprise.
Quickly, he re-hooked the bait with a river shrimp and cast his line again. This time, he was too close to the fish, but it didn’t seem to mind. Sea bass were small, carnivorous fish that were easy to catch, so Yang Xiaolong was hopeful.
The sea bass noticed the bait and swam towards it, nibbling tentatively with its mouth. After a few minutes, it gave in to the temptation and took the bait, much to Yang Xiaolong’s delight.
“Got one!” Yang Xiaolong grinned, deftly reeling in the line.