Chapter 6: Catching a Wolf Fish
With a “swoosh” sound, Yang Xiaolong suddenly lifted his fishing rod and the fish’s head popped out of the water, meeting the waves. Liu Yufei happened to walk by and saw this, so he quickly grabbed a net to scoop it up.
“Old Yang, you’ve got some skills.”
“It’s just luck, just luck.”
The first fish was successfully caught, and Liu Yufei praised it and went to call the boss to eat. “Boss, the food is ready, hurry up and eat. We’ll be pulling the net soon.”
From Liu Yufei, they learned that the boss’s name was Zhang Youcai and he was a true local fisherman in the harbor. Yang Xiaolong put the fish in a bucket to keep it, although the boat had a live fish tank, he was worried about mixing the fish up when they pulled the net later, so it was better to keep them separated.
The food on the boat was quite simple, with a household gas cylinder and a simple lamp, a stainless steel pot shaped like a drum was placed on top, and the prepared instant noodles and vegetables were poured in to make a stew.
It wasn’t very practical to have a three-dish-one-soup meal on the boat, as it would waste time. Although local fishermen mostly had their own boats, they were generally simple, so the conditions were naturally more rudimentary than those on TV cruise ships.
After a simple meal, they would be pulling the net in an hour. Zhang Youcai was feeling sleepy, so he went to lie down in the cabin. The boat was in a floating state, so he didn’t have to worry too much.
Yang Xiaolong had nothing to do, so he picked up his fishing rod and sat on the deck, ready to try his luck. The blue ring octopus was looking for food and just swallowed a shrimp the size of a fingernail, savoring its delicious flavor.
“Time to work.” Yang Xiaolong manipulated the fishing rod and began to turn it around underwater. As he passed by the fishing net area where Liu Yufei and the others were, three or four jellyfish were struggling in the net, but no fish could be seen. Hopefully, they wouldn’t come up empty-handed today.
“Hmm, what kind of fish is that?” As he was observing the jellyfish, a fish with a blue-gray back and light gray belly with black vertical stripes on both sides swam by. Its body was even longer than the grouper Yang Xiaolong had caught earlier, and it looked somewhat similar to the green fish in his hometown’s river.
Yang Xiaolong first put his hand rod down, and then hung the live bait on his lure this time. Although he didn’t know what species it was, he could tell it was a particularly ferocious one just by looking at its size; it was definitely a meat-eater.
Although I’m not sure what kind of species it is, just by looking at its size, it must be a fierce carnivore.
As the bait fish entered the water, it landed right in front of the big fish. To keep the small fish lively and attract the big fish, Yang Xiaolong only hooked the tail of the fish, allowing it to swim freely in the water.
Yang Xiaolong shook his fishing rod while adjusting the reel’s tension. The big fish, perhaps hungry, saw the small fish swimming and rushed towards it with a flick of its tail. The small fish became frightened and tried to flee, but it was hooked on the tail and couldn’t escape. Struggling only excited the big fish more.
In a flash, the big fish reached the small fish and opened its mouth, swallowing it in one bite.
Yang Xiaolong felt a strong pull on his fishing rod, and he quickly realized he had caught something big. Without thinking, he planted his feet and knees firmly against the boat’s hull, rapidly turning the reel to let the line out.
“We caught something! Look at that rod bend!” Liu Yufei exclaimed with excitement. “Holy shit, it’s coming to the surface! Hurry, hurry!”
Yang Xiaolong shook the rod while frantically letting out more line. He had underestimated the big fish’s strength and had already let out more than ten meters of line, but the fish was still going strong, dragging the fishing line out.
“Reel it in, reel it in!” Liu Yufei held onto the boat’s rails tightly, wishing she could ride the big fish.
After a few minutes, the line had run out, and the big fish seemed tired. Yang Xiaolong’s arms were sore from holding the rod up. He took a deep breath and slowly began to reel in the line.
“What’s going on? I can’t seem to pull it in anymore.”
After trying twice, the fishing rod bent into a bow shape, but the line in the water remained motionless. Yang Xiaolong became anxious, as it was a newly purchased rod that had not even warmed up yet.
Controlling the blue-ringed octopus, he realized that the big fish had swam into a hole and was quite cunning. But today, it had met Yang Xiaolong, so it was out of luck.
The blue-ringed octopus swam to the big fish and its yellow-brown body began to change. Its entire body emitted a dazzling blue light, which was reflected by the seawater, making it even more dazzling.
Upon seeing the blue light, the big fish’s huge head involuntarily shrunk back in fear.
But the blue-ringed octopus did not care and immediately swam around to the back of the big fish, using its sharp teeth to bite down fiercely. The painful big fish began to thrash around frantically.
Yang Xiaolong was not idle either. He started reeling in the line, causing the main line to become taut and straight. The big fish was even pulling backward.
While Yang Xiaolong pulled from the boat, the blue-ringed octopus followed closely behind and chased the big fish. Although the big fish had no way to retreat, it was reluctant to give up. However, as the line got shorter and shorter, it slowly approached the side of the boat.
“Quick, get ready to use the net,” said someone.
“Okay,” replied Liu Yufei, eager to try out the fishing net by leaning against the ship’s railing.
Yang Xiaolong dragged something along and suddenly lifted a large fish out of the water. Liu Yufei used the net in his hand to catch the fish.
“Wow, this fish is big, it weighs at least five or six pounds,” exclaimed Liu Yufei.
As they laughed and chatted, Zhang, the boss, came out of the cabin and saw the lively fish on the deck. He said, “Young man, not bad, you can even catch sea wolves.”
“So, this fish is called a sea wolf.”
“Yes, sea wolf is the local name for it. It’s also known as a barracuda. They usually like to live in groups. It looks like we won’t go home empty-handed today.”
“What’s the price?” Yang Xiaolong was most concerned about money. As for whether it was tasty or not, he didn’t care because he didn’t eat it anyway.
“For a fish like yours, it’s around 20 yuan per pound.”
His fish weighed at least five pounds, which amounted to 100 yuan. When combined with the sea bass, it was more than what he earned in a day at the coffee shop. It was not bad.
The time was up, and Zhang and his crew were ready to pull up the fishing net. Yang Xiaolong carefully put the fish into a bucket and used the oxygenator on the boat to provide oxygen. He followed them to help out because he didn’t want to freeload.
Zhang stood at the side of the boat, and Liu Yufei brought a large bamboo basket from somewhere.
They started pulling up the net. Zhang started the winch at the front of the boat, and the two rollers slowly began to turn, pulling up the net.
“Hey, we caught something,” Liu Yufei exclaimed loudly when he saw movement on the surface of the water.
The first catch was a small grouper, weighing only about one pound.
The two of them were responsible for pulling up the net, while Yang Xiaolong was responsible for removing the fish from the net and putting them into the live fish tank.
“Young man, put on some gloves first, don’t get pricked,” Zhang reminded him.
After more than ten minutes, half of the fishing net had been pulled up, but there were only a few small sea bass and black bream, and no big catch.
At first, Liu Yufei was quite excited because he had never been out to sea before. But after half a day, there was not much catch, and pulling up the net was not an easy task, which made him tired and lost his initial enthusiasm.