I remember reading somewhere that human beings are more likely to return to something over and over if the outcome is uncertain. We quickly lose interest in the sure thing, perhaps because it’s a sure thing. I don’t remember where I read that, but I believe the point was that we are psychologically hard-wired to enjoy activities of chance, which goes a long way toward explaining why gambling is so popular.

I have never enjoyed casinos, cards, slots, sports betting, et cetera, but I think that I can see how gambling could be addictive, even and unfortunately to a pathological degree. Trolling for big fish is usually boring. Makani and I spent a recent afternoon cruising around a seamount and chasing seabirds. We did not even have a hint of a fish, but the sunset was lovely.

I went out again with Ed this past weekend to fish for ono, more commonly known as wahoo. Regardless of the target, all trolling is essentially the same. There is definitely an element of knowledge, where and when to go, how fast to drive, what lures to use, but once the lines are set, it’s basically just a boat ride. The engine growls and vibrates, the hull slides and bumps along. The weather, no matter if it’s wind, rain or bright sun, becomes more intensely noticeable from the lack of activity.


…. and then PANDEMONIUM!

Suddenly there are half a dozen tasks to be done, immediately. The deck must be cleared, lines and lures retrieved, gaffs, nets and gloves prepared, somebody must fight the fish, and another somebody still needs to drive the boat.

Ed and I did not catch an ono, and my rational mind knows that many hours were spent, on that day and other days, just motoring around offshore with nothing to show for the effort. But my memory is consumed by that surprise ulua, exploding out of the depths to maul our lure. That is the unshakable image that sits fresh and strong in my mind. So when the next phone call comes, “let’s go trolling”, I can’t help but say yes and think, “maybe this time.”

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