Fishing aboard Nine of Cups is not so much for sport as it is a method of provisioning. This wasn't always true. When we first started cruising, I would troll with a rod and reel, and when we got a fish on the line, we'd douse the sails and I would fight the fish until either he managed to get free or I landed him. This was never an Old Man and the Sea type epic battle, but sometimes it might take an hour or so to be resolved.
Now we fish more like a single-hook long-liner. I troll with a lure attached to some seriously heavy tackle, and if we hook something, we tow it until it tires, then we crank it in with a winch. If it breaks the line, it is much more fish than we want to try to bring aboard. We catch enough fish that when Marcie is provisioning for a passage, she assumes 40-50% of our protein will be fish.
Since fishing is such a big part of our lives, I have a fair assortment of fishing tackle which was collected over the years. I used to buy expensive lures, but now I find that weighted champagne corks with feathers and tinsel are just as effective and a lot less painful to lose.
Before metal hooks were available, people throughout the world carved hooks from bone or shell. They were bright and sparkly and probably worked as both a lure and a hook. When we were in southern Chile, we were wandering around a small fishing village and came across a local artist who specialized in bone carvings, some of which were stylized fish hooks. They were absolutely beautiful, and after negotiating a fair price, I bought one … as a present for Marcie.
Since then, we have discovered artists in almost all the island cultures throughout the South Pacific who have used the look of the traditional fish hooks of their culture to create works of art. Each culture seems to have its own style. I have collected hooks from Easter Island, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga, and New Zealand. They are made from bone, shell, wood and even greenstone (jade), and each is unique and a thing of beauty.
Since the beauty of the hooks is their artistry and material, I spent some time mounting them into a shadow box display which hangs in the salon. And since I can now call it artwork, Marcie has less trouble accepting the fact that I've accumulated more fishing tackle.
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