Chapter Three: Captain Jack and Bait Shop Ed
You can walk to the marina by simply crossing the backyard of our vacation rental on Tilghman Island. We are occupying said rental courtesy of a fantastic boss back home. When we approach the marina, we come across Captain Jack. Captain Jack is very busy and doesn’t know that my son is special and will soon bombard him with questions, barely letting him answer that one before he blurts out the next question.
Right now my son is obsessed with fishing and expects to catch a shark this weekend. He recently won a trophy at camp for “Biggest Fish Caught” and now he believes that he is absolutely capabable of winning the Bass Masters tournament if it were held here today. I don’t know if there are bass in the Chesapeake but I DO know there are typically no sharks in these here waters.
So before we even get close enough to Captain Jack to start a conversation, my son has begun his line of questioning about lures and hooks and poles he might have for sale at the marina store. Somehow Captain Jack finds the moment in which he can get a word in edgewise. Now, the Captain knows we’re here as guests. But even so, here’s the stunner: he actually tells us we should NOT buy our fishing gear from him because he will, and I quote, “rob us blind and he does not want to do that.” He tells us that he does not mind robbing his regular WEALTHY customers blind, as they can afford it. Besides, he’s got guys renting jet ski equipment to tend to right now so we’re not really a priority (my inference from his body language and the brush off we’re getting).
He does not leave us hopeless, although we must appear so to him. He re-directs us up the street to the funky little island Bait Shop run by the colorful and grandfatherly guy named Ed. Ed’ll only charge us half what Captain Jack charges.
Alright then. We are not used to having someone turn down the chance to rob us blind, but we get the picture and begin to trundle off to the bait shop up the street. My son has more questions, but I am able to find his pause switch and put my arm around his shoulder to direct him toward the shop.
As his lovely parting gift to me, the Captain says “I can see you’ve got your hands full.” Man I hate when people state the obvious! EVERYONE tells me this! It’s their attempted polite way of saying they’re glad their kids didn’t fall off THAT turnip truck. What are people thinking with this back-handed empathy? Well, they’re not thinking of course, and the next sentence out of their mouths usually has something to do with my nomination for sainthood being in the mail. I hate that too but I’ll take it as a compliment and ignore the fact that sainthood is generally only bestowed upon people who are dead. So it could be a while before my paperwork clears.
The bait shop reminds me of something right out of a movie set. Quaint old guys in overalls hang out on the bench outside. The screen door gives out a long squeek as we go inside to find Ed. Ed is almost finished with another customer, but my son has already begun bombarding Ed with questions about bait and tackle and how to catch a shark. Sadly, we learn that we will not be catching any sharks. Just Stripers, which is a kind of Bass!
Ed realizes that we have been left behind in our schooling on how to get properly outfitted for even the simplest fishing excursion. He also realizes that I am a “saint” and clearly “have my hands full.”
Ed offers to string both the rods and set the tension on the reel and tie the hook and sinker onto the new line. I was a little offended that he thought I couldn’t take care of that by myself, but, frankly, it never occurred to me that there were so many steps involved in the whole fishing prep process.
Then Ed informs us that we need CLAM SNOUTS as bait.
Tune in next time for Chapter Four: You want clam snouts with that?