Giving Chase and Raising a Flag

If you've never fished blue water, there's a routine you'll be a part of that could quickly become your habit.

You wake up to the black of night, try to shake out anything that is keeping you in bed, pour down a cup of whatever it is that wakes you and make your way to the marina.

It's still black out, the air's damp, chilly; you make your way to your captain's slip. You meet a guy who is jacked up with excitement and wonder how he does it this early in the morning. You try to put that excitement on; it doesn't fit. Your drink is still trying to work its magic. Not quite there, but you're starting to feel something.

All aboard. Captain eases away from the slip, out of the inlet, and into the open ocean. You're invited to take a nap, gonna be a pretty good run to get to the fish. But you can't sleep because Captain told you what you signed up for is only two hours away. Big fish. Dream fish – you know, the fish that up until now only swam in your head.

Captain has the boat on plane, he's heading east, fast, into a rising sun. Maybe it's the canyons today. Could be the Cigar or the Three Fingers, the 300 line, or even a secret spot. Everything starts to wake up. Pelicans glide by, inches off the ocean's surface. They're fishing, too. Captain points and mouths something over the roar of the engines – whales.

Lines down. Let the games begin. What's it gonna be? Only King Neptune knows for sure, but word on the radio is that Marlin were working the day before. Lots of boats came back flying the marlin flag, a signal among the sport fishing fleet that a Marlin was brought to the boat and released. Some boats came back flying several flags. The Yellowfin Tuna bite was good, too. They were like a blender, turning huge tracts of ocean into a carpet of shredded water and flying bait fish.

Your turn. You're hooked up. Hundreds of yards of line out, this fish is greyhounding and pinwheeling across the ocean's surface. Reeling. Straining. Who's going to say "Uncle" first? You or the fish? You keep reeling, arms and legs shaking from the force of the fight. You hang on to hear those words from the first mate, "I see color!" The dream is almost in the boat. The fish is out of your head and in the water beneath you.

Captain hoists a flag to signal your catch.

This is fishing in Virginia Beach, Va. Each day our captains welcome you to share in their habit. Each day they invite you to live the fishing life.

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