I caught an $11,000 fish.
Beaker, Capín Mat and I entered a dolphin tournament this past weekend. I pretty much drove home from the airport, passed out, then woke up, got on a boat, and passed out.
(Oh, thatís Dolphin as in dolphin-fish, also known as mahi-mahi. Donít freak out. I didnít kill Flipper. At least, not to my knowledge.)
I actually slept most of the relatively uneventful Saturday. From my spot in the cabin, I could hear the others catching some fish, but I was so tired, I only emerged to reel in 3 or 4. I couldnít help it. Thereís something so relaxing about lying on your stomach in that cabin, feeling the vibration of the boatís engine rumbling beneath you as the boat sways back and forth. Itís probably like being in the womb again.
But the next day, I was ready for action. And I got some action. Caught a whole mess of small-to-medium-sized fish until I noticed a reel screeching out while Beaker and the Capín were busy gaffing. I grabbed the reel, and thank goodness I got to it before Beaker, because it turned out to be a big honkiní fish.
There was some minor drama with a tangled reel and me completely forgetting how to CATCH a damn FISH about halfway through the process before the beautiful fishy was hauled onto the deck.
I just stared down at it for a second, unable to believe that Iíd reeled in something that big. It was gorgeous, slick mermaid green with blue speckles and all glisteny in the sunlight. It barely fit in the boatís freezer.
I took the liberty of chilling out for the rest of the day. I rode up with Beaker to the weigh-in station, and walked behind him as he carried my big fish up to the judges.
As we approached, we could see that a crowd had gathered, because it was only 20 minutes before the weigh-in deadline. Having never participated in a weigh-in tournament before, I was shocked at the reaction of the onlookers. Beaker was getting applause, gasps, squeals, and comments. Being your friendly neighborhood radio star, Iím used to attention, but NEVER expected this.
The previous top fish caught by a female was 21 pounds.
My fish weighed in at a hefty 32.8.
While I only came in 5th place for the whole tournament (Wait, ďonlyĒ? Hell, 700 anglers enteredÖ), I was also the top fish for the day of Sunday. That garnered Team Jamie another prize.
Beaker and I left to shower and change, since we both were covered in fish blood and slime, and Iím thinking didnít smell our best.
I tossed on sandals, a miniskirt, and my new Copacabana T-shirt.
We arrived at the banquet, and I donít think I stopped grinning the entire time. Excessive grinning makes it difficult to eat ribs, by the way. I heard someone announce my name, and went up to the front. Standing there with top winners in other categories, I was informed that in order to ďpreserve the integrity of the tournament,Ē I would need to take a lie detector test.
I fucking freaked out. Not because I had anything to worry or lie about, but because Iím just one of those guilty-conscious type people. Like, when the boss calls me into his office, even if Iím having a banner day, my first thought is ďYouíre fired.Ē
I kept it together, and followed the guy. One winner went in, while one other and I waited outside. I asked Beaker to get me a drink, make it a strong one, and keep Ďem coming. Other Winner and I were told that the process would take about five minutes per person.
A half hour later, the first guy was inside, and I had transformed into a quivering bag of nerves. Iím not kidding, you guys. Shaking over a polygraph test, when all I had to do was just answer some questions truthfully. It didnít help that during my waiting time, not one but TWO acquaintances walked by me and told me that they had to take polygraphs in the past for job interviews, but even though the told the truth, they failed. I became convinced that that is what would happen to me. But what the hell was up with the first guy? I told Mr. Second Place that he might get lucky and be moving up in the world, because it sure seemed like there was a problem.
Finally, Mr. Tournament Organizer Guy approached and sent Mr. Second Place inside the room to get grilled.
When Mr. Tournament Organizer Guy turned to me, apologized for my wait, thanked me for being so patient, and told me that I wouldnít have to take the test after all, because they were anxious to get started with the awards, I almost stuck my tongue down his throat. (Of course, I walked away thinking, ďOh, God. Was I TOO relieved? Was he not suspicious before, but now he thinks something is up? I better hide in the crowd.Ē)
The awards ceremony was just awesome. I am now the proud owner of two obnoxiously huge trophies, and two fat checks.
And Capín won a shitload of additional cash in the Calcutta, which is absolutely, positively NOT a technically illegal gambling gig thatís run on the side of about every single fishing tournament.
My boss happened to be the MC for the event, and you could tell that he was so excited to be able to announce my name. He even jumped the gun and skipped the second place winner, silly goose.
The best part was after, when Beaker and I decided to wait until the major crowd left before driving home. We sat together in a pool chair and just talked, a little drunk and very celebratory.
Went home and had champagne with Shawn after. She wants to build some sort of trophy display case. Of course she does. That girl loves to build.
I called a few friends, one of whom amused me greatly by replying, ďDamn. I wish I had a hobby that would make me money.Ē
And honestly? Itís three days later, and Iím STILL feeling a little celebratory.