Stories for My Grandchildren

"Pop and The Biggest Fish"

My mother’s father, Herman Albert was the greatest and most passionate fisherman I ever knew. We would accompany him to the Point Pleasant, New Jersey inlet to spend most Saturday’s fishing for Black Fish. At least once a summer he would take us out on a Party Boat for a ˝ day trip. We always looked forward to these excursions, catching Fluke or whatever else was biting and eating our brown paper bag lunch which always consisted of a soggy bologna sandwich, a whole tomato and a plum. Ahhh!  A life at sea. We were among serious fishermen so we knew not to act as boys but as men! Fishermen!

Anyhow, this story was passed down to me from my mother about how her father, Pop had almost got beaten up during one of these trips.

On every Party Boat I was ever on it was customary to “join the pool.” This meant that whoever wanted to join would put in a dollar and whoever caught the biggest or heaviest Fluke would win all the money in the pool. Sometimes a person could win $20, $30, or $40.

Well, Pop caught his share of Fluke that day and he took his biggest fish up to be measured and weighed for the pool. When they weighed Pop’s fish, sure enough he had the heaviest fish and won quite a sum of money. One fellow couldn’t figure out how Pop’s fish weighed more than his because his looked quite a bit larger. One of the men picked up Pop’s fish and started feeling it and found it had some hard lumps down around its stomach. They cut the fish open and found out that many 3 or 4 ounce lead fishing weights had been stuffed down the Flukes mouth.

I wonder to this day if he had to swim back to shore.


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