THE PRIZE WINNING STORY. “THE CONVERT.”
SHANE was Irish, and, like so many of his race an experienced trout and salmon fisher. He was no coward, but on this, his first day at tunny fishing, he was conscious of another deeper and more disturbing emotion than the mere excitement and tense anticipation with which he awaited his first attempt at the new sport—it was a queer foreboding, something he could not name. This feeling was so strong that shortly before the scheduled time of departure, he called over the skipper of the cabincruiser, which was to take them to the fishing ground, and, without giving any explanation for his strange request, ordered him to send a couple of his men back to fetch his little out-board Johnson motor which he kept permanently in his boat-house. The skipper made it clear that he not only considered this a waste of valuable time, but also a slight on the ability of those of his men who were to row the dinghy when they reached the fishingground. However, he who pays calls the tune, so he was powerless to do anything but obey Shane, but the men were dispatched on their errand by a very disgruntled, and obviously displeased, skipper. The men soon returned carrying the Johnson outboard, and the moment Shane saw the shining little motor he was unaccountably reassured ; the skipper, on his part, muttered something about “new fangled . . . .” and
. . . . perhaps all right for salmon fishing on a small loch” but passed the opinion that he ” . . . . preferred a good pair of oars himself.”
The cruiser glided away from the pier leaving Scarborough shrouded in darkness for it was not yet 3 a.m. It soon reached the fishingground where they were met by several trawlers, all of whom had seen ‘Tunny.’ Shane descended into the little rowing boat taking his Johnson engine with him and the skipper himself elected to spend the first few hours to “keep an eye” on him.
Shane threw out several herring to attract the fish, and then a few minutes later when he saw several dark forms glide by, he threw out his baited hook which was almost immediately taken with a swirling rush, as is so often the luck of beginners. The fish set off at a furious pace towing the little boat after it, and Shane strapped to his seat and his rod fastened to him by “harness “was almost powerless to move, and though he would never have admitted it, not a little afraid. Five hours of ceaseless battle ensued before the fish began to show
signs of exhaustion and the skipper was able to stand by ready to gaff the quarry. The strain on both him and Shane had been considerable and they were in an exhausted condition by the time they had made the fish fast to the stern of the boat. It was only then that they noticed the sea mist which had come up so suddenly—as they are apt to do in that locality—and which completely blotted out everything. Though they were aware that they had been towed several miles, neither of them had, in the excitement of the moment, noted in which direction.
Smiling inwardly, Shane, with the aid of the skipper, fitted the Johnson outboard on to the tail-board and in a few moments had the engine smoothly limning. The skipper told Shane to steer a course into the wind as he had noticed it had been blowing steadily off-shore when they left. Sure enough, in less than two hours they picked up the cruiser again both so exhausted that they could hardly climb out. However, the skipper had enough strength to apologize to Shane for his surly manner earlier in the day and to express the fervent vow that he would never venture out again after tunny fish without a JOHNSON Outboard Motor.
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