fish2Inshore Pollock

by Paul David Callahan

Even though the deck was wet, the fiberglass had some kind of grit frozen into the resin so you wouldn’t slip. The deck was always wet on account of the hose gushing seawater all the time so we could clean up. Kelso liked a clean boat. And there we were in December gillnetting these great big pollock that had pushed inshore, and every one of those fish was three feet long and about 25 lbs apiece, so when we got to shacking them, they made for a lot of blood. Sheets of blood, bright as paint they was, sliding back and forth as she rolled, sheets of blood floating on a layer of seawater, then breaking up and sliding out through the scuppers and overboard. The pollock was all alive as they came over the roller, thrashing and tangled in a glistening ball of that good monofilament. I cut em quickly, slicing that little bit of throat between the gills and white belly, more often than not the blade going straight through their hearts, blood arcing and painting the cutting table. And it was a pleasure to have such beautiful fruits as those big fish, and to have some money coming in just before the Christmas holiday when it can be so hard to make anything at all.


Raised in Massachusetts, Paul David Callahan is a graduate of: Hampshire College, the school of hard knocks, and winter in the Gulf of Maine.
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