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"I thought tuna ate herring," I said.
"They do," Paul said, "but they eat squid, too, and it trolls a lot better."
Paul took the squid and threaded it about halfway up the wire leader, then took his needle and sewed the squid onto the wire. He kept sewing until he had 11 squid stacked on the leader. Then he reached in the basket and pulled out a box about the size of a Modern Library Giant, opened it and took out a hook.
It was dull silver, as thick as a drawing pencil and tapered a little along the shank until that lovely curve started. Then it tapered even more and the curve got tighter, as it approached a barb as vicious as any I'd ever seen, but probably six times as large. Finally there was the point. I reached over and just touched it. If a point could slice a human hair, that one would.
Paul took out two squid this time and cut the head, if that's what you call it, off one of them. He put the body of one squid over the shank of the hook and the other whole squid over the curve and the point, and sewed them together. When he was done, the bait concealing the hook looked like one squid, only a little bigger than the other 11. You couldn't see any part of the hook at all.
He fixed two more rigs just like that one. The whole afterdeck of the Sarah was filled with coils of wire with squid skewered on them, and on the end of each one, in a neat package of squid, was a hook as big as the ones they use to move bales of cargo on a dock.
I hadn't been paying any attention to where we were, so I stood up to take a look around: there wasn't land anywhere, only the blue ocean moving in the sun. I couldn't see Paul's father from where I was. He was handling the boat from the flying bridge, but I could see Matello up on the aluminum mast, sitting cross-legged on a square platform, looking out at the ocean.
Paul had three rods in their rod holders, one on the starboard, one on the port and one set into the gimbaled holder of the chair. He was attaching the rigged leaders to the three lines as Mrs. Cunningham came out of the main cabin.
"Would you like something to eat, Mr. Packard?" she said.
She was still in her pink silk lounging suit, only now she had the scarf over her hair like a bandanna. I felt sorry for her having to run around with a bunch of fishermen, but I was hungry and I said yes. She brought me a big plate of ham and cheese sandwiches on thin rye bread, a cold bottle of beer and some pickles. I sat with the plate in my lap and ate. I offered some to Mrs. Cunningham but she said no, she still had her cup of tea. And she was still holding it like it was Parents' Day at Andover, only now we were doing 20 knots through the beginnings of a cross sea. I munched away while Mrs. Cunningham sat there and looked out over the stern. She had one leg crossed over the other and was swinging her foot a little and I thought that those pink satin slippers looked funny there on the stern of a fishing machine with piles of squid and wire on the deck and lines looping down from the three rods in their holders.