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"We never guess," he said.
I didn't find out how much the tuna weighed until we came into Province-town Harbor and moored at the dock on which a big, square scale sat like a piece of the George Washington Bridge. But on the way back, the Sarah running smooth on the black water and the lights on in the main cabin, sitting on the rail drinking beer with Paul, I did find out what my end of the proposition was, why Paul wanted to take me tuna fishing. It was because of his mother.
"She's after the world's record bluefin for women," he said.
"What is the world's record?" I said.
"Anna Cardinale's 1,000-pounder, 10 feet four inches long and seven feet around."
And that's what it was about. Mrs. Sarah Cunningham, with her husband Don, her son Paul, and Matello, and the Sarah and the 12/0 Fin-Nor reels and the 850 yards of 130-pound-test line, was after the world's record bluefin tuna for women, and that's why the three of them went fishing every day.
The Sarah turned left around the curved end of Cape Cod, picked up the range lights and headed for the inner harbor of Provincetown. She went straight down the line of buoys and past the moored sailboats. MacMillan Wharf went by to starboard and in the bright lights you could see the sport-fishing dock where the scales were. Mr. Cunningham brought the Sarah in and we moored her. The fishermen waiting there came aboard and helped get the fish onto the dock and onto the scale.
They hooked it to a block and tackle in the middle of the scale and hoisted it until it hung under the steel crossbeam. Mrs. Cunningham was standing next to me in the stern.
"Eight hundred and fifty-six pounds," somebody called out.
"Damn!" somebody said, and Mrs. Cunningham turned and went back down into the cabin of the Sarah.