A dorado hit, and my reel ratcheted shrilly as the line went 80 yards away. The fish was in the air, and then it was gone, the hook thrown as quickly as that.
"Fifteen pounds," I said. "At least. You want to change to a fly?"
Hilde looked determined. "No," she said.
Ten minutes later, on the way back to Escondido, farther out in deeper water, Hilde hooked her fish. I cut the motor, and the only sound was the line hissing from the clickless saltwater reel as this dorado did everything that Cannon had mentioned, and more. It ran at least 150 yards from the strike, then sped at a long angle away from the boat toward shore, its tail showing. The monofilament leader, a surprisingly long way ahead of that tail, cut through the blue water.
I turned to look at Hilde. She had gone pale. "My god, it's strong!" she said. "I can't stop it! It won't stop!"
"Let it go!"
I saw the fish jump and silently prayed that the hook would hold. He cleared the surface by at least eight feet, and when he crashed back down and ran again. Hilde's fly rod remained bowed. He was well hooked. "You've got him!" I shouted.
Still, there were moments when it looked as though he'd got away. With well over 100 yards of line out, the dorado ran straight back at the boat twice, and the rod went dead for a minute or more.
"He's gone," Hilde said each time. "I think he's off!"