As the morning slipped by, the rolling decks became a slippery shambles of tackle boxes, thermos jugs, bulging fish bags, blood, slime and bait bowls. Despite the close quarters there were few squabbles over crossed lines. Whenever there was a tangle, everyone pitched in to straighten it out with as few words as possible so they could get back to their rods. The only discussions arose when ling were swapped for whiting or when somebody hauled in a cod large enough perhaps to win the day's $1 pool for the biggest fish caught. "I got three cod, four whiting and a couple of ling," cried a small, round cab driver, chomping excitedly on a dead cigar. "I'm really getting a bagful today."
"Keep goin'," called somebody farther down the rail. "Maybe you'll catch a moimaid!"
Toward noon some of the men left their places long enough to go below to the Effort's restaurant, where a stout, pink-faced chef ministered to a dozen coffeepots and dispensed huge ham sandwiches and bottled beer. Others merely dug a sandwich out of a back pocket and held it in one hand while they tended their line with the other. A few quit fishing altogether and found a sunny spot out of the wind where they could lounge with a bottle of beer and gaze reflectively at the rolling billows and an occasional freighter plowing across the horizon.
Captain Wrege leaned out of the pilothouse window and watched them. "There's a lot of good fishermen in the city," he observed. "Some of 'em are out here every weekend. Others, like some of the big surgeons and judges, just grab a morning whenever they can. During the winter we get the tough nuts who don't give a damn for anything but fishing. When it's warmer we get everybody. We get women, children, or a whole crowd of girls from some office who are just out for a good time. Most of 'em don't know how to fish and never will. We get guys that are crankier about their tackle than a millionaire after salmon. And we get guys that don't even fish—they just come out to look at the ocean and read the newspaper. They get a very peculiar expression on their faces. You can just see 'em saying, 'No wife, no kids, nobody from the office, no telephone. They can't get me out here. At least today I'm in peace.' The only time they don't come out is when there's a big snowstorm."
"Can't see to fish?" the reporter queried.
"Hell, no," bellowed Wrege. "That wouldn't stop 'em. The streets and roads ain't plowed and they can't get here."