Sunday, 12 October 2014

Catfishing by moonlight... or...adventures in maritime veterinary surgery

The ship's cat - Kipling, like most cats, likes fish.

It may be my imagination, but I think that the lack of feline shipboard entertainment introduces a degree of boredom that somehow makes the prospect of illicit fish even more appealing to Kipling.

So we have found out by experience that no fish is safe on board when we're not looking unless it is seriously out of reach.

Our collapsible crab pot, for which we use fish heads as bait, had already been chewed through once so I had taken to tying it up high on the aluminium post which supports the radar and various other antennae on the stern.

This post also serves as a useful spot for storing our fishing rod and for keeping its array of large stainless steel hooks out of Beatrice (our three year old) range.

Those of a squeamish disposition should probably look away now, as while I'd like to be able to say that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog, this wouldn't be strictly truthful.

We were awoken in the night by curious clattering from the stern. Non-Beatrice related noise is usually my area of duty at night, so I climbed out to find a curious black shape lurching around by the radar post.

Curiously, Kipling wasn't crying out much. Perhaps he was still thinking that he might just get away without a beating but I'm not sure I could have kept that quiet if I was suspended 8ft in the air by just a fish hook through my arm. He was trying desperately and failing, to regain some kind of hold on the post which he had clearly climbed in pursuit of the fish head. I lifted him up to take the weight of the hook but it was a bit tricky to then release the rod and hooks, which he'd managed to comprehensively tangle up while thrashing around.

Lucia arrived at this point and promptly had to sit down before fainting, after which we lowered him down to start the process of extraction. The barb had gone right through but was fortunately only through a large fold of loose skin.

Apart from a slightly sheepish manner this morning, he seems none the worse. We are one fishing hook short, but at least he didn't manage to eat the fish head bait, so there's still a chance of crabs tomorrow.