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Free the Fish!

Here's another story by my mom's sister, Terry Annunziata.

Thanks Aunt Terry.

Keep the stories coming!

"Carol loved going on fishing boats.

She didn't like to fish. She just liked being on the boat out in the open water.

She loved to just stare out into the horizon and feel the splash of the salt water.

​Which is funny because one time, her son Michael wanted to take her on a sunset cruise around Greenport Harbor, but didn't because she said it sounded "boring" and like something "old people do".

...go figure.

No, for whatever reason Carol liked the blue coller hustle of the fishing boats.

And the one she liked in particular, was Capt. Dan's Fishing Charter out of

Captree State Park in Babylon, New York.

Probably because she had a crush on Capt. Dan.

...and Capt. Dan's son.

.....and his other son.

Anyway, I know her and Michael went on Capt. Dan's boat more then a few times over the years and everytime I would hear the story about how she loved the boat but hated whenever people actually caught anything.

She always felt bad for the fish.

On more then one occasion she would plead with the other fishermen not to catch anything. "Don't use any bait. Just drop your line in the water. It's the same thing as fishing", she would say as convincingly as possible.

Anyway, one summer morning I drove out from West Haverstraw, picked Carol

and we went out on Capt. Dans's boat.

And as usual, Carol had no intention of fishing.

Which was good, because truthfully, neither did I.

Usually on charters like this, after the boat leaves the dock, the crew walks around setting up the fishing poles for everyone and then comes around a second time with buckets of bait. And usually the bait is either cut up squid meat or dead feeder fish.

But not this time.

No, this time, when they came around, they left two big buckets of live Killifish or "Killies".

The idea being that you reach into the bucket, scoop one up, impale it on your hook and drop it in the water. Wounded, but still alive.

Carol was horrified.

There was no way she was going to take part in something so "barbaric and cruel".

Those bait fish might be small, but they deserve to live!

So when the boat came to a stop and dropped anchor at the first fish site, Carol looked over at me and said "Follow my lead". And on the count of 1...2...3...we picked up both buckets and dumped the Killies back into the water all while singing "Born Free" .

Needless to say, a small amount of chaos ensued.

Born free,

Hundreds of frightened Killifish swam in every direction

As free as the wind blows

As free as the grass grows

Born free to follow your heart

The larger fish in the water swam after the Killifish

Live free and beauty surrounds you

The world still astounds you

Each time you look at a star

The crew got upset about the wasted bait

Stay free where no walls divide you

You're free as the roaring tide

So there's no need to hide.

Lines got tangles. People started cursing. Little babies started crying.

Born free and life is worth living

But only worth living

'Cause you're born free

And we ran and hid in the cabin for the remainder of the trip.

I miss my sister every minute of every day.

Love you Carol

Terry Annunziata

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