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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri • Page 70

St. Louis, Missouri
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FISHERMEN Were ALMUbl LANUKtO When the I BY the FISH Adventure gy Anglers JWSm of the Po With a m7 a '---WN TK. Pound Off KoAn ii holding a baby devil fish to which the cleaV Don't you ever catch them blggerVhan this?" she asked, turning to KahriV 'Ojlr-'ye. sometimes," replied the captain, thirNdng to himself probably that, that wasjat the kind of remark you mliiht expecrrom a woman. Mrs. Brownold returned to her cushions and the two men, nwning slightly, returned to their Suddenly, for no apparent reason, there was a thump on theNiottom of the boat, and it rose, a few fet In the air as if lifted by a wave.

No one paid any attention to the Incident, Kahn assuming it was due -to a of ground swell, although there wa no wind and the water was smooth and calm. The fish in the meantime had stopped biting. Then there Pentacola 11. came a second thump on the bottom of the boat, and again the boat was lifted in the air. "What was that?" asked Mrs.

Brownold. "It's nothing," Kahn assured her. "Probably some sharks playing around. That's why they're not bitting any more." "Sharks?" echoed Mrs. Brownold.

"Don't worry," said the captain. "They re not dangerous. They're Just frisking around. They're not the man-eating kind, anyway. The only trouble is they spoil the fishing.

"I'll tell you what we'll do." continued Kahn, pulling In his line. "We'll move away from here and go after some blue fish." Then as a con- -4-: --rrrrrnr 5000 Monster liteness with which his fellow anglers were wont to listen to him has given way to a kind of awed admiration. once, Kahn caroe back to port not wiffi a convincing story of a brilliant failure, but with an unbelievable story that was true, a monstrous, impossible Munchausen yarn of a five-thousand pound fish that was caught on an anchor on an anchor, remember and with the fish Itself to prove it! It was early on a Saturday morning that Kahn and his Miss Pensacola II left the home dock and started out for a day of quiet fishing. Beside the captain, there was Milton Fleming, skipper of the boat, on board, and a couple of Kabn's friends, Mr. and Mrs.

Melvin Brownold. Mr. Brownold had never been much addicted to fishing. and It had required a little persuasion to get him to leave the comforts of his cottage for a day on the water. "The few times I went fishing, I never caught anything." said the reluctant Mr.

Brownold, explaining his indifference. don't let that worry you," Kahn assured him. "We'll get something, I'll guarantee you!" So Mr. Brownold consented to go fishing, and in turn persuaded Mtb. Brownold to go along.

Just for the ride. "It'll do you good to relax in the fresh air," Mr. Brownold aesured her. They made their way through the inlet into the open sea, to a favorite fishing spot, about seven miles off Point Pleasant. The boat was stopped, the anchor was dropped from the bow, and the baited hooks were cast overboard.

Ti (HEY weren't there more than fifteen minutes before Capt. Kahn hooked a sea-bass. A min ute later Mr. Brownold brought up a gleaming porgy. The fish contlnuad to bite avidly, and Mr, Brownold was frankly delighted.

"This Is something like It!" he exclaimed. They flthed until close to noon, and had boated about thirty, when Mr. Brownold called to his wife, who was comfortably relaxing among the cushions in the cock-pit. "Look, dear," he said, "the basket Is almost full already." Mr. Brownold had caught fully half the fish, and being comparatively new to the sport, was pardonably enthusiastic.

Mrs. Brownold arose from her comfortable position and looked into the basket. Although the fish were numerous, they weren't very large, most of them averaging around a pound, and with a woman's Instinct for such matters, she made a very renslble observation. "That's wonderful," she remarxed. "But wouldn't it be better if you caught one big one instead of so many little fellows? A big one is easier to The giant dtv'xl 'u I ARTHUR STRAWN of thm Pott-Ditpateh Sunday Magamin Staff BRIELLE.

New Jersey. HEN a fish gets caught on a hook. It Isn't news. But when the hook happens to be the anchor of a boat and the fish weighs between five and six thousand pounds, then you have not only news but, what is rarer still, an unusual fish story that's true, and with the fish itself at hand by way of proof. It was Captain Al Kahn.

fishing off the New Jersey coast with a party of friends on board his cabin cruiser, who had the unique experience of an epic battle with a monster of the deep that had hooked itself on his anchor line. The result was a harrowing three-hour struggle to decide whether the fishing party was capturing the fish, or the fish was gapturing the boat and its four occupants. But before the battle could be decided solely on its merits, a Coast Guard cutter came to the rescue of the distressed fishermen, and by pumping twenty bullets into the giant devilfish put an end to one of the most exciting and hair-raising adventures that ever an angler experienced. Al Kahn is a wealthy manufacturer In his eaily sixties, with a home in New York, a cottage at Brlelle, New Jersey, and a weakness for fishing. That is, Kahn was willing to regard it colely as a weakness until his recent experience with the devil fish.

Since then he's willing to admit that it occasionally borders on downright recklessness. ISHING." says Kahn, who has some of the philosophic temperament characteristic of fol lowers of Izaak Walton, "is a lot of fun when you catch the fish. And sometimes it's fun even when you dou't. But when the fish catches you!" And with an eloquent "Phew!" and a shrug of the shoulders Kahn thook his head as if the rest of the statement would be superfluous. In order to indulge what Is ordinarily a harmless pastime, Kahn maintains a small bat powerful cabin cruiser, Miss Pensacola II, which he named after the city of his birth, and ownership of which In turn automatically bestows on him his title of captain.

The home port of the boat is In Manasquan Inlet, near Point Pleasant, and it is from here that Kahn has for years been in the habit of setting forth to bag his quarry of porgie and blue fish, returning not Infrequently with heart-rending and not entirely Implausible stories of the "big one" that got away. But since Brielle, New Jersey, is a gathering place for fishermen, a kind of story-tellers' paradise, so to speak, Kahn's occasional accounts of the big ones that Invariably eluded capture caused no unusual comment. For one thing, his big ones were no bigger than the whoppers that escaped from the other members of the fishing club. Besides, there is a kind of noblesse oblige among fishermen that restrains them from raising eyebrows at the telling of a fish story. After all, it will be the listener's turn to tell a story the next day.

Now prior to his great adventure, Kahn was an amiable, though undistinguished member of this fraternity, whose motto. Instead of "Live and Let Live," was "Listen, and Ye Shall Be Listened To." But his great adventure, which fell upon him, as most great adventures do, unexpectedly and, goodness knows, without hie own seeking, has changed all that. The critical po- Vage Ttvo A Soicial Corrttoondant 111 giant gave poithumoui birth cession to Mrs. Brownold. he added, "They run bigger than the porgies, anyway." Fleming, the skipper, began to heave up the anchor.

Hut the anchor seemed to be stuck to the bottom. Fleming heaved and heaved, but it wouldn't budge. Captain Kahn and Mr. Brownold joined him, but their combined effortB were futile, and thinking that the anchor might have caught on some wreckage, Kahn start-ed his engine and put it In reverse, for the anchor was hanging from the The boat moved very slowly, as though the anchor was dragging some- hing on the bottom. Again the three men began to tug on nie rope, and slowly the anchor and its burden came toward the surface.

And as the four people looked into the water they saw, self-entangled in the anchor rope and the anchor, a huge, grey-green monster of the deep, in shape like no fish any of them had ever seen, and of apparently limitless size, twisting and struggling to free itself and goaded by the pressure of the taut rope Into a mass that made the water churn and boil and in a few sec onds drenched the boat with spray. A Jerk by the fish, and the men let go the rope, which was still attached' to the boat, and the devil fish then began a tug of war with the engine of the boat, rocking the vessel from eide to side and threatening any second to capsize it. Mrs. Brownold had again related among the cushions, but this time it The fire abbaratut on left was purchased wi money raited by htbiting giant mm j1 DUpatch December 10, no objection. Their 11 ot iiJ 1 it Clrlnrvnfi ing, apparently something of a fatalist, nodded In agreement.

"It's yo.r boat, Cap'n," he said cryptically, hi? thought probably being thai if tl captain wanted to lose his cr.ii-r was all right with him. The boat, under full power. 1 for Bhore, but the progress was fish, though making no disturr ance, was a reluctant and bulky appendage, so that it two hours for the boat to rr.akf miles. One more mile, ami virforyVl would be Captain Kahn's Thn fish parently came to the same realization Furthermore, the two hour ride have been very refreshing, for as tt. boat got within a mile of shorf, th devil fish decided that the whole was preposterous and even disgraceful, and made another heroic eff be free.

GAIN the hurricane struck, and caught completely unaware. tvt captain and his crew were unprepared. They clung to what could as the boat was Jerked and about, the propeller sudden'y roari: as the stern was lifted int" the air, the boat shipping gallons of waur and every minute threatening to capsize and go under. It is difficult to say how long thi? second battle lasted. Kahn esthiia' about 45 minutes, but admits that t.i-estimator watn't functioning u.Mer normal conditions.

Mrs. saya it lasted ages. But unhappily for the devil fish. voasi uuara cutter Z30 'a rened into the vicinity, about for rum runners. Its served Miss Pensacola II about on the water ana like a rum runner, as if she least full of mm.

The cuttt proached to investigate and. things, saw that the fish had the boat. Twenty bullets from a rifle, and the situation reversed. The monster was finally brm. ashore, where it was found to between five and six thousand pf 1 and was twenty feet and five width.

It was officially identic as a Great Manta. more popula: known as a giant devil fish. It i largest of its kind ever known to been captured, and usually live. tropical waters, this one apparen' having wandered north with the (Concluded on rage 7 11 i was with merited fear. The three men clung desperately to the metal railing to keep from being flung overboard as the boat was being Jerked about in the water and rocking violently.

"Cut the rope!" Mr. Brownold shouted, and though the suggestion had its merits, the problem was to decide who would relax his grip in order to fetch the knife and carry out the suggestion, an impossible procedure because relaxing one's grip was equivalent to being thrown immediately into the water. For close to 30 minutes this mad business continued, while the great fish was apparently trying to decide what to do with the boatload of people it had captured. The fish, however, was working under a severe handicap, uncomfortably tangled up with the rope and anchor, not to mention the fact that pulling a heavy boat around in the water is a difficult job even without handicaps. There was a sudden cessation of activity.

The fish had apparently exhausted itself. The boat achieved a state of comparative motlonlessness, and Skipper Fleming took up a knife and hastened to part the anchor rope. But by this time Kahn had become filled with a strange, almost mad ambition. To cut the rope would mean to lose the anchor, which was new, lot inexpensive and hence worthy of stone consideration. But what was mors important, to lose the anchor underuch circumstances meant aJso to lose he fish.

And it was Kahn'e suddenly, feut Jieymieless passionate ly concelveAvambltln, that this fish should -not bVthjbigone that got away. c. Quickly Caj)tain Kahn announced his plan and flew Tnto acti3n. He quickly released the now relaxed anchor rope from the forward cl and fastened it to the ste putting his engine at tua speed ahead and.pointlng for shore, now some five miles away. "You see," he explained, "the fish is exhausted now, so it can't make any more trouble." The Brownolds al though skeptical, raised si 1933.

i i WMy i w' iXjf Sunday Magazine St. Louis Poat.

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