Last week I received a e-mail from Pedro De Pacas, a guy who runs a charter-boat operation down off the coast of Brazil. He told me a chilling account of an encounter he had with the rare and terrifying Psychofish while taking out a group of off-duty cops to land some tarpon. He sounded pretty shook up about the whole deal, apparently it was a hell of a day. Here’s Pedro’s account:
Olá Senhor McFinn,
I am writing to you in regards to your great knowledge of the creatures of the sea. You see, I had a remarkable thing happen on my Charter-Boat the other day. Perhaps you can help me.
We were off the coast of Salinópolis with about 8 police officers ready for a break from a rough week dealing with some gang activity in the slums. It was a beautiful day, a day my ancestors would call “Bueanafunaticalita” or “Mar belo e bom de pesca”, blue skies and calm seas. We were outfitted for tarpon and reports had stated large schools in the area so, we were ready for some great fishing and we were not disappointed. The tarpon began hitting almost as soon as we dropped our lines in.
Now, these policemen were real cara durão or what you Americans call “tough guys” and they were pulling the fish in with relish while smoking charutos gordos and drinking cold cervejas . Many of the guys would smack the huge fish in the face as they pulled them out of the beautiful blue water and exclaiming “Quem está difícil agora?” which roughly translates to “who’s tough now??”. I guess they were taking their frustrations out on the tarpon and letting off some steam or “desabafar”. It was pretty funny but also a little unsettling as they were getting more and more aggressive.
Around 11 am things got hairy and the “merda bater no ventilador”. As one of the cops was pulling in a beautiful tarpon, the water suddenly exploded with whitewater, blood and chunks of tarpon flying all over the place. There was a flash of bright color and the guys line snapped. Just then, another guy’s line went stiff as he landed a tarpon and the same thing happened. Like an explosion in the water and the fish was gone. Needless to say we were all on that side of the boat now trying to get a look at what was happening, you could see a streak of color now and then just under the water and catch glimpses of chaos below. Some “monstro marinho” was tearing into the schools of tarpon below and bubbles and blood were rising from the depths as its jaws ripped through the fish. Again it flashed near the surface and the boat erupted in gunfire! The cops all had their handguns out and were firing like mad, screaming “Tome isso, bastardo!” and “Maldito seja! Demônio da sea!” It was nuts! Bullets flew past my head and the water was transformed into a fine mist. Then, just as quickly as it had begun, it ended. The officers erupted in laughter and there, on the surface of the water lay the Demon Fish. Remarkably, one of the shots had nailed it right between the eyes and it was “Mortinho da silva” or Dead as a Doornail. I fished it in and took this photo. Please Mr. McFinn, if you can help to identify this as an actual Spiny, Speckled Psychofish I would be greatly honored.