Zsszsss, the line started zinging off the reel.

“Oh shit,” Doc exclaimed, “another damn ray”

But the shaking of the rod tip told a different story.

“I’ll be damned, I think it’s a halibut!” Doc said aloud although there was no one else aboard his skiff East of Reason. 

Although it was a late night scientific collecting trip for bioluminescent squid, Doc always had a line in the water hoping to bring home some dinner.

As he painstakingly reeled in, Doc realized that he might have bitten off more than he could chew, cause this was a biggun.  After 10 minutes of reeling he saw that he had what looked like a manhole cover on his line.  He was barely able to hold the rod with his left hand as he struggled to get the gaff hook into its gill, but was finally able to bodily throw the 35 pound flat fish into the boat.

It was dawn as Doc pulled up to his Cannery Row lab, and he was more than a little annoyed to see the two hobos that had befriended him, Luke and Smiley, asleep in his doorway with newspaper blankets covering their ragged clothes.

“Why Doc, that’s a nice looking fish you got there,” said Luke as he yawned, “let me filet it for ya.”

“Luke, in your state, I wouldn’t trust you with a filet knife.”

“Hell Doc, I used to work the boats before I took up the “life”.  I’ve fileted bigger fish than that a lot drunker than I am now and Smiley’ll cook it for you.  He was a chef on the pier before he took up the hooch.”

“Well I’ll be,” said Doc sarcastically, “will wonders never cease.”

Before he could object though Luke had grabbed the fish out of his grasp and pulled a razor sharp knife off the dissecting bench and made one long cut along the fishes spine.  Then laying the blade along the ribs and using a slight sawing motion he cut off the cleanest filet that Doc had ever seen, leaving not a scrap of meat on the ribcage.  He then repeated the same act three more times, deftly cut the tender cheeks out and, to Doc’s amazement cut the skin off the filets like an artist.

“Voila” crooned Luke, “Hey chef, sober up, it’s time to cook this beauty!”

An hour later Doc, Luke and Smiley sat down to the damnedest breakfast he had ever seen:  Pan seared halibut in a red wine reduction sauce with herbes de provence and rosemary. 

To top it off, Smiley, playing the sommelier had added a white napkin over the left arm of his ragged hobo garments and a monocle in his right eye that he had “borrowed” from Doc’s dresser.

“Mesdames et messieurs, the perfect match for this delectable meal is the 2019 Complant Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir.  As you can see it has a sapphire color and an expressive nose of pomegranate, cranberry and hints of tarragon and pine resin.  It is fruit-sweet and lively on the palate with notes of red fruit, savory spice, and dried rose petals.  It has an extremely long finish with a lovely acid balance and a slight grip.  And Luke and I helped pick the grapes!”

“Well you know somethin’ boys,” said Doc as he raised his glass, “it doesn’t get much better than this.”