She said she did, during a quick conversation as I walked with her from the Katharine Cornell Theatre to the Café Moxie restaurant Saturday night. Linda was on her way to have dinner with friends following a talk and book signing sponsored by the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore.
For those of you not familiar with Linda, she first came to public attention as a subject in someone else's book, "The Perfect Storm," by Sebastian Junger, which detailed the events that led to the disappearance of the Andrea Gail and six crew members in a massive storm in October 1991.
At the time, Linda was the captain of the swordfishing boat the Hannah Boden, and had a reputation as one of the best fishermen in the offshore fleet. She and her crew weathered the storm that claimed their sister ship.
Her first book, "The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain's Journey" (Hyperion), was published in 1999 and recounted a monthlong swordfishing trip.
"The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island," an account of her life as a lobsterman on her home island of Isle Au Haut off the coast of Maine and the characters who live there, followed in 2002. Her latest book, which she was on the Vineyard to promote as part of a 60-city tour, is "All Fishermen Are Liars: True Tales from the Dry Dock Bar."
Arriving late, I was surprised to find more than 60 people of all ages in the Cornell theater listening to Linda talk about her books and the life of a commercial fisherman. I pondered the possibilities should I decide to write about all the liars I have known.
During a question and answer period, Linda provided her theory of seasickness. "I think a lot of it is mind over matter," she said, politely avoiding a description of the matter.
She said that green crew members, as in people new to the work, not their skin hue, often became seasick the first time out but quickly got over it once they settled down and started working.
Clearly comfortable working the room, she described how she first began working on fishing boats to earn money for college. "I really fell in love with harpooning," she said. "I knew when graduated I would continue fishing."
Her latest book refers to people she knows in her small community. She said that as the publishing date neared she was apprehensive about how her friends would react to seeing their names in print.
"I learned that people love to be mentioned in a book," she said, "it doesn't matter what you say about them."
I tucked that insight away for future reference.
Ending her remarks, Linda said that while it may sound cliched, she has been consumed by the ocean and all it represents.
"I am very proud to be recognized as an author," she told her fans, "but nothing makes me prouder than to say I am a fisherman."
At the end of the evening, people lined up holding books to be signed. Linda greeted each person warmly and thanked them for coming, without a trace of the practiced sincerity the best politicians have turned into an art form.
"I enjoyed your book so much," said a middle-aged woman.
Curious about the crowd and why they were there, I spoke with a few people. One woman, the wife of a genuine commercial fisherman whom I cannot identify because I do not want to tip anyone off about what will be in their Christmas stocking, held an armload of books.
"They are actually for three fishermen," she told me. Not a bad endorsement, I thought.
Nina Bell, 11, from New Jersey, standing in line with her grandfather, said she really liked the story.
Jo Hebert of Tisbury said she was intrigued by the story of a woman who had been the captain of her own commercial fishing boat.
Linda said the Vineyard was part of a 60-city, 60-day tour during which she would attend approximately 100 events. Commercial fishing sounds easier.
She said she had learned not to anticipate anything, including the size of the crowd. At one signing in Los Angeles for "The Hungry Ocean," she said, only two people showed up. One guy said he was in the store shopping and walked over because he felt bad for her. When she asked if he wanted her to sign a book, he said, "I don't feel that bad."
The Gone Fishin' photo album
Fishermen, who are often secretive regarding where they caught a big fish, demonstrate little hesitancy showing other fishermen their big catch.
At the beginning of the season I invited fishermen to send me photographs. I have received quite a few good shots.
I am partial to photographs of happy kids holding fish and Sharon Stone in waders. But most fishermen are just big kids, so I print those as well. This week's mailbag was a regular fishing bouillabaisse.
Last week I printed a photo of a young boy holding a fluke he caught in Edgartown harbor. Not to be outdone by a kid, Steve Sillari sent me the following e-mail:
"Hello, I thought you might like this pic for next week - I saw the fluke bigger than the 9-year-old today."
As if I would doubt the photo he added, "Yes, I caught it in the kayak."
Meanwhile, the Fraser boys continue to catch big fluke. Jim Fraser of Edgartown sent me a photo of his son, Douglas, 11, holding a 12.8-pound fluke, a potential junior division winner in the state's annual saltwater derby.
Fishing in Vineyard Sound, Douglas, the junior division winner in 2003, bumped a 12.13-pound fish to take over first place.
"He says he is honing his fluking skills to compete against 'the heavy hitters' in the prestigious VFW fluke derby next year and wants to wear the 'fluke crown' someday," said Jim.
The big boys were also busy on the beach during the annual Martha's Vineyard Surfcaster's Association Chappy shark tournament.
Win Crocker, Tom Kieras, and Ed Willoughby display the first-place brown shark caught by Tom Kieras. Tom, the 2003 Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby grand prize winner, knows this section of beach very well.
The fish, taken late Saturday night, was 73 inches long and had a 33-inch girth.
Quite a catch
The following story was provided without photo documentation but highlights the variety of fish we have available in Island waters.
Young Brian Bourn, visiting from Albuquerque, N.M., was fishing off Paul's Point when he caught fluke, scup, sea bass, and a large triggerfish, a species generally found in warmer waters
His proud mother called Coop's with the report.
Bonito begin to show
Bonito have started to appear in greater numbers. On Saturday morning I saw several small schools bust around the Oak Bluffs Steamship pier. Despite placing several casts near breaking fish, I never had a hook-up.
According to several fishermen, the bonito fishing improved this week. Fish have been showing up off State Beach, Edgartown harbor, and Hedge Fence.
The appearance of more bonito is good news. At the end of this month, Edgartown Marine Outfitters will sponsor the shop's annual "Bonito Blast."
The two-day tournament on Aug. 28 and 29 features a $500 grand prize and a great cookout. The entry fee is $30, a small price to pay for a chance to win great prizes and step up to the barbecue grill.
In the old days, telephones sat safely on a wall or desk. If you needed a telephone number you grabbed the phone book.
The electronic age has brought added convenience and risk. I was one of many recipients who received the following e-mail from charter captain Danny Gilkes.
"I just washed my cell phone in 15 feet of water. Please send me your phone number, home, work, cell so I can enter them back into my new phone. Thanks."
I hope Danny got one that is waterproof.
Commercial striped bass season closes
The commercial striped bass season ended Tuesday. The door shut only four and a half weeks after it opened on Sunday, July 11.
The closure was scheduled when the state's Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) estimated that the 2004 commercial quota of 1,141,517 fish would be reached. As a result, authorized fish dealers are legally able to sell striped bass only until Sunday.
Last summer, the season ended on Aug. 11. In 2003 the quota was 1,035,880 pounds.
Over the past several years DMF has tinkered with the commercial regulations in an effort to extend the commercial season and maintain a strong wholesale price. Judging by the results, DMF has not found a workable formula.
My own view is that hobby striped bass fishermen are helping to fill a quota that should be reserved for commercial fishermen, men and women who make their primary living from the sea. The other option is to restrict the daily catch limit, now 30 fish.
I would be interested in hearing what other fishermen, particularly commercial bass fishermen, have to say on the subject. You may contact me here.
Saltwater fly-fishing seminar
Experienced Island fly fishermen Sandra Demel and John Kollet will be teaching fly-fishing basics for beginners and intermediate-level fly fishermen on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 8:30 to noon at the Rod and Gun Club in Edgartown.
The cost is $100 ($85 for club members). Call 508-693-6338 to preregister or for more information.