Fifty yards later, when he finally takes a breather, I start trying to crank him in. But I discover I'm going to need more than my arms for this fight. Jamming the rod butt into my belly just below the belt hurts, but it's the only way to put my back into the fish. The cat makes slow, heavy runs to one side, then the other, feeling out his opponent. He's more annoyed than alarmed, as if he hasn't even tapped into his true power yet. "Just stay connected," Harris tells me. "Don't try to horse him. He'll come." At last the fish does start to come up. But then he spots the boat and does not like what he sees. Annoyance turns to fury. He makes a frantic run, surging, taking line for the first time in minutes. When he finally comes to the surface, there's an explosion, and cold water stings my face. This is not a moderate fish. This is a fanatic, one who'd strap blocks of C-4 to his flanks, ram the boat, and blow us all up rather than be taken alive. Harris grabs the 80-pound mono leader and deftly boats him in a long-handled net wide enough to scoop up a Yugo. Thumping the deck and croaking what he'd do to me if he could get his breath up here, the big blue looks less like a fish than some ugly, ill-tempered mammal with his legs cut off, tiny eyes set wide on his head. Harris uses pliers to free the Daichi 7/0 circle hook from the corner of his mouth and hoists him up on a hand scale. "Thirty-five," he says. "Good first fish. Kinda makes knocking your brains out for a 2-pound bass seem silly, doesn't it?"