By now you’ve probably heard about the cruise ship that’s been without power for four days. As human dramas go, this one’s a bit lame. I mean, having to subsist on canned food flown in by the Navy while being towed back to port isn’t exactly a gripping tale. Now, I’ve never taken a cruise because being stuck on a boat with 4,000 people and not even being able to fish has never (pardon the pun) floated my boat. I figure if I’m going to drop three or four grand on a trip, I’m going fishing, maybe catch that giant bluefin that’s always occupied my dreams.

But at least one newspaper columnist on thinks this low-grade tragedy is a golden opportunity for a new kind of fishing…sort of a cruise ship party boat.

If all goes according to plan, the crippled cruise liner Carnival Splendor should be back in San Diego sometime today. It’s has been limping along under tugboat tow since a fire knocked out its power about 200 miles south and 40 miles out to sea from America’s Finest City…According to the wire reports, there is just enough juice on the ship’s grid to keep the toilets going and the water (cold only) running. So basically about 4,500 passengers and crew are camping in a steel sweat lodge that smells like an outhouse during a flu epidemic.

_All the while singing songs, playing board games and being entertained by acoustical instruments while subsisting on, I kid you not, “Spam, Pop Tarts and canned crab meat” flown in by the Navy on helicopters.

But in following the stories about the misery, don’t you sense that there’s a huge missed opportunity here? The ship has been groaning home … at trolling speed. Through some of the finest sport fishing waters in the world. Oh, come on. Don’t tell me that wasn’t the first thing you thought about, too. I mean if you’ve got to be up on deck all day because it’s hotter than the sunny side of hell with no AC, and blacker than an editor’s heart in the ship’s interior because of lack of anything but battery-powered emergency lighting, could you think of a better activity? Trivial Pursuit my a–, I’ve got a 80-pound yellowfin on the line! En route, the Splendor lumbered through waters with everything from dorado and marlin to bonita and sailfish. So shouldn’t somebody have told the Navy to slip a couple of rods, reels, spinners, flashers and an assortment of rubber swim baits into the shipping container along with the canned crab, and probably more toilet paper?_

So there you go: for all you poor suckers whose wives have dragged you (reluctantly) along on a cruise on which you spent seven days looking mournfully out on the water while enduring an endless procession of Vegas-style “entertainment” all you have to do is sneak along a three-piece travel rod and hope like hell a fire knocks out the ship’s generators. But I’m curious, are there really any covert fishing opportunities on one of these cruises? Could you conceivably sneak along a travel rod and at least fish the docks in the ports you visit? Anyone ever done it?