The flounder hit at once.
Some time before 5 pm Monday, Eric Barcone landed one.
In a minute nearby poles bent in the hands of two pier fishermen.
They reeled their dinners in swiftly and the flat fish sailed through the air before flapping like small tires on the pier deck.
It was chilly and windy.
But the fishermen were bundled against the cold in sweats and hoodies and jackets.
Brothers Mark and Eric Barcone of Marblehead say they prefer the flounder fishing in Swampscott at . They were going to filet and fry their fish for supper that night.
From the pier, the fishermen could hear sailors, their whistles and whoops.
It was the Swampscott sailing team at practice. Navigating the harbor, they changed directions, formations and speeds.
The little boats leaned to one side and some times the sailors had to duck as the sail swung over their heads.
A lone figure, likely the coach, bobbed at the bow of a sail-less boat and directed their movements.
The water was open. Only a few small boats were moored but the parking lot was filled with sailboats that will soon be chained to moorings.
Also in the parking lot were the pier floats that took such a battering during last year's storms.
The repairs look about complete, new wood showing where the replacement lengths have been fastened in place. The floats sit stacked awaiting berths at the end of the pier.
Meanwhile, the side of Humphrey still had the look it gets once a year. Pink fruit blossoms line the street.
They look just beyond peak and will remain until a wind scatters their petals to the curb.