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When Santiago baited the collection of poles that included the pole on which he caught the "big fish", he used a combination of baits. The main part of the hook was covered by a tuna, which had been wrapped around the shank of the hook and sewed in place in preparation for the fishing trip. Sardines were hooked through the eye sockets to cover and disguise the pointed ends of the double hook. The lure of the fresh fish enticingly coming through the water at one hundred fathoms depth was what attracted the marlin to take the bait.
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