I have never been crazy about fishing. Every couple of years I get a desire to go fishing. I really think it’s an excuse to spend time in nature without having to do all the work of hiking. But I do enjoy it whenever I go. Its been this random part of my life. I remember the first fish that I ever caught. It was in a pond on my uncle’s property, the same pond that would later be the scene of another monumental fishing exploit.
I used a Red Devil fishing lure. That’s all I really remember about the catch. I am not sure why I only remember that detail. But I do know that every time I see a Red Devil fishing lure it reminds me of that day. I remember that my older brother caught a fish that day as well. His was larger than mine, and that upset me a little.
My Dad lined us up next to each other and wanted us to hold our fish aloft while he captured the moment with his camera. But he wanted us to hold the fish by sticking our fingers through the outside of the gills and into the inside of the fish’s mouth. Neither my brother nor I was willing to do this. I had images of the fish not being quite dead and attempting some last ditch effort to escape by biting my finger. So we reattached the hooks we caught them with and used those to proudly hold our fish in the air.
Years later I had a chance to spend some time again at my uncle’s property. I also had a chance again to fish that same pond. I went there with two of my cousins. We were having a mediocre time fishing all we had caught were a few fish that were too small to keep. I was getting frustrated and tired when I felt bite, it was strong, the fish was big. Immediately I felt a surge of energy and a rush of adrenaline. I started reeling, the fish continued to fight against my line. It jumped out of the water in this majestic fashion reminiscent of what you seen in the fishing shows you see on ESPN when they have nothing else to show.
As I continued to reel the line in, I called to my cousins to come closer and give me hand bringing the fish out of the water. You see we had neglected to bring a net with us. This usually did not matter seeing as how fish had never been caught in this pond before that were strong enough to break the line. I reeled it in and my cousins were there to grab it as I lifted it out of the water into the air, but upon attempting this, the line broke. And with a splash the fish fell back into the water and swam away.
I was shocked, I was disappointed, and I was upset. The largest fish that I had ever had on my line was gone. After saying their condolences my cousins went back to their rods and continued fishing. I decided to do the same. So I tied a new lure on the line and cast it out into the pond. I fished half-heartedly after that. Still feeling sorry for my self. Cursing my self for neglecting to bring the net. My mind raced with all the “if only” possibilities that would have led to a successful catch.
I also prayed. I prayed fervently to catch another fish. I wanted one. I needed redemption. This gave me more energy. I focused on the possibility of what else could be in this pond. I did not think that fish that big existed here. But time was against me. The light was fading and as the sun lost its intensity the mosquitoes escaped from the shadows they had been hiding in.
I was almost ready to give up hope, when I felt the line go tight and saw the end of the rod bend towards the water. At first I was unsure of what was happening, I thought I had snagged a sunken log, or some of the plant life that resides at the bottom of that pond; it would not have been the first time for me to do so. But just then I felt it fight, and it fought hard. But I was unsure of its size. Unlike the first fish this fish did not let me catch a glimpse of it until it was close. My cousins run over to help me and we run into the same dilemma. How do we get this fish out of the water without breaking the line? I start lifting the fish out of the water and trying to bring it over the land so that if the line snaps again at least the fish would land on the land when the hook gruesomely rips out of the fish’s mouth and the fish falls landing half on the land and half in the water. Before either of my cousins, who were crouching on the shore, had a chance to do anything, I drop to my knees and grab the fish, and throw it away from the water, the same way a grizzly throws a salmon out of the river when it is in mid jump.
As I examined the fish; it was hard to tell if this fish was bigger or smaller than the last. I think that this second fish was smaller; the one that got away always seems bigger.