Archive for » November 13th, 2006«

mini fiction #3

Big Fish

I had just dropped a large, pissed sardine into the drink and let him swim away when I felt the spool on my reel speed up. My heart skipped a beat and I held my breath slightly. Was this it? Suddenly the line ripped off the reel. I kept my thumb on it just enough to stop it from spinning out of control and causing an ugly tangle of line, otherwise known as a backlash. I counted, “One… two… three… c’mon! four… five!” I slammed the reel in gear and waited for the line to tighten. I yanked the rod tip in the air to set the hook and yelled “Fresh one!” at the top of my lungs. There were cheers around me as I reeled down on the fish and then lifted the rod up to gain leverage on it. Lift up. Reel down fast. Lift up. Reel down fast. I had to keep gaining line to get the fish. The line slackened. He’s coming toward me. “Reel! Reel! Reel!” the deckhand shouted in my ear. I cranked the handle as fast as I could. He must be charging the boat! The line tightened up as the fish suddenly changed direction. I started the steady pumping again. I felt my rod shake and knew the fish was beating his tail hard and moving away. He headed to the bow of the boat. Fast. I ran up the starboard side yelling, “Hot rail!” as I went. I ducked under anglers and lifted my rod over others. “Keep your line straight in front of you! Follow that fish!” the deckhand urged. The fish swerved and headed back the way he came. “Coming through!” I yelled as I went back down the rail. He settled, sullen in the corner, refusing to budge. With my arms aching and lungs heaving, I knew this brute had to turn or I risked pulling the hook. One pump up, two cranks down. Over and over for an hour, I fought this beast. But I had the leverage from the boat. Slowly, I gained back line. “I see deep color!” I shouted. That was the signal for the deckhands to be nearby when the fish got closer to the surface. My heart swelled up for a moment. Would I get this monster in? Just a few more turns of the reel handle! And finally, color – where we could see the size and shape of the fish just under the surface. The deckhands grabbed the boat gaffs to hook the fish and bring it on board. It’s a two gaffer! I took my reel out of gear as the fish came over the rail and sighed with relief. “Looks like he’s at least 70 pounds. Way to go!” the crew congratulated me. My arms shaking and head pounding, I made my way to galley for a much-needed rest and to enjoy the glow of a fight well fought.

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