Do you like to fish? Or are you a fish-stick kinda guy? Does the majority of your interest lie in the thin outer crust of a frozen four-inch processed twig–one that bears no resemblance to a living swimming creature? Or, do you insist on physically removing your catch from the hook–scaling, beheading, cleaning, and cooking, not giving a second thought to any stray bones that dare cross your incisors? If both scenarios should present themselves in the form of a story needing to be told, which tale would you weave and how would you spin it?
Adam lived to surf fish. Whenever he could squeeze a sufficient number of minutes together he was on the road to Hatteras, whether for a week, a weekend, or a twenty-four hour jaunt. A three and a half hour drive was nothing compared to this, he thought, as he pounded his rod spike into the loose white sand.
Adam soon had his gear assembled, baited, and with a nice-hundred yard cast, stood smugly with the butt end of his rod propped against his thigh. The breeze was light, dancing through the eyes on his rod, whistling a familiar tune . A wide smile spread across his face as he absorbed his surroundings. The sharp tug on his line stirred him from his reverie. This was the most difficult time of the fishing game…waiting to set the hook. Too soon and he’d rip the hook from the boney mouth. Too late and the intended would expose the ruse and spit the hook. Just right and…Adam reared back on his rod, driving the point of the hook home.
The line pulled taught and all motion ceased as if he had hooked a bulldozer. After one of the longest seconds of his life had finally passed the chase was on. The quarry made a mad dash out to sea. Adam would have lost this one due to complacency had he not loosened the drag just before the line reached its breaking point. Yard after yard of braided line peeled from his spinning reel.He preferred braid over mono, “It’s a touch thing,” he would say.
The first run’s always the longest, he thought. Bring it, bring it. Suddenly the unseen warrior at the end of the line made an abrupt one-eighty and headed straight for the beach.”Nice move,” Adam said as he began to wind furiously. Pump, wind, pump, wind, pump, wind. “Line tight, no slack…turn, turn,” he barked. The line jerked hard right causing hunter and prey to begin their second run laterally up the beach.
Adam ran through the shallows sending spray into the air before the receding wave could completely retreat. This parallel movement allowed him to use the drag to keep the line at bay. The pair once again came to a halt. This time sensing a dire situation turning worse the captured beast began to thrash wildly, desperate to throw the hook at any cost. The cold steel barb held fast causing the exhausted combatant to attempt one last feeble, if not brave, dash for freedom.
“Now…you’re…mine,” Adam growled. He horsed the defeated bronze creature through the surf, his line straining to its limit, the undertow struggling to rob the victor of his spoils. One more wave and the defeated lay spent, deposited on instantly compacting sand, the ocean returning to its origin.
The processing trawler made its last haul, dumping tons of sea creatures on a conveyor belt. Various species of fish were separated from the rest, disappearing down a dark tunnel as they did so.
“That’s it, Mommy,” the child said, pointing to a package of fish in the frozen food case. She stood on her tiptoes barely able to reach over the edge. “Right there, the one with the man on the box. That’s the kind I like.”
Which one would you write?