Carefully applying sunscreen over every bare inch of my sixty-two-pound body, I prepped myself for the strenuous mission that was before me. I was ready to complete the first impediment of fishing, catching my very first fish. I was eight and confident that my lean, frail body could overcome any obstruction.
Alluring me intensely was my yearning to catch a fish. In fact, I was so fully captivated in my own thinking that the trip to my grandfather’s special fishing section seemed momentary. The swift break in the purring of the engine put me back into the real world. I instantly gathered my fishing pole.
Hanging the end of my fishing rod over the rim of the boat, I let go of the beam on the reel and dropped the plastic lure in the water. When I let enough of the line out and laid the fishing rod in a holder, I laid back and waited for a strike on the lure. The low purr of the motor at trawling speed only increased my angst, like the background music to a horror movie.
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Then it happened. A strong jerk on the line yanked me up to my feet quicker than a blink of the eye. My weak strength was so dominant that when I pulled on the rod, I almost went down head-first over the boat, into the water. Although anxiety flowed heavy through my veins, after ten minutes my inequitable strength and my uncanny will were decreasing frequently. As soon as I was totally ready to submit to the fish and just give up the fish did an amazing stunt.
I observed the mahi-mahi leaping across the water’s surface. The mahi-mahi glistened with glittering colors of green, yellow, and blue. The glamorous fish swam back to the ocean in a burst of foam. With this marvelous spectacle, the fish was converted from a sad victim to an amazing specimen of life. I wanted so badly to touch the beautiful fish and share the amazing bond that a fisherman feels for their first kill. I wanted to capture that fish by any means.
The battle only persisted for three minutes and it was three minutes of which I will never lose memory of. When the fish came close to the boat, I was more energetic than I’d felt when the fish first attacked. At my grandfather’s signal, I caught the fish and reeled it into a basket at the bottom of the boat.
I was almost exploding with elation. We took the fish out of the net and it plopped on the floor of the boat with an empty thump, and my mouth dropped down with it. Within minutes, the fish’s sparkle, color and life completely faded. Instead, there was blood. Lots of it. It squirted from its mouth and gills.
Eventually, the boat was covered with the red bodily fluid of the mahi-mahi. As it lay twitching helplessly, I felt nauseated, disgusted, and sad. Even with my grandfather’s applause and approval, I rode to shore in absolute silence. I just kept thinking about how I was the sole cause of the fish’s death. I wasn’t expecting to feel such a great hurt for something so small and insignificant.
On the way home was a bit of awkward silence. So, I decided to break it by telling my grandfather how much of a great time I had with him and enjoyed spending this time with me. I told him how much I appreciated the experience, but I don’t ever want to go fishing again. I thought I would like catching fish unfortunately it just didn’t work out for me. Unsurprisingly my grandfather took no offense to what I told him. He agreed and suggested that we can try different things together that I actually like. I kind of expected my grandfather to react this way because he’s so kind-hearted and understanding. He remembered what it was like for him when he had his very first kill.
After all, it was my first kill. Yes, I know that sounds funny because it is just an animal. In retrospect, I am content with reacting to the situation as I believe any little girl would react. That was my first and last experience of going fishing. Although my opinions about many things, including hunting and fishing have altered a lot since that day, I’m glad I got to experience it. Even though I’ll never kill a fish again, I can’t say I won’t ever eat one ha-ha.
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