Going For the Big One This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   The sunshine was streamingthrough the shades into my room as Sara and I awoke after a late-night escapade.It was a beautiful summer day we knew should not be wasted, and since my parentswere out of town and Sara was visiting from Oregon, the options were wide open.We made a quick run to Subway to eat and, by the time we returned, had snagged aplan to spend the day fishing.

As we searched for fishing poles, Ienvisioned us paddling around in the aluminum rowboat. The water would be likeglass shattered by huge fish leaping from the depths. However, we had a slightproblem - there was no way to strap the boat onto my car. It was just too big.So, with a sly grin, I hopped in my daddy's '72 Dodge, and as the dust settled,fired her up. He would wring my neck if he knew what I was planning to do, so Iwas careful not to grind too many gears. Soon enough, Sara and I had tied up theboat with some twine. We grabbed the tackle box and set off, determined to catchThe Big One.

We stopped for minnows, sunflower seeds and some "sugarwater" (my nickname for my favorite SoBe drink. Since the main ingredientsare sugar and water, it really keeps my fishing spirits up). Then we bounced ondown the road singing along to Nelson Dredge, with Dad's Pamida Rampage speakersblaring. Sara was half soaked with minnow water by the time we rolled onto thedock, but we were all smiles.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky, the windwas calm, and the water was unbroken. We heaved the boat off the pick-up and sentit sliding down the path to the water. Giggling, we raced to jump in, but with asplash nearly tipped it over. Before long we had our minnows rigged up and ourlines dropped. We trolled, well, paddled, around the cove, 20 feet from shore. Inthe peaceful silence, a fish would occasionally haunt us with a"plop."

"Have you even caught anything this summer?"Sara whined.

"Yeah, dude, I caught one," I replied, "aftera couple trips and like 20 hours of fishing, though. But I caughtone!"

She laughed. "What a waste of time." Suddenly, Sarastuttered, "Umm, Cami? Are there supposed to be bubbles coming from thebottom of the boat?" I looked to see water flowing toward my feet, and myeyes followed the path to the crack in the center of the boat.

"Uhoh!" I screeched. With that, we frantically whipped out our oars and paddledtoward shore. Sweating and panting, we made it to the dock. "Geez, I wasjust about ready to catch one, too," I muttered.

"Well, atleast I can catch a tan since I can't catch a fish." said Sara. She gave upfor the day and relaxed on the dock.

Determined, I wandered along thebank, switching from spinners to spoons. With no luck, I decided to try a coupleof hooks with worms. I read once that two minnows or worms attract more attentionbecause one acts as a decoy. As I gazed down the shoreline, I noticed a strangetan rock that had a curious shape. As I stepped closer, I realized that it was abone. I picked it up. It was fairly lightweight.

"Sara! Dude! This islike a dinosaur bone or something. It looks like a vertebra!" She must haveconked out because there was no response. I placed the bone in the boat andreturned to my fishing pole.

Just then, there was a huge tug on my line,so I jerked up to set the hook, but there was nothing there. Both of my wormswere still there. I cast once again, carefully reeling in slowly, and BAM! Thatfish hit so hard I screamed, "Sara, something's wrong! I caught afish!"

"What? Really? Awesome, dude!" she said as shestumbled to her feet. I managed to pull the fish in without snapping the line,and by that time Sara had scrambled over to check it out.

"This isthe first Northern I've ever caught!" I exclaimed.

Sara chuckled,"Umm, how are you going to get the hook out?"

We stood theredumbfounded as the fish flip-flopped in the dirt. He was too slimy to hold onto,and I couldn't exactly grab him by the jaw since his teeth wererazor-sharp.

I scratched my head and then grabbed the pliers. "Okay,you step on him and I'll see if I can get the hook out." We struggled for aminute, and Sara just about squished the poor little guy, but we finally yankedthe hook free.

He wasn't very happy when we stuffed him in the minnowbucket for the trip home, but his fate became our fortune. Once home, I carefullyfollowed the directions of my Boneless Fish Filleting Guide and quicklydiscovered that the Northern is quite possibly the stickiest fish I have everencountered. With a little Frying Magic batter and a side dish of herb and butternoodles, though, Sara and I enjoyed a delicious but hard-earned supper.

Even though fishing may be considered a waste of time, I can't help butlove the sport. Nothing beats the peaceful serenity or that rush of adrenalinewhen you feel a tug on the line. Sooner or later, I will get lucky and catch TheBig One.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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