Summer Blues This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

The sun was just beginning to stream through the blinds when I woke up. It was a beautiful summer morning, and I had the feeling it was going to be an unforgettable day. Full of energy, I leapt out of bed. My room is small, and along the wall above my bed is a series of wooden fish carvings by local artists. A yellow nightstand stands at the foot of my bed. However, it didn’t matter that the nightstand was outdated and out of place; it made my room a truly unique and enjoyable place to spend the summer.

The house was in Long Beach Island, and we have lived there part-time for as long as I can remember. My room may have been dull, but whenever I was there it was the brightest place in the world, devoid of the stress of everyday life. This morning felt particularly that way for some reason as I climbed the steps and headed for the kitchen.

Within a few hours, I was on the beach, lying in the sun with the sand between my toes and the moist, salty breeze blowing off the ocean. The sun climbed high, and I could feel my skin beginning to burn.

“Put more sunscreen on,” my mom said, interrupting my relaxing moment.

As I rubbed in more, I heard a screeching of gulls. This wasn’t their usual call; it was louder – dozens flocked just offshore. I stared, trying to understand their behavior.

Then my dad yelled over the noise, “Grab your pole. I think there’s going to be a blitz!”

“What?” I yelled, barely able to hear over the birds. “Did you say a blitz?”

“Yeah, and it’s going to be a big one,” he responded, confusing me more.

Dad was already halfway to the water, so I followed, curiosity getting the best of me. The water looked alive. As far as the eye could see, a dark cloud wove in and out of the waves. I took a closer look; it was a giant school of bait fish. It doesn’t take a fisherman to figure out that where there are millions of little fish, there are going to be big fish.

Sea gulls and other birds flew in, stretching down the shoreline and seeming to block out the sun. They took turns diving into the water and plucking out fish. The minnows jumped and splashed, but there was no escape.

My dad handed me my rod with a spoon lure (which is metal, curved like a spoon, and pointed at both ends). It is designed to look like injured bait – an enticing offer to an unsuspecting fish.

“Go ahead and cast,” my father said.

I stepped into the surf and instantly felt the small fish wriggling like snakes around my legs. I brought the rod back behind my head and snapped it forward, propelling the hook and lure into the center of the school of bait. The lure glistened in the sun as it flew. It splashed into the water, and I felt the line tighten; I already had hooked a fish.

My heart raced as I prepared for the fight. In the distance, I saw my bluefish jump out of the water. Blues are known for their aggressive nature and razor-sharp teeth. I pulled back and began to reel, balancing the tension so the line wouldn’t break, slowly inching the fish closer to shore.

I looked down at my feet but could see only bait fish. Suddenly, they began jumping, some as high as my waist. Startled, I spotted the reason – a school of bluefish. Each over a foot long, they swam like torpedoes around my legs, inches from collision, snatching any bait they could. One wrong move, and the razors in their mouths could slice my leg open.

As quickly as they had appeared, the blues were gone, leaving me untouched. However, I still had a fish to reel in. I backed out of the water and reeled harder, slowly bringing it closer. I felt the tension run through my muscles as the fish made every effort to get away. It jumped again, this time three feet out before splashing down. I knew it was close; I was just a few minutes from winning the fight of my life.

With a final effort, I landed the fish. It was about two feet long and 15 pounds. I proudly carried it up the beach and saw my dad smiling at me. What felt like forever had been only five minutes.

“Nice fight, buddy,” he called as he approached, a rag and pliers in his hands. “Now, let’s get him off.”

He grabbed the fish and gripped the hook with the pliers. Inside was a row of teeth, small but extremely sharp. The hook removed, my dad threw the fish back in the water and handed me the rod.

“Now, what do you say you get another?” he asked.

“No problem,” I joked as I cast. Once again, just as the lure hit the water, a fish took it. I could tell I was in for a thrilling afternoon.

This continued for what felt like hours, but eventually the blitz ended and the beach quieted down. The birds disappeared, and the excitement was just a memory. The sun was beginning to set, and, exhausted, my dad and I started back for the house. I was just 10 years old, and had never experienced anything like this.

“Has this ever happened before?” I asked, still amazed at the day’s events.

“I remember when I was a boy, just a little older than you, there was a huge blitz like this one. My dad and I fished ’til the sun set, just as we did today,” he said. “It was great spending this one with you.” He put his arm around me, and we continued our walk home.

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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Letticia said...
Sept. 20, 2008 at 4:11 pm
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