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Now I’m gettin’ back to writin’ ‘bout fishin’. Like I said a page or two back, I ain’t gave up at it and I kept pluggin’ away, achin’ back and all, each cast a little better than the last.
Well . . . mayhap not each cast, but I was gettin’ better at it, you know? And thinkin’ ‘bout how my brother and his friends had schooled me on the arts o’ surf fishin’.

Yup! Over and over they told me things like, “Listen up Keli! If somethin’ tugs on the string, give a hard yank or two right back and that way ya’ll stick the hook good in its mouth! And remember, always keep the pole pointed up at the sky while you’re fightin’ with that fish! That way, the pole’ll be helpin’ too!

And if ya hooks onto somethin’, back yerself outta the water and up onto the beach! Do your fightin’ on the shore, not in the surf! Watch the waves! Use the ‘strength o’ ‘em em to help ya pull the fish in!

And don’t be foolin’ round with no knobs or buttons on that reel! We’s got it all set up just right fer ya! We’s even re-wound a whole bunch o’ special heavy duty string on it and what ever you might hook onto, ain’t gonna have a chance in hel of breakin’ it!” That last part, they’d always say with a snicker, you know?

Anyways, my brother was upset with me ‘bout killin’ all his eels, bangin’ and bonkin’ them all over the beach without ever gettin’ them into the water and he wouldn’t let me have no more. Instead he give me somethin’ to fish with called a lure.

A lure looks kind o’ like a little make- believe minnow, mayhap ‘bout six inches long. It’s mostly carved outta wood and it has a cluster o’ really sharp nasty lookin’ hooks danglin’ outta the belly o’ it. Lures comes in a bunch o’ different colors, all painted up nice and pretty with fake eyes and everything! He told me the blue colored ones was best for today but I insisted he let me have a yellow one, bein’ as I likes that color more than blue.

Yup! Lures! I figured I’d be okay usin’ ‘em ‘cause he’d already cought a few truly big fish with those lures o’ his, one o’ them weighin’ in at almost thirty pounds! A striped bass it was!

Anyways, lures is easier to throw, bein’ they ain’t nearly as heavy as those damn eels, but the wind would do tricks with mine, blowin’ my pretty yellow lure what had a bunch o’ horse hair stickin’ outta the back end o’ it every which way, spoilin’ my aim!

Besides fightin’ the wind on each cast, I was also fightin’ a terrible throbbin’ soreness what had started the other day in the back o’ my neck and had gradually spread downward, now almost reachin’ my . . . well, really far down. T’was the price I had to pay from all my castin’ practice! Oh geez! The things a person’ll endure just so’s they’ll mayhap have a chance to catch a big fish!

It was late in the afternoon with the sun a big red ball sinkin’ down toward the horizon to the right o’ me. A stiff breeze blowin’ all day outta the east had finally let up a bit and I was just standin’ there up to my knees in the surf, the pole sittin’ atop my shoulder. I was breathin’ deep o’ the clean salt air, enjoyin’ the moment, thinkin’ ‘bout dinner and what my friends was cookin’ in that big barbeque pit what we dug out a few days before.

I was also watchin’ a huge flock o’ seagulls what had gathered out over the water directly in front o’ me. The gulls was dippin’ and divin into the ocean, squawking’ at each other, makin’ a terrible racket and havin’ a great time o’ things! More often then not they’d fly up and away after catchin’ a little silvery fish what happened to be swimmin’ up near the top o’ the water, sometimes even jumpin’ right out o’ it!

My brother who was fishin’ ‘bout a couple hundred paces along the beach to the west called out to me, started wavin’ his arms like he’d gone loony, yellin’ somethin’ ‘bout birds and began runnin’ in my direction. What an oaf! Did he think I ain’t seen the damn birds? Geez! They was right in front o’ me! So I ain’t paid no attention to him and prepared to make another cast.

I aimed a good bit to the left o’ those birds, not wantin’ my lure to be comin’ down in the middle of ‘em, mayhap spookin ‘em and possibly spoilin’ their dinner. It was one o’ my better casts. My pretty yellow make-believe minnow streaked up and out over the water travlin’ in a huge lazy arc headin’ far off to my left and away from the flock. Then a gust o’ wind caught it and kept pushin’ at it till the damn thing plopped down smack in the middle o’ all the seagulls!

I watched it flutterin’ down outta the sky, finally makin’ a little splash. T’was not more than a second or two after it hit the water and there was a really big splash in the same spot! My lure, what was made outta wood and was supposed to float on top o’ the water, disappeared and . . . oh geez, all hel broke loose!

Well let me tell you! Whatever the hel it was what sucked in my little yellow lure and swam away goin’ ‘bout as fast as a race horse, was doin’its best to tear my arms outta their sockets! It also had its own idea ‘bout how and where this battle was gonna be fought!

Attemptin’ to keep the pole’ aimed up toward the sky like my brother’d told me just wasn’t gonna happen! Nope! Instead, my pole, string and all, stretched out in a line, straight as an arrow, pointin’ out and down a bit, and directly at the monster what was hangin’ onto the other end o’ it!

I’d managed to get a good grip on the pole with both hands just after I seen the splash near my lure and now I was hangin’ on for dear life! My grip on the pole was way down toward the butt end o’ it and a good distance away from the reel. It wouldn’t o’ made any difference anyways had I been able to reach it. There was no way I’d be able to crank the handle what winds the string back onto the spool.

And backin’ outta the water and onto the beach wasn’t gonna happen either! The damn thing kept yankin and tuggin’ on the string and was doin’ a good job o’ pullin’ me further out into the water! Now the waves was becomin’ a big problem for me, sometimes the breakers smackin’ me right in the face, but I wasn’t givin’ up!

Oh geez! My brother, who’d been runnin’ toward me from a ways down the beach, was closer now and had a really good view o’ the battle. He’d stopped his yellin’ about the birds and was now screamin’ something ‘bout the drag bein’ too tight! Sometimes men will say the silliest things, you know?

I guess what he meant was fer me to hold tight onto the pole, which I was already doin’ and to drag the monster what was chewin’ on my lure, closer to the beach, but I was fast loosin’ that battle! The damn thing kept pullin’ hard on the string and yankin’ me out into deeper water!

Now the waves was sometimes breakin’ over my head, givin’ me a real thumpin’ and I’d swallowed a good bit o’ salt water. My heart was poundin’ with the excitement o’ it. Mayhap there was a good bit o’ fear mixed in with the poundin’ you know?

Yep! The thought occurred to me, I might be havin’ some real difficulties if I’d soon be havin’ to continue this struggle under those waves!

Funny, the things you notice while your battlin’ a colossal fish on the very edge o’ the ocean. For instance, I took note o’ the crowd o’ folks what was standin’ on the beach watchin’ this epic encounter. Normally they’s noisy, laughin’ whistlin’ and clappin’, some even jeerin’ when I do somethin’ wrong, you know? Well, they ain’t made a sound throughout the whole ordeal. Not a peep outta them!

And when some o’ the boys in the group realized I might be gettin’ in over my head, so to speak, they began makin’ their way out to me, sloggin’ through the surf, clothes and all! I thought that was so nice o’ ‘em! They got there ‘bout the same time as my brother arrived. But . . . it was too late.

You see, I’d already let go. Yup. My brother’s custom made one piece nine foot surf castin’ rod, and fancy reel what was crafted by some guy named Van Staal, went sailin’ off into the deep, attached to what had to be the largest fish what ever swam the ocean depths! Least ways, that’s how I like to think o’ it.

My brother and the rest o’ the boys helped me back to shore and I thanked all o’ ‘em for bein’ so chiv . . . uh, gallant fer rescuin’ me. Than the group wandered off, leavin’ my brother and me alone on the beach.

I told him I ain’t wanted to head back to camp till my eyes cleared up a bit, you know? Uh . . . bein’ they was all red and irritated from the salt water. So, the two o’ us sat there for awhile, on the shore, enjoyin’ the sunset and listenin’ to the surf poundin’ up onto the beach. I said I was sorry ‘bout losin’ his pole and fancy reel. He just laughed, threw his arm ‘round me and told me he was thinkin’ his sister was worth at least a couple more pieces o’ gold than an old pole and worn out reel and not to fret ‘bout it.

Geez! As much as I hates my three brothers, sometimes, they can be really nice, you know? We could see the cookin’ fire aglow, ‘bout a quarter mile to the east and the wind was waftin’ the aroma from the things what my friends was preparin’ for our nightly feast right down the beach at us.

We was both starvin’ for a good dinner, so we picked ourselves up and started the walk back to camp. We ain’t spoke much along the way. each o’ us alone in our thoughts, goin’ over the days events in our minds . . . and thinkin’ ‘bout what new adventure tomorrow was gonna bring.