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Catching the Big One

A true fish story that hooked a rookie. . . and helped raise funds for a good cause.

Catching the Big One

What is it about fishing that seems to inspire famous sayings, many of which have become part of our language? Why does fishing turn rational men (and women!) into obsessed individuals who will sit motionless for hours waiting for that perfect catch?

How could a woman—a mother and a wife, a professional with a good career, a dedicated member of a local garden club for God’s sake—turn into a screaming banshee, hurling curses at a big fish in the pre-dawn hours of a cold rainy Cape Cod morning, throwing every ounce of strength and determination into reeling in the ONE that didn’t get away?

This is my fish story. And it’s all true. I even have witnesses.

I have always loved the ocean, coming from a family of sailors, lobstermen, seafood chefs, fish market owners—I think there’s even a few whalers somewhere in our family’s foggy past. For a large part of my life, I have lived less than a mile from the salt water. But until last summer, when a friend reeled me in to an Osterville Anglers Club fishing tournament for a good cause, I had never touched a fishing pole. I thought jigging was something my grandparents used to call dancing.

And the only time I ever talked about fishing was when I used one of those sayings to sum up a situation, like “Fish or cut bait.” Any one will tell you that editors have a bad weakness for quotes, aphorisms, or clever sayings of any kind.

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