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Catching the Big One

“I’ll just try it a couple of times,” I thought to myself. “Then maybe Missy will give me some of her snacks. The sun might come out and I can work on my tan for the party tonight.” Suddenly I felt a ferocious tug on my line. The rod in my hands bent in half.

“FISH ON!” yelled Scott. And that was the moment when everything else dropped away and I became completely, totally obsessed with getting that fish in the boat. I reeled and reeled. Tried not to think about the pain in my shoulders and my arms. Cursed the hours I missed on the treadmill at the gym. Kept reeling.

The fish leapt in the air over a wave, shining in the dim morning light, about 30 feet away. “It looks like a big one,” someone said. I gritted my teeth and kept reeling. Twenty feet. Fifteen feet. “I can’t do this!” I said to my cheering crew members. “Yes, you can, keep going!” they said. “Bear down, come on!” I felt like I was giving birth.

Somehow, with the support of my sisters and the guidance of the captains, the fish slashed and flailed beside the boat. Scott leaned over and with a big net, dumped the whale—I mean the striped bass—into the boat’s cockpit. I collapsed into my crews’ happy arms.

“THAT is a big fish,” said Scott. “It is?” I said, having absolutely no frame of reference for the size of a catch. And after careful weighing, Scott said,” I don’t know, but that just might be a winner. Definitely one of the top three of the day.”

I begin to feel a warm glow in my heart, somewhere between shaking shoulders. The ladies cheered. We all high-fived, and then kept on fishing for six more hours, in search of maybe even a bigger bass and the biggest blue. Trying to best 18 boats with nearly 70 ladies trolling.

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