Misty mornings while fishing

It was early, four in the morning. Mind you, it was not cold. It was nice and cool, though, and I was all alone in a little tent thirty meters from the water. I had not slept for the whole night and I couldn’t sleep now. I was growing more and more weary of waiting for first dawn’s light when the nocturnal fish would be heading to unseen caves and rocks to escape the light. Other fish, that eat and do things during the day, would begin to get out and start eating. Frogs were croaking around me and I could hear the lonely cry of a bird up before its time. Finally, after warring with myself over whether to get up and go out into the moonlit night, I got up, gathered my fishing gear, and walked down to the dock where I could clearly see the rowboat and its oars. I had brought those down the evening before so that it would be easier to just get in and go. I could see the house outlined by the stars, and everything around me was clear as if it was daylight.


I hopped into the little boat, hooked the oars in the oarlocks, threw off the lines, and drifted away from the docks before, quietly, I lowered the oars to the surface of the water and watched as they broke the surface and dipped out of sight into the black, star-speckled water. Ripples spread away from the oars and soon enough I found myself pulling out into the main channel, with the only sounds being the subtle squeak of the oars and the lonesome cry of a bird. I was gliding through the water quietly, parting the still waters ahead of me and leaving a wake that lapped gently against the sides of the canal. It took me less than five minutes before I looked upon a beautiful sight: a bay of completely clear and flat water without any ripples on it bathed in the light of a full moon. On the other side of the lake, I could see mist slowly creeping into the bay from the opening on the left. Clearly seen in the near daylight, a freighter slowly steamed by the mouth of the channel slowly. For a moment I was still, looking out onto the water, then I rowed towards the best fishing spot on the lake. It was like rowing through the sky. The water was as pitch black as the sky was except that, and, just like the sky, it had stars shining in it. Sometimes I felt weightless by imagining I was rowing through sky.


Half-an-hour of endless rowing and I reached my destination. Looking quickly at my watch, I could see that it was nearly five; and looking toward the east, I could see the sky lightening slowly, but it was still so subtle that I knew the sun would not peek over for at least another half hour to an hour. Not a cloud scarred the sky. The oars were shipped and after a few minutes I pulled back my hand and arm and swung it forward again with enough force to slice wood from itself, hearing the fishing pole in my hand whistle through the air. At exactly the right moment, I let loose the string and with one final little twitch of the hand, watched as a little silver lure flew out over the water and then dropped in without so much as a flaw. Little ripples spread from the clear water and interrupted the stars’ track through the water with a bump. Almost immediately, something nibbled my lure. I let it settle down some more and then reeled in slowly. Suddenly I twitched my hand, and as I did so, something snagged it hard and fast and bore it to the bottom. My teeth bared in a grim smile of near victory, I counted, “One, two, three!!!” One second spaced each of those words, and at three I pulled back hard and fast. I knew that as long as the fish did not wrap around a weed and end up pulling my line too much and breaking it, then I would have a fish for dinner.


A few minutes of fighting the fish to the surface was all I needed to reach a net in and pull it out. I had a few minutes more before he was too tired to fight me and so I took my time, letting it get tired, and then I looked over the side. The line suddenly went loose and I cussed, thinking that I had lost it; then it went really tight again and suddenly, out about ten feet from my boat, a good two and a half foot long bass, which for those of you who do know is a very tasty fish, leaped out of the water. Up it went, water dripping down its sides and streaming down into the water below. It jumped at least a foot into the air, the whole time flopping, and then fell again. I, in that time, I had pulled my line taut, reeled in, and leaned back at the same time. Again I fought it and again he leaped. On the third leap, he only went half out of the water and then fell back. He had lost seven feet of space between us and was now really near the boat. Most bass I had ever taken up never jumped out of the water, but instead just flopped, so I was quite excited and was already wondering how I could make the tale sound a lot better. Maybe I could add in that another fish had leaped out as well, trying to eat the large bass. Sunlight was rendering the skies from black to a dull gray in the east. The mist was within a mile and closing fast, racing the sun for possession of the bay. I looked over the side as I reeled in the fish. He was neither defying nor cooperating, and when I saw his pale body, I smiled again. I pulled him a little closer and netted him. I laced him onto the stringer and set him over the side to stay fresh till I got back to the docks. I caught one other fish in the time before the fog hit me. It was not the fog that made me decide to go back, though. The first fish was looking pretty low and did not have long to live, so I turned my back on this good fishing spot and rowed back home. I was quite proud of myself. Rarely do I catch two fish in the same spot that quickly.



The fog had closed around me and held me captive, but seeing as there was no wind, waves, and little current, I had no fear that I would get lost. It was not a huge bay and I knew it all as well as one could who does not live there every day of his life. There was no fear of me hitting rocks, for my boat had only a draft of maybe an inch. Even with everyone of my family in it (and yes we tried this), it still did not sit too low in the water. I ended up finding myself entering the right channel without even looking more than twice, and soon I had tied up my boat and had the fish cleaned. I had brought a knife with me and a bowl to put the fillets in. By then, it was about seven in the morning and full sun fell on me from one corner of the sky and a light breeze had risen and blown away all the mist. Birds stood on the catdtails and twittered at each other. In the distance, I could hear a few cows mooing in their fields. I stood, stuff in hand, and walked back up the road to the house feeling good that I had caught two good-sized bass in a time span of two hours.



fishing, a true story

fishing (on another day, with siblings)



Gabriel Miller is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program


All photos courtesy and copyright Gabriel Miller