I remember it like it were yesterday, the crisp, cool, morning air hitting me as I stood at the end of the pier and watching the sunrise beautifully into the Florida sky, light hitting the water and dancing off in a million directions, a perfect day. It was one of those mornings where you felt good, excited about the possibilities, no worries to be found. It was in my third week after having purchased a saltwater fishing pole, deciding to take advantage of my last few months living in the sunshine state and take up fishing. I’d been living in Florida for nearly four years, on the Atlantic coast no less, and it was bordering on embarrassing, the fact that I hadn’t been fishing, not just a hobby but a lifestyle for the locals. I bought my pole at Wal-Mart, I would be moving soon and wasn’t going to take my huge fishing pole to Tennessee, so I’ll admit I went cheap, but I wasn’t planning on catching sharks or whales, just some run of the mill saltwater fish.
Like I said, I was in my third week of fishing, not to say that I tried to make a career out of it by setting off at dawn and returning at dusk, dedicating my life to the craft, but I fished only a couple times a week, on my days off work, and so far had been rather unsuccessful. For me, catching fish wasn’t the main priority. I had the romantic idea of spending hours by the water, watching the sunrise and the dolphins dance through it, enjoying nature and living by the ocean while I still had the chance. So as I stood on the pier, feeling refreshed in the morning air, I wasn’t too confident that I was going to catch anything, but again, for me, that wasn’t too big of a deal. I cast my line one way, wait to feel a subtle tug, jerk my pole upwards to theoretically drive the hook in further (honestly I think I may have been given some bad information on how to do all this), and reel in my prize.
I continued this process for a while, only the prize wasn’t a creature of the sea, but rather the fact that my line had not become tangled, allowing me with ease to cast it out once again. Then, on try six or seven I felt an unmistakable pull, more pronounced than anything I’d had to that point, the elusive white whale had taken the bait and it was only a matter of time before I’d come face to face with my first catch. I reeled with all my might, struggling against the current, hoping with every ounce of hope in my body that the cheap line wouldn’t break, or worse yet the pole. Whatever I had hooked was conceding the fight, reeling more quickly now, and pretty soon I glimpsed my catch as it skimmed near the surface of water. It looked to be a decent size, but I couldn’t quite tell what it was once it left the water and started ascending upwards toward the pier, the wooden railing obstructing my view. With a final effort I pulled the catch over the railing and onto the pier, my first catch lying before me, a water soaked hat.