Pond Monster

The fish weren’t biting half as much as the mosquitoes as I sat on the dusty west bank of the pond. The saw grass rasped each time I shifted my seat. I stared at the muddy brown water and wished for a bite, a nibble, something to break the boredom. Nothing. I reeled in my line once again to check the bait and saw the washed-out remains of a drowned night crawler that had been my latest hope of fishing success. I peeled it off the rusty hook and tossed it in the water, making note of where it landed.

As the ripples widened, I shook the faded Maxwell House coffee can to stir up the remaining bait. I chose one of the least-skinny ‘crawlers left to bait the hook. Most of the good ones had been gone for hours. The ones in the can now were sluggish and close to dried out from the sun. I skewered the sluggish, wriggling, earth-tunneler onto the hook and wished for success again.

Targeting my cast where the last worm guts had gone, I swung the rod and just missed getting tangled in the low birch branches. The hook plopped right where I wanted and quickly sank to the soft bottom. I thought about my big brother catching a three-pound catfish just last week from this very spot. He was so excited; he ran all the way home with it on the line. He didn’t even bother to take it off the hook.

Did my line move? It did! A nibble! Patience was a hard thing for me, especially now. Another tug and I jerked the pole straight up. I felt the fish pull back and the fight was on! As I reeled in, the fish went left and right, always pulling.

What was that? There were bubbles appearing farther out and moving towards the fish on my line! I reeled in faster as thoughts of the Loch Ness Monster and other beasts ran through my head. The line jerked once, then again, and went slack. I pulled the line out of the water and saw that the hook was gone, and so was my prize catch.

I gathered my stuff and got ready to leave. I flung the rest of the bait into the pond and watched the dirt and worms sink into the dark water. I’d be back next week, I promised myself. I would get my big fish. No monster would stop me next time.

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