JUST ONE MORE CAST

I wake up at 5:30am, I grab my cellphone that’s next to the bed and check the local weather. It’s going to be 95 degrees today. This weather report doesn’t sit with me well, I’m going to be in the hot sun painting all the exterior window trim that I put up the day before.

I’m working on Siesta Key (an island right off of Sarasota). Only the rich live here, and I don’t mean millionaires, I mean billionaires.

These rich mo-foes I’m working for are from Australia, and they are bored out of their minds alcoholics.

As I paint, these rich Australians with their liquor breath are all over me asking if I want a drink (fuck yeah I do, anything to numb your lousy jokes that I have to fake laugh at), but I know if I take one sip then my day is over. One sip would turn into an all day drinking binge with these clowns who hired me to remodel their vacation home. Then I’d have the drive home to look forward to and a young cop just dying to give me a DUI.

By the end of the day I’m grumpy, exhausted from the scorching hot Sun, and I want a GODDAMN drink! I’m craving alchohol like I’ve never craved alchohol.

As I’m about to take a hard right into the gasstaion parking lot for some beer, I remember that I promised my son that I’d go fishing in the bay with him after work. Fuck, why’d I make the promise? I need to get fucking waisted!

I continue home, I continue home sober, grumpy and exhausted.

As I’m at the dinner table, I can sense that my son knows that I’m in a bad mood. I can also sense that he’s just itching to bring up fishing. My son is extremely intuitive, he knows when I’m in an agitative state of mind, and he knows I don’t enjoy mindless banter when I’m in this state of mind.

7:30pm hits.

I grab my fishing gear.

Me and boy wonder head towards the bay behind our house.

I feel my mood switch from pissed off at the world to relaxed as I enter the warm waters of Tampa Bay. The sun is deming, yet bright red as it drops behind the palm trees and bridges in the distance. The water is crystal clear and calm with the colors of the evening sky bouncing off of it.

I look down at my son, I playfully pat him on the head and tell him I love him. I tell my son I have a good feeling about fishing tonight.

Damn I’m glad I didn’t drink, I would have been laying on the couch playing video games and ignoring my family….

An hour goes by, the evening sky is about to turn dark. Absolutely no fish or bites.

Time to go home I tell my son. He replies in his charismatic voice, ‘come on dad, just ten more minutes’. I think to myself, just one more cast.

BAAAMMMMMMM!

The drag of my line is going a million miles an hour! The tip of my rod is bent over so far that my son thinks my rod is going to break!

At first I think a big Stingray has hit my lure (which would be a huge disappointment). Stingrays don’t really jump, and this fish wasn’t jumping. But then I barely make out the tail of a fish, at this point my adrenaline is jacked!

The evening sky is quickly turning black as I fight this monster. 10 minutes go by and I still have no idea what type of fish this is. I say to my son with a smile on my face, ‘please God, at least let me know what kind of fish this is before it gets off the line.

I’m using light tackle, so there’s a 50/50 chance I might not land this badboy. I even tell my son not to get his hopes up. Out of excitement, my son tells me he wizzed his pants.

……

I’m here to tell the internet right now, I fought this fish like a goddamn wizard. I was playing with the drag ontop of my reel like a disk joky at a rave. At this point in history I’m the Great North American Angler, and his name is Bulgingsnake.

As the battle rages on I see the fish, it’s a Red. The fish of all fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The species of fish you fish for among all else. The species of fish you brag about because fisherman of the Gulf know it fights like a goddamn locomotive.

As me and my son stare at this 13 pound Red that layd at our feet on the bank of the bay, our adrenaline starts to subside. Our senses are grounded in this so called reality once again.

My son becomes slightly sad to see this beautiful animal take its last breath.

My 8 year old son ask what I’m going to do with the fish, I respond, we’re going to eat it.

When I’m done filleting the Red I ask my fiance to grab some trash bags. I was going to throw the carcass in the garbage for the dump truck to pick up the next day. How disrespectful to the fish that would have been.

I walk down to the bay and out to the end of a hidden Boardwalk that only the locals know about. The night sky is vibrant with the immaculate stars above my head. I give my thanks to this Redfish for an amazing fight and an amazing dinner.

The remainders of the Red are respectfully put back to where it was caught (back to his home) so the crustaceans and fish of the bay can eat the remains.

That Redfish and my son’s persistence turned a miserable day into a day I’ll never forget. And to that, I’ll have a drink (fuck it, I’m an alcoholic).