The Big Fish
Back at the cabin Caleb asked Poppy if he had figured out what the key was for. “Not yet,” Poppy answered, “but I know we will.”
“Now what do we do? I’m bored, said Caleb. “Well I have an idea” said Poppy.
“Remember that trout we caught, the little one? How about we go after some BIG fish?” “How big?” asked Caleb. “We are talking HUGE fish--bigger than you.” “Okay,” said Caleb, “but how are we ever going to catch them?”
“I know a secret,” said Poppy.
“First we have to plan and make a few phone calls. You take a rest while I call my friend Brian and see if he wants to take us fishing.”
That night Caleb ate a big dinner but not as much as Poppy. Two big steaks grilled on the fire, some vegetables and a fruit salad. Caleb had ice cream and cookies for dessert.
They got up super early and Poppy had some good news. “I talked to Brian last night and he said we can go out fishing in two days.”
“Yahoo!” yelled Caleb.
“Pack your bags and let get to the airport, it is a long trip.”
It was a long flight to Miami, Florida and they still had to get the car and drive for three hours.
“Where are we going? “ asked Caleb. “Well it is a special place where the fish are plentiful and hungry. We need to get up early again tomorrow so we’ll need a good night’s sleep.”
“NO way” said Caleb “I am too excited.” “Okay for you,” said Poppy, “but right after dinner I am hitting the sack. I’ve done this several times and I know I’ll need my rest. Tomorrow I’ll do battle and need to be super strong if I am going to catch one of those monsters.”
Poppy was up at first light and so was Caleb, ready to catch a big fish. They met Captain Brian at the dock. Captain Brian was an “old salt” who had been fishing on the ocean since he was about five years old. “Nice boat,” said Caleb. “How fast does it go?” “ Bout 45 knots,” said Captain Brian.
“Are we ready?” asked Caleb. “Just about,” answered Captain Brian. “I just need to get some ice and load up the cooler, we are in for a long day and the fish are eating.”
Off they went through the channel in the Gulf side off Islamorada. Brian showed Caleb a hundred different birds and creatures in the bay. “Look that is an osprey; there is a pelican and that is a frigate bird way up there.” “Way cool,” said Caleb. Suddenly Brian stopped the boat.
“Get ready boys I see some fish tailing.”
Caleb sat back down eyes bugging out of his head, mouth open, shaking with excitement. Poppy stood on the front of the boat. He was holding a funny looking fishing rod and reel. Brian pulled the boat closer to where the fish was laid up resting after a night of feeding but getting hungry again.
Poppy was getting very excited. He was ready and as they got in range, he began his cast. Back and forth with the fly line until he had just the right cast.
Poppy let the fly hit the water about 3 feet in front of the tarpon and started to strip in the line with short little strips. As the fly passed near the fish Poppy stripped the line a little faster. Suddenly the Tarpon saw the fly and began to chase it through the water. “He’s on it.” said Brian. Poppy pulled the line tight and slammed the hook in deep.
From out of the water and six feet into the air the Tarpon hurled himself. Caleb almost fell out of the boat. Out of the water the Tarpon jumped again then made a big run across the bay. “Hold on.” said Brian. “We are going to chase him. Caleb can you drive a boat?”
“Well I can learn just show me what to do,” Captain Brian gave Caleb a quick lesson and off they shot trying to catch up to the fish. Poppy was holding on for dear life as the tarpon took line. “Stop the boat Caleb. We’re ready to make him jump again. “Each time they jump it tires them out.”
“Put some pressure on that fish.” yelled Brian. “Caleb, help me pull on this thing before he gets away,” Poppy shouted. Caleb jumped up to the front of the boat and grabbed the pole. He managed to stop the tarpon from going any further and with a surge the tarpon leaped again jumping high out of the ocean. “Bow to the fish let him have some slack or he will break the line.” Caleb leaned over, bowing to the king, as they call it. “Great job,” said Captain Brian. “Give it all you’ve got.” Caleb pulled with all his might and the tarpon, tired now, rolled over on his back. Captain Brian finally got the leader in his hand and pulled the fish to the side of the boat. “Poppy, grab the camera,” huffed Caleb. “Hurry!”
Caleb and Captain Brian lifted the tarpon in the boat. He was more than six feet long and easily 150 pounds. Poppy snapped a dozen quick photos. “Back in the water for you.” said Captain Brian? He held the fish until it recovered and swam away to live for another day.
Everyone was laughing and slapping each other on the back. “Good job…What a morning!” It was only 9 AM and Poppy turned to Caleb.. “Ready to catch another?” Caleb just laughed.
By evening, Caleb, Poppy and Brian were all tired, happy and very hungry. The water had been truly magic that day.