Five in the morning, walking along the Alaskan pier to meet my captain for the day. The cold temperature made my lips numb and my hands shiver. It was the complete opposite of what it was like in my hometown, California.
California is known for its warm and stable weather, unlike Alaska over here making me freeze to death. Now, back to the story, I was on a journey to sail the Pacific Ocean hoping to catch the seasonal King Salmon. This species of salmon is best seen from June to August and is the most sought after for its quality of meat.
My grandpa and I reached the boat that we will be fishing on. The captain walked out and greeted us. He was named Mason.
Capt. Mason had a huge gray beard and wore a fishing hat. He had very dirty and ripped-up pieces of clothing on him. His body looks tough as if he is able to take on a whale. By my first look of him, I knew I was in good hands with this rugged and seasoned veteran of the Alaskan waters.
After being greeted, Mason gave us a tour around his boat. The boat was small but strong, it was able to withstand the harsh climates while traveling on the ocean. Although it was a tough boat, the smell was not so great. It smelled like rotten fish. After being introduced to the boat, I was handed my fishing rod for the day. The 14 feet long rod looked down on me, with a huge golden reel.
I whispered to myself, “Oh wow, this thing is huge.” I started to get excited.
Later, we sailed off towards the best spot Mason knows to fish. On the way, I saw many animals I have never seen before such as bald eagles and grizzly bears. We would throw some of our fishing baits into the sea and watch the eagles swoop down and grip the bait away. I managed to take a picture of this process; it truly was a wonder to see this happen in front of me.
When we reached the destination, my grandpa and I started fishing. After about one hour, my rod started to move. I grabbed onto it and started reeling. The fish in Alaska were much tougher and harder to reel than those from the other places I have fished before. I reeled and reeled until I saw the fish. It appeared to be shiny and red, with a huge eye.
Finally, I finished reeling the fish and found out it was a red snapper. All skin and bones, hungry during the winter season, it looked at me pitifully, almost as if begging for mercy, for a chance to get fatter in the waters and maybe leave some offspring next season before ending up on some sushi chef’s cutting board, and I relented. Back into the ocean, he went, as I wished him good luck and good riddance.
Five hours went by and I started regretting my decision of releasing my catch. In fact, that was the only fish we were able to catch so far. I walked onto the deck and sat down to eat my lunch.
When I opened the bag of chips, Mason screamed at me. “Hey DUDE! YOR FISHIN’ ROD GOIN CRAZY!”
I ran out the deck and saw my fishing rod being dragged by something powerful against the currents.
A few more moments and it would have probably snapped on me, so I quickly yanked the handle, grabbed the reel, and began setting a rhythm to reel it in.
Mason gave me a metal stomach protector to put the fishing rod on in order to reel in the big catch. He packed my back and said, “You get em’ kid.”
I was ready to fight this fish, I was determined not to lose this catch. I reeled harder.
“Move the rod up an’ then star’ reelin’ as you move down,” Mason said. I followed his instructions and slowly made progress.
Thirty minutes went by and I was still fighting this fish. My body was dripping in sweat and I could feel my muscles giving up. It felt exactly like doing pushups. The more you do it, the weaker your muscle becomes, and sooner or later, giving up hits you.
With the amount of pain most would have probably given up, but not me. I endured and continued to reel out of my curiosity of what is hooked on the line. Then suddenly I heard a SNAP. It was like my life was flashing over me as I saw the tip of my fishing rod snap. The snapped-off portion slowly fell into the ocean in front of me. I immediately felt like a failure.
I thought to myself, “That was probably my last and only chance to be getting a big catch in Alaska again.”
But, I looked into the ocean and saw a glimpse of the shiny fish. The silver scales cut through the water with a fishing line attached to it. Then, it slowly disappears into the depth of the ocean.
Due to this sighting of what I could’ve caught. I became inspired.
I thought to myself, “What was that? It was huge! I will for sure catch you next time.”
I walked back into the deck with a smile. My dream has now been born, and I still dream of catching a huge fish. Maybe even a fish bigger than myself next time.