A Fish Story


Daniel and I went fishing for the first time.  We got matching fishing poles, small retractable aluminum tubes.  They looked like old television antennae with reels about the size of a large spool of thread.  I wasn’t too worried about how flimsy they were.  We were fishing, but I really didn’t expect to catch anything.

The Kishwaukee River flows through town and cuts across Route 20 about a mile and a half north of our house.  There’s a railroad bridge there and a place to park.  Daniel and I drove over and staked out a place on the north side of the bank.  There were a few trees and tall grass.  We beat down an area and had a seat.  I carefully pulled out a worm from the Styrofoam container and attached half to my hook, half to Daniel’s.  He wrinkled his nose.  My first cast went about three feet, but my next one hit the river.  Daniel did better; he hit the deep water on his first try.  And when we left after an hour or so, our little Styrofoam cooler had his sole catch on ice.

I’m not sure exactly what kind of fish it was.  It put up a pretty good fight for being about seven inches long.  I got my Swiss Army knife and peeled back one of the options that I rarely use.  I cut the fish open and started pulling it apart.

“What are you doing?” Daniel asked.

“I’m gutting the fish,” I replied.  “I’m taking out the organs.”  Daniel looked at the mess with horrified fascination.

“You mean the insides?”  I nodded.  The backbone of the fish came out in one piece and I set it aside and flipped the fillets over.  “Now what are you doing?”

“I’m taking the skin off,” I said.

“Wait,” said Daniel.  “If you took all the insides out and now you’re taking the outside off.  What are we going to eat?!”

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