Fishing can be a little like pulling teeth

Jul. 28, 2014 @ 10:47 PM

About six years ago, I told my oldest son Chase that I would do anything to help him catch his first marlin.

Along the way, he withstood the fury of the sea.

Along the way he watched a boat sink.

Along the way he watched baits, reeled in dolphin, wahoo, tuna, and was on the boat when multiple marlins were caught and released.

However, his turn in the chair had not occurred and each occasion on the water, he reminded me of this. It was two Thursdays ago that I thought about all of this and on the eve of a two-day fishing adventure, suddenly the thought of catching a fish was being interrupted by the high-pitched sound of a drill.

“Just a little more time,” said the dentist going into the second hour of trying to remove the molar that had been perfectly fine since the molar breeched my tender gums, 35 years ago.

The tooth pain had started three days before and the infection in the root was growing and the pain before the extraction was absolutely unbearable. When I left the dentist office that afternoon, one tooth was gone and my head was sore and yet I still had this desire to fish.

I remember the ride out to sea that following day. I also recall a few moments on the water. The seas were rough and I was sore, in pain, miserable, and most of the day I apologized for sleeping but really, it was all I could do.

All the while, I thought about my boys and their eagerness and resiliency and their desire to catch something special. Honestly, it was awful. Yet, sometimes we need awful to appreciate those times when it becomes awesome.

Almost like a cliché, the next day was gorgeous and the water was blue and I was on my feet and enjoying the sea and her change of moods. We didn’t talk about catching a marlin. Instead, we focused on being together and seeing parts of earth that some never do all while watching container ships pass in the distance and catching a few dolphins along the way.

Suddenly, the reel began to whine. There was a commotion atop the sea and a splash and from out of the water came a white marlin and all at once, Chase was tight with his fish.

For thirty minutes, he reeled and held tight and along the way he grew hot and he turned various colors of white and red and he made grunting noises I had not ever heard him make. He focused and he talked little and I remember the determination on his face and I encouraged him to breathe easy, as he could and be smooth as he should.

Each revolution of the reel brought the fish closer and through angler’s luck, the fish surfaced beside the boat.

When Paul brought the fish on board, Chase immediately sprang from the chair and provided what I will always recognize as the biggest smile his mouth has ever produced. The fish was released and hugs ensued and soon the baits were wet again and the next search began.

When he finished hugging his brother, I came to beside them both and I said to them, “I lost a tooth for that fish; Ayden, I would do the same for you, too. Now, it is your turn to catch a marlin.”

Without showing me his teeth, my youngest son barely opened his mouth and pointed to the knife in his pocket and he said, “I’ve got a knife.”

Enjoy your time outdoors.

hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com