It was a lazy saturday afternoon and I was enjoying the Florida autumn in my living room, mindlessly watching the waves wash up on the bit of sand at the edge of the lake mere feet away from the sliding back door. My roommate Kris was sitting on the recliner with his laptop writing a paper or something and Manu was lying on the couch lengthwise, his massive frame mostly hanging off the edge. He had spent the night on that same couch, having gotten too fucked up to even attempt driving back to West Palm Beach at 3:00 AM last night.
After taking a few bong rips to kill the boredom, we found ourselves, as usual, staring at the television waiting for the sun to set so we could start drinking without feeling bad. Quickly flippping through the channels, we catch only brief glimpses of what's on: C-SPAN is showing some boring congressional hearing, Discovery is showing how pencils are made, HGTV is showing some couple buying terribly overpriced real estate, Versus is showing some guys trying to catch marlin....
"Wait, go back to that Marlin fishing thing."
We spend the next half hour or so watching some guy trying to bring in a marlin. He complains more than he actually fishes.
"You know, I still haven't caught anything out of this lake back here," I mention casually.
"Yeah, lakes around here aren't doing too well because of this cold snap," mumbles Manu. It's 65 degrees outside, quite chilly for our standards.
"Hey...I bet I could catch something sitting right here on this couch." Manu stares at me blankly. "Wanna give it a try?"
"Fuck it. Why not." Manu gets up off the couch and I grab a slice of bread from the kitchen. We walk out the back door and I grab my shitty 20 dollar Wal-Mart fishing rod. It's already rigged to catch bait fish, so we walk a few steps out to the edge of the lake and start walking around it looking for bait. A few yards away from my house, a small drain is surrounded by small bream. I roll a small piece of bread into a ball with my thumb and forefinger, wet it a bit with my tongue, and stick it onto the tiny golden hook at the end of the line. Manu tosses a few bigger pieces of bread out to the fish to get them riled up a bit, and I toss the line out. Within seconds I've hooked a tiny bream. He tries to run away but I simply pull the rod up and bring him out of the water. Perfect.
I take the hook out of his mouth and set the bream aside. I rig up the rod with a bigger circle hook, throw my bream on the hook and cast out about 20 yards off the bank. We turn the drag down all the way and peel out enough line to bring the rod inside my living room, set it down by the door and get back to watching TV.
Excited but not really expecting much, we spend the next 20 minutes or so patiently waiting until...
The line is running. Without a moments hesitation, I'm up and on the rod, reeling in, hoping the circle hook will do its job. Heart racing, I slowly reel in maybe a foot or two of line, and feel it go limp.
"Damn it, lost him!" I sit back down on the love seat, rod still in hand. Now I'm seriously fishing from my living room.
My bait fish is dead from the hit; I can feel him sinking to the bottom of the lake. This is okay - as the water is cooler than usual the fish would probably prefer to stay deep. I feel the dead fish hit the bottom of the lake and within seconds the line is running again. Again, I start reeling, and again the line goes limp. I start to understand what's going on.
"Our bait fish isn't hooked anymore..." I mumble as I let the line drop back to the bottom.
Kris and Manu are staring intently, silently waiting for an explanation, but I'm in the zone right now.
I jig the line in an attempt to make the dead bait fish move. It works. Once again, the line is running. This time he's not getting away. I wait for the fish to peel out a bit more line to remove any slack, and yank upwards on the rod, reeling in hard and fast. Now I've got him.
"COME ON BITCH!" I'm on my feet, standing in the middle of my living room, fighting what seems to be a decent sized fish. As I pull him closer to the bank, I see him start flaling around at the surface of the water. I'm on another level at this point. My heart is pounding in my ears, and every muscle in my body is tensed. A few more seconds of pulling and reeling and he's on the grass in my backyard.
"WOOOOH!" The entire neighborhood probably hears me as I run out to see what I've caught. It's a smallmouth bass, about 16 inches in length and greener than I've seen any bass before. It's a beauty. I was right about the bait fish - it's dead and hanging with line running through its lips about a foot above where the hook is lodged in the bass' mouth. It must've wriggeld itself loose.
I grab the bass by it's lower lip and hold it up to show Manu and Kris. They're both smiling widely, enjoying my excitement almost as much as I am.
"We're eating bass tonight!"
It was the best fish I've ever tasted.