Beginner's Allowing

On a friend’s invitation, I signed up for a deep-sea fishing expedition off the shores of Corpus Christi, Texas prior to returning for my sophomore year in college.

Far into the murky waters of the Gulf, I discovered we were booked on a commercial charter with professionals. I knew nothing about the intricacies and best practices required for this kind of fishing. The dozen skilled fishermen began perching themselves circularly along the railings and casting their lines.  My friend and I mimicked their preparation and cast our lines as well.

Within a matter of minutes, a hard jolt started pulling my nylon cord. Gripping the handle, I begin to pull and buck the line to gain control but the weight on the other end felt enormous.

Grunting and gasping out, “Excuse me,” I started frantically crawling over and under the rest of the fishermen that encircled the deck as the catch began zigzagging around the circumference of the boat.

On the sixth revolution around,...

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