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Blue Fish : A Short Story

Updated on May 8, 2012

Author's Note

The following is a recount of a day in the life of both my father and I while living in the suburbs of New York City in Westchester, New York. One of the most glaring realities our family faced while living in the United States was the fact that Americans actually fished for sport rather than for the purpose of sustenance. It was our belief that hunting and fishing should solely be for the purpose of feeding oneself and that doing so for any other reason was wasteful, cruel, and done in vain. This story is not completely fictional nor is it completely non-fictional, rather somewhere in between. I've been contemplating on writing this story for a long time now and hope that I can include it in a compilation of similar stories detailing the recounts of my family's journey to America. Please enjoy and thank you for reading.


Atlantic Blue Fish
Atlantic Blue Fish

“Now hook it like this,” my father said to me while sliding a silver fish hook through the mouth of a shiner he was holding. “Make sure the point comes out on the other side of his body. Hold him steady and don’t let him go.”

“Yes, pop,” I replied.

We started out early that morning before sunrise. My father woke me up and I labored to get out of bed. "It's too early!" I countered. He shook his head: "It's never too early to go fishing," he said in our native Lao. I forgot that today was the day my father was finally going to teach me how to fish. I rose to get ready and watched with jealousy at my two brothers who were still fast asleep. They looked peaceful and undisturbed in their beds. While walking to the bathroom to shower, I wished that I was back underneath the covers of my warm bed. By the time my dad and I were dressed with our lunch and gear packed and ready to go, the rest of our family were all still asleep. It was Sunday after all.

All the bait we used to fish with was caught by using a square green net whose corners was connected by four iron legs. Preparing the net was tough because the legs usually didn’t cooperate and so refused to fit into the grooves of the fulcrum. We used small bits of canned tuna to lure minnow and shiner to our net. My father taught me to drop the bits of tuna atop the net after it submerged in the water. If I happened to drop the bits of tuna into the net before it submerged into the water, the tuna would float to the surface and then simply drift away with the fast moving current.

A Mercedes Benz drove right by where my father's green Raleigh and my purple Schwinn bicycle was leaning, which was against a long, high rock wall. The two of us watched as the car went by. We stood holding our fishing poles while waiting for a bite. A Golden Retriever looked eager to see us while hanging out the passenger window. Sitting next to it was a little blond haired girl who looking out of the other window to the other side of Red Bridge. Her parents kept their eyes on the road and didn't seem to notice us.

Off in the distance, I could see the large Victorians and brick mansions crowding the landscape. The houses were separated by large elms, maples, and beeches and where one property ended another began. Some of the houses had segregated servant's quarters. What once were stables from a bygone era were now garages to shelter the owner's cars and most of the other houses had gazebos or flowery archways like large garlands leading out to foyers or vestibules. Others yet had guest houses and all had very large backyards that were usually accompanied by in-ground pools which were perfect for parties and entertaining in the summer time. The weather always seemed to be pleasant every time I'd visit the harbor. I sat silent in the stillness next to my father waiting for a bite while feeling the occasional cool breeze that would blow over the miles and miles of Long Island Sound.

We watched as a gray bearded man aboard a boat fight methodically with his fishing pole just as soon as his line went taut. "Here he is..." The man seemed announce to us. He was reeling and jerking his fishing pole neither fast nor slow, but with perfect precision much the same way my dad taught me. His fishing pole curved like a rainbow. While watching, I held my breath hoping that both his pole or fishing line wouldn't break. When his catch was near, he reached out with his left hand and caught hold of his line. With his other hand he held a large fishing net which reminded me of a windsock. The man quickly brought his net underneath his catch to save it from getting free. The man just caught a Blue Fish. Sometimes people simply called them Blue for short. The fish the man caught must have weighed at least fifteen pounds.

"Magnificent, isn't it?" my father said. I didn't understand.

"They don't look blue, pop."

"In certain light they do," he explained. "But either way, that is what they are called and that is their name...Blue Fish."

"He must be lucky," I reflected.

"It has nothing to do with luck. That man was here long before we got here. Much the same way we caught Shiner, he caught Shiner. He used the Shiner to catch a Snapper fish and with the Snapper, he was able to catch a Bunker fish. He then used the Bunker to catch the Blue Fish, which enjoy Bunker more than anything else. But this is how it works. This is how he was able to do what he did." I shook my head. "What's wrong?"

"That sounds like a lot of work, pop. I guess we're not catching any Blue Fish then." My father looked sad. He paused before he gave me his long lecture that I did not want to hear:

"You are young. There is much that you have to learn in your life. If you think that you cannot do something, then you cannot. If you think you can do something, then you will find a way. As you grow up, you will find that there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who try and those who do not. In life, you will find regret in doing the things that are easy and be rewarded for doing the things that are difficult. You will have to make up your mind. To not try at all is the ultimate failure. Remember I told you that, my son. Remember my words." My father then stood up and began packing up our gear and was walking back to his green Raleigh bicycle before I could respond. I was surprised at first, but then realized how late in the day it really was. The sun was beginning to set over the Sound. I could barely hear the snow white seagulls hovering in the distance. My mom was getting our supper ready for the evening and we didn't want to be late. It didn't matter that we didn't catch anything that day because there was always next week. We could always come back and fish all over again.

And I will catch that Blue Fish someday, I thought. I just know it.


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    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks Robert. I will do the same! Lemme know if you succeed!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      4 years ago

      Thank you. It brought back some memories. I hope to try my luck with blue fish again some day.

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you billybuc. For some reason it took me a while to finally put this story to paper. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautiful story and reflections!

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You hit the nail right on the head. Thank you Romanian for commenting. Your interest is greatly appreciated.

    • Romanian profile image


      4 years ago from Oradea, Romania

      This is a very nice and educative story. To not try any more it's the biggest failure.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Your stories are rich and meaningful. This one reminded me of fishing with my father and also fishing with my sons. Thanks for sharing your story telling gift with us.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 

      4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Loved your short story. I love to fish too and I've learned how to fish by looking at the lucky ones who caught fish. I still do.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The common carp is a hardy fish, and koi reatin that durability. Koi must be kept in a 240 gallon container per fish. This means two koi would require 480 gallons of space. Koi are cold water fish, so it's advisable to have a meter or more of depth in areas of the world that become warm during the summer. In areas that get harsh winters, it is a good idea to have a pond that is a minimum of 1.5 meters (4 1/2 feet) deep so that it won't freeze solid. It is also a good idea to keep a space open with a bubbler and a horse trough heater.Koi's bright colors put them at a severe disadvantage against predators; a white-skinned Kohaku is a visual dinner bell against the dark green of a pond. Herons, kingfishers, raccoons, cats, foxes, and badgers are all capable of emptying a pond of its fish. A well-designed outdoor pond will have areas too deep for herons to stand in, overhangs high enough above the water that mammals can't reach in, and shade trees overhead to block the view of aerial passersby. It may prove necessary to string nets or wires above the surface. The pond should include a pump and filtration system to keep the water clear.Koi are an omnivorous fish and will often eat a wide variety of foods, including peas, lettuce, and watermelon. Koi food is designed not only to be nutritionally balanced, but also to float so as to encourage them to come to the surface. When they are eating, it is possible to check them for parasites and ulcers. Koi will recognize the person feeding them and gather around at dinnertime. They can even be trained to take the food from one's hand.In the winter their digestive system slows nearly to a halt, and they eat very little, perhaps no more than nibbles of algae from the bottom. Their appetite won't come back until the water warms up in the spring. When the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 b0C), feeding, particularly with protein, should be halted or the food can go rancid in their stomach causing sickness.If kept properly, koi can live about 30–40 years. Some have reportedly lived up to 200 years.Owned a petstore that's how they ship fish.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hey friend - I remember this story and came back for a refresher because I enjoyed it so much. If I did not say it before, I will say it now...great job and cheers

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hello, BP. I can always count on you to cheer me up sweetie. I wish I could be here the way I used to be when first I started at HubPages. Thanks for your humor as always :D

    • bingskee profile image


      7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      sweet! :)

      did you catch the blue fish?

      your father is an inspiration. reminds me of my Papa who also loves to give words of wisdom.

    • manlypoetryman profile image


      7 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

      Great was like I was on the water's edge...listening to your father's wise he was telling thyem yo you. Well always!

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      Well done man, I missed your writing

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      I enjoyed this story. I'll be reading more of your work.

    • atlovesbm profile image


      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      Great story! Reminds me of when my grandpa told us he caught a huge cat fish in Laos!I hope you caught that Blue fish :)

    • katyzzz profile image


      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Nice hub, good story, about boy and his father, we need more like this

    • chicagoguy profile image

      Raj Lally Batala 

      7 years ago from Chicago ,USA

      liked the story way you plotted !! good work !!

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Great story but even a greater message for those people that give up to easy on their dreams of being successful at something. It makes not difference whether its fishing or starting a business or anything in between we all have to believe in ourselves and never give up.

      If things come too easy then there is no achievement, ( well that's my opinion anyway). Great incentive hub should be an incentive winner anyway.

    • blondepoet profile image


      7 years ago from australia

      ok Dohn I suspect that something fishy is going on here. LMAO. Have missed you. Glad to see you writing like a bunny rabbit with 6 AA charged batteries in it. Hope u had a great Xmas x

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I'm doing well, thanks Cris! I hope you're the same. I got a couple of other stories I'm planning to write, but my main goal this year is to find an agent. I just have to finish editing my first and perhaps most important novel. I'll definitely keep you updated! By the way, you should see the "messes" I've made :D

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      And am I glad to see you're still writing away! I hope all's fine dandy with life, work, everything. In my excitement in commenting again after a looong time I made a mess of my last sentence above, it should be "as far as this..." LOL

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Geez! It's great to see you, Cris. I hope your Christmas went well and I guess your comment is a Christmas present in itself :D Thank you for that. Of course I know that I always have your support no matter what. You are a true friend.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I'd rather have you catching THAT blue fish than winning some obscure writing contest! Hahaha Yes, I'm sooo back. Hope to see you around.

      Of course you're a winner in this wannabe literary critic and writer is concerned! Hands down! :D

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you, Phyllis. You know, I was hoping that this story would win the HubPatron of the Arts Contest in the category of Creative Writing. I was disappointed when it didn't win as I believed that it was worthy of such fanfare. But that doesn't detract me from believing in it and its message. I love fishing too and when I do have the time I want to go back to doing just that. Santa Cruz sounds nice!

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you, G Miah. It's good to see you too! I'd be lying if I told you I did ;) In time I will! Keep in touch!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      7 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Dohn. I really enjoyed reading Blue Fish. It is a great story of how a father teaches and is very endearing. I hope you catch that Blue Fish soon. I learned something new with this story and I love learning new things. I love fishing and have never in my whole life caught anything bigger than a flounder in the ocean at Santa Cruz.

      Up Beautiful Interesting

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 

      7 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Hi Dohn! Nice to see you're back to what you do best!!!

      So, have you caught a blue fish yet?

      Glad to see you back mate!

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you for reading this, Carrie! Yes, and I continue to learn from my father everyday. Hold on a sec, I think I got a bite :D

    • carriethomson profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      hi dohn intresting story! Seems u learnt a lot more than fishing that day!! best luck for catching a big blue fish someday soon:))


    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hi, Shalini! It's so good to see you! Thanks for that and I plan on doing exactly that!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      7 years ago from India

      Great story, Dohn! Here's to catching that Blue Fish soon!

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You're not late, Emie :D I've been playing out this story in my head for years now and so to finally put it into print was a relief. I'm hoping to add it to a compilation of a couple of my short stories detailing the immigration experience of my family during the 1980's. We'll see, I guess. Thank you for reading this! I'm happy you did and I really do hope I win!

    • emievil profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi. Sorry to be late :).

      Great comeback hub, if I might say so. This is one lesson worth keeping for a lifetime. Good luck with the contest Dohn!

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hi Elena! And it's great to see you too! Yes, it is good to be back. I've been working a lot lately, but I'm doing my best to at least go back reading, commenting, and writing hubs again. Just to be responding to comments is in itself rewarding if you can believe that! Thank you for reading this. I still hold my father's words in the highest regards.

    • Lady_E profile image


      7 years ago from London, UK

      Beautiful Story - lots of wise Words.

      Dohn, it's so lovely to see you back. I have been visiting your profile and noticed you had been a way for a while.

      Best Wishes


    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      @jfay2011-There's really nothing like it :) Thanks for reading and commenting!

      @mtsi1098-It's great to see again :D Yes, my father sure did and I still remember all of the words he said, not to mention the message it conveyed. Thank you again my friend!

      @Randy Behavior-There she is!!! How have you been, sweetie? Suffice to say, it's great to see you again. Yep, I'm back and don't plan on leaving :D Here's me returning that squeeze ;)

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 

      7 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Dohn I didn't realize you were back!!! (cyber squeeze)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your father gave you some great advise on that fishing day, something to use beyond a single day just like learning to fish for eating and not sport...Nice job...cheers

    • jfay2011 profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice. My great uncle used to take us fishing.

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      It's great to see you, drbj! As I said before, this story was long overdue (much like the Blue Fish I still have yet to catch) and for me to finally see it in print form is relief in itself. You give such good compliments! Thank you so much for reading and of course commenting!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      You proved with this outstanding hub, dohn, that you do know a thing or two about writing a short story with a parable that is easy to digest. Lile the bluefish, I guess. Voted up.

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hi juneaukid! Thanks for stopping by and reading this. My hopes when writing this is to win the HubPatron of the Arts Contest. Just to get a little recognition would be great as well. I really do enjoy fishing and everything that entails. I'm sure that you know a thing or two about fishing as well! Thank you.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      This story has a nice philosophical line that hooks the reader and at the same time describes the patient process of actually hooking of fish. Well done!

    • dohn121 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you so much for reading this and for being the first Hubber to post. It means a lot!

    • mljdgulley354 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great fishing story with some very wise words for all of us readers to put to use


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