The Eight Pounder
The Eight Pounder by Kimberly Horvath
The Eight Pounder
My moment of glory occurred this August when I triumphantly caught an eight pound catfish. I was goaded into a friendly fishing competition while on a weekend getaway with my family at Indian Acres Campground, when a family member remarked to my son, “We don’t need women for fishing. They get in the way.” I needed to prove this statement untrue and show my son that gender has nothing to do with one’s skills and abilities, and so with the other women in my family gathered beside me, I made a wager against the men. The biggest catch wins, and the stakes were high: the losers would have to clean dinner for the rest of the weekend and admit their inferiority. I had not intended to spend much time fishing but these unforeseen circumstances caused me to defer from my original mindset of swimming and sunbathing by the pool. I knew what I had to do. I had to catch a fish, and it had to be big. The men had set the minnow traps and headed to the bait shop. Upon their return, the men took all the best tackle and rods. After everyone had been properly equipped, the competition officially began. We had approximately five hours to fish. I began to bait the Spiderman starter rod my son graciously loaned me after he upgraded to a stronger, more advanced rod one of the guys had brought. My comrades and I chose an area that would provide some shade from the scorching rays of the sun. We also decided to keep our competitors within our sights so there could be no trickery or false claims made in their favor. After about three hours of fishing, it was not looking so good for us ladies. Although we were keeping up with quantity, we were pulling in much smaller fish then our adversaries. They had us beat thus far with a three pound, four ounce bass. After another hour went by, the three pound, four ounce bass was still the largest caught, and we had not even come close to that size. The position of the sun had changed, and the trees did not provide as much protection from the hot rays of the sun. We were under constant attack from the various insects familiar to the area. The other ladies could not tolerate these harsh conditions and retreated into the shelter of the nearby trailer. Tired and alone, I pressed on. I could not give up. The immense heat and the painful stings were almost too much to bear, and I knew that time was not on my side. I was mentally preparing myself for the possibility of defeat when I felt a tug on the line. I watched my bobber go down and up and down again. I began to turn the reel but stopped because there was a strong resistance from the other end. I did not know if my line would hold or if my starter rod had enough resilience to handle the tension. I did know that this would be my final struggle; if I could bring this one in, I would surely be declared the winner. I slowly reeled the creature in knowing that my line was sure to snap. Everyone had made their way over to watch, and I could hear the women quietly encouraging me while the men were heckling from a safe distance. I only had one chance of bringing this monster ashore. I grabbed the net and waded into the murky brackish water, careful not to lose my footing as the ever flowing currents of the river pushed against my already tired and tattered body. Then, in one swift motion, I plunged the net into the river and under the fish pulling it back up just as my line gave way. I made my way back to the river bank and placed the ferocious catfish on the scale. Eight pounds, one ounce was the official weight. I mercifully released the fish back to its domain; I did not show such mercy to my rivals. That evening, after a great messy family feast, I relaxed with the women and held a toast to commemorate our victory as the men stayed behind to perform the treacherous tasks of cleaning up after the feast that had been previously bestowed upon the losing party. I felt empowered, for I had survived the fierce climate, conquered the raging waters and the relentless beast that dwells inside it, and I had triumphed over the men.