The sharp tug on the fishing reel nearly ripped the rod out of Bob’s hands. He sprang out of his doze as the metal handle slipped to his drooping fingertips.
“Woah…” he said as he jumped to his feet. The green galoshes thumped against his shins as he tried to keep his balance in the wavering canoe.
“What you go?” Joe, at the other end of the narrow boat stirred as well. He pulled the fishing cap off his face and resettled it on his bald head. As water threatened to lap over the sides, he dropped his own slack rod into the hull and placed one meat palm on each railing to steady the small craft.
“Not sure but it feels like a big one.” Bobs sloping shoulders tensed as the line drew taunt.
“Well, pull it in man. Can’t let a little fish get the best of you.” Joe smiled warmly at his friend. His wrinkles deepened with the joke and the scowl it induced on Bobs face. Specks of sweat were blossoming at each ear and trickling down his jowl.
He braced his feet against the rim of the canoe and squatted back down into the hull. Readjusting his two handed grip, he leaned back so that his curved back was flush against the opposite side of the hull. The thin line stretched with the new angle but didn’t give an inch. His large hand clamped down on the reeling rod. With a grunt he started turning it, pulling in the fishing line.
The canoe drifted towards where the line disappeared into the water.
“Come on…” Bob grunted. The small boat started to float in a small circle.
Joe leaned over the side. His face was reflected in the murky water that was so muddy it obscured everything underneath the surface.
“What is it?”
Joe shook his head. “I don’t know. Can’t see.”
Bob reached out and grabbed hold of the end of his rod. He pulled on the line. He jiggled the line. He cursed at the line. He gave it one more final tug.
The line grew slack instantly. The release of tension had him tumbling onto the bottom of the boat. The rod fell into the canoe with a clatter. Out of the water sprang the rest of the thin fishing line and glinting hook. It bounded out and landing on Bob’s stomach with a wet plop.
He sat up, looking at the small hook resting on his round stomach. The metal glinted against the dark red flannel of his button down shirt.
“Looks like you caught something!” Joe laughed in the stern, his hand slapping down on his denim covered knee.
“Guess so.” Bob lifted the hook and brought it to his eyes. The chunk of wet wood with ripped edges spun before him as he turned the small metal object. It stank of muddy depths and had a scent that was annoyingly like the fish they had been out to catch.