I was blown away by this piece of writing from Linden Jones, who at 12 years old is already dealing with a serious fishing addiction. He has the writing talent to bring us all right into the deadly pluffmud with him! I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do. Thanks to Linden for allowing me to post his epic story!
Blood, Mud, and Saltwater
by Linden Jones
The jolt was unbelievable. I tripped over a sunken log (like the oaf I am) and fell to my knees. My head went underwater; when I came up again I spat out mud, crushed pieces of seashell, and a lot of water. I stood back up in the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees, knee deep in water and ankle deep in the deadly pluffmud. The sinister mud didn’t hurt you but it acted like dried cement when you stepped in it. I leaned back with my rod to pull the fish towards me.
To my surprise, it actually supported me. With another vicious tug, I saw a reddish-brown hump rise out of the water, glistening in the twelve noon sun. And I knew I had hooked a red drum.
And so it began…My knuckles turned white as fresh snow over the handle grip on my rod. I was jittering all over with the pure shock of this animal’s strength. And then it hit me.
I don’t want to lose this fish. I don’t want to go back to the house and have my cousins tease me about losing this fish. And then it was like I went deaf. I didn’t hear Dad yell. I didn’t hear Uncle Frank yell, “Fight ‘im, boy!” I reeled the line. And the fish knew that I had challenged him. With a pull that made me feel like a chew toy, and made my arms feel like rubber bands, the fish struck back.
I was yanked forward, but resisted long enough to pull back with the line. The rod and I had fused into one living, breathing warrior. My line, instead of the 12-pound test braid nylon, was now the lifeline that held everything together. I knew that if the lifeline snapped, I would drown in an ocean of insults. The fish knew this, too.
He made a run for an oyster bed, to cut the bond that tethered him to me and his lemon juicy, chili peppery, warm and steamy fate. I quickly cut him off with a technique that I only use for the strongest bass and the heaviest catfish. He was heading away (massive mistake) against the incoming tide and heading down. I pulled back with the tide and up diagonally, overwhelming him and pulling him one step closer to victory. I may be a rookie in salt water, but I am the fresh water master.
Fifteen minutes later, I was covered in blood, mud, and salt water. My arms and legs were sore, and my face burnt like an idiot who had tried to put out a fire with gasoline. And I was holding a red drum.