Grandpa and grandsons drove a long way to fish for brook trout. But willow bushes surrounded the best spots in the stream.
"I just want to get one huge fish," complained Travis.
He tried everywhere possible, including the middle of foamy rapids. Sad to say, but only small fish were biting.
Each time Colin pulled one from the stream, he asked, "Grandpa? This one a keeper?"
"Too small," his older brother Travis quickly answered. Two six inch speckled trout hung from his forked stick.
"Time to head back," grandpa announced.
Colin was quiet as they left the stream and ended back at Mr. Best's home. This is where they dug up worms earlier this morning.
"Hi Mr. Best!" said Travis, as he stepped out of the car.
Colin held out his small empty hands. "No fish today," he said.
"How would you like to catch a really big fish?" Mr. Best asked. The boys gulped, barely able to speak.
Both men chuckled. "Get your lines ready," they said. Colin clipped on his brand new Red Devil spinner. And Travis took a wiggly worm, from the plastic box on his belt.
Mr. Best showed them a small fishing pond, behind the house. "You can keep any rainbow trout," he said, "but only one each."
Travis stared as dark forms slithered back and forth beside the bank. Any one would be perfect.
"Cool," said Colin.
"But, you'll never catch the biggest one in the pond." Mr. Best smiled. "He's too smart to get caught by two young boys."
"What happens if my first fish is only a small one?" Travis asked.
"Then, that will be the one you keep," Mr. Best answered.
"I'm going to catch the largest one in the pond," Travis said.
"I will," Colin said firmly.
"You can be my helper," Travis said. "You can carry the fish net."
"That's the plan," grandpa said. "Catch him, and he's yours!"
Travis and Colin walked slowly around the pond, stepping carefully over rocks and around thistles.
They were careful not to crush the purple wild flowers.
Then Travis lay on his tummy, and peered into the water. He looked for a hideout any large fish might use.
Colin helped by dropping bits of worm, hoping a large fish would come to investigate.
None looked like the largest one.
They knew their grandpa and Mr. Best were wondering what was happening.
But Travis' plan was just beginning. He began teasing the fish by making a few short casts. Then quickly pulled back his lure, before any fish bit.
"Try farther out," Colin said.
"Yes farther out!" Grandpa and Mr. Best shouted from their lawn chairs.
Travis walked slowly around the pond, pulling his fishing line through the water. Colin followed close by with a fish net.
One rainbow trout seemed very interested. Travis moved the line quickly so it wouldn't bite the worm.
"That looked like a neat one," Colin said.
"Not big enough," Travis answered.
Another fish showed itself, then another and another. There was no time to taste the bait before Travis pulled away from curious fish.
Both men kept saying, "Hey, that's a good one!" and, "Why not that one?"
But, Travis was only interested in the largest fish.
He began to run around the pond, making sure he kept ahead of the fish, and puffing brother. The wiggling worm bait was getting a lot of attention.
Their grandpa kept shaking his head. "Get one. Get any one. They're all big fish."
Travis could see his plan working. A line of fish followed his bait in single file. Their open mouths followed the teasing worm.
Some leaped over one other, trying to get closer.
Travis ran faster and faster. More huffs and puffs from Colin, trying to keep up. The older boy was only after the largest fish.
Grandpa jumped around yelling "ATTABOY!"
Travis and Colin were like marathon runners speeding around the pond, shirttails flying. They jumped over a tire near the shore. Then ducked under tree branches and dodged brush.
They leaped and ducked beside the water. Travis was careful not to tangle his fishing line. By now all the fish in the pond were in a straight line, chasing the bait.
Then it finally happened.
The smallest fish grabbed the bait and hook, tugging really hard. The next fish gave one leap and tried to swallow the smaller fish.
The next fish did the same to one in front.
Each kept doing the same, until every fish in the pond was holding onto the one in front of the line.
Grandpa and Mr. Best were still as statues. Their open mouths meant the boy's plan worked.
"Amazing!" they shouted like a choir.
Now, it was the grandson's turn to stare.
A line of fish stretched in single file all around the pond. Each stubbornly hung onto the tail of the one in front. They joined together as if they were one very long fish.
The boys caught every fish in the pond. And the largest one was at the very end!
Richard and Esther Provencher
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