He cut the outboard engine and felt a heavy silence blanket the area. He threw out the grapnel anchor, stretched languidly and baited the fishing hook. He used his own special carp bait recipe; a can of cream corn and some potato flakes which were mixed together until thick. Corn pops were then dropped in; the mixture softened and was ready to be threaded onto the hook without breaking. Bert cast the line over his shoulder hearing the whizzing cry of the pulley. The bait plopped weightily into the water. He filled the yellow, ten liter bucket with water from the lake and scooted back until he could rest his back against the side of the boat. Pulling his hat further down over his neck, Bert settled in for the wait with the rod between his splayed knees and his forefinger on the line.
Half an hour in, Bert popped a beer and couldn’t resist smacking his lips as the cold, bubbly, bitter taste brought instant relief from the relentless sun. Occasionally a wispy, grey cloud would creep in front of the sun, but otherwise the day remained one of those beautifully humid summer postcard days. A sudden tug on the line pulled Bert’s thoughts from luxurious woolgathering. A harder tug rippled through the line and Bert yanked the rod upwards and immediately reeled in. He could feel the energetic struggle of the fish against the hook firmly lodged in its mouth. Bert yanked the rod slightly to his left and reeled in slower, knowing that impatience could see the catch escaping. The next five minutes were spent bringing the fish closer to the boat. Bert grabbed the net and leaned over the side to scoop up his catch; a heavy bodied fish, with a yellow belly and large, bronze colored, glittering scales lay in the net. Bert hauled the carp in, took the hook out and laid the fish gently inside the yellow bucket.
Three hours later with a forty minute break for lunch in which the sandwiches and another beer were wolfed down, Bert had caught a total of four carp. He guessed the accumulative weight at a little over eleven kilograms. As a last ditch effort he decided to try for bass and attached a green, plastic lure to a larger, stronger hook and a heavier sinker. When reeled in the lure imitated the undulations of a worm which were irresistible to bass. Bert cast the line powerfully into the hazy blue waters and waited for the sinker to pull it down to the murky bottom, as bass were bottom feeders. He reeled the line in slowly and regularly. The only thing he caught was a ragged piece of rotting cloth.
Bert patiently cast the line fractionally further to the left. The sinker sunk to the bottom and again Bert reeled in. This time he felt the hook snag on something. Elated, he yanked the rod to ensure that the hook was firmly secured and reeled in. The thing at the end of the line, however did not feel like a fish. It had a dead weight about it, seemed much heavier and dragged on the line, bending the rod at a 60 degree angle. The ominous feeling that Bert experienced on the road now flooded through him again. He had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. There was nothing for it but to keep reeling the line in even though he felt like cutting it free and high tailing it out of there. It seemed like a horror movie where the audience knows for sure something is lurking in the dark behind the closed door yet the main character fearlessly treads over the threshold. Bert was sure that something unimaginably horrifying would be at the end of the line, yet he couldn’t seem to help reeling it ever closer to the boat. Madness, inquisitiveness, call it what you like, he had to see what was there.