My Christmas Fish Story, "I Once Caught A Fish THIS Big"

Lawrence holding Fish caught with flimsy poleby Lawrence A. Robinson
When I was a child, from the age of about six years old until my 'tween' years, the one Christmas present that I could always depend on was roller skates. There are six siblings, one girl. There is about a ten year span between my oldest brother and my youngest. My youngest brother, Richard is about three years younger than me and Lorenzo is less than two years older than I am. The three of us are the youngest of my parents children.

Christmas skates were expected, received and enjoyed every year that I can remember. Surely, there were other presents and gifts but at that age, we really looked forward to the skates. The three of us would play with our toys and have a grand time. We would eat lunch then go out an skate. We lived in a friendly community and everyone knew each other so we would skate around several city blocks.

Often our friends would join us and there could be 12 or more of us skating around the neighborhood. The Christmas Holiday was two weeks long so we developed skating games to have fun.

As we got a little older, we would venture farther and father from home. The skates became a means of transportation as well as fun. We would skate to the park and other places, carrying other thing that we needed like balls and bats and gloves and whatever, to enjoy at the park. Then pack up, an skate back home.

Living in Tampa, the ultimate skate party for us was to skateroller skate and key to the Tampa Bay then skate around the Bay Shore. It was miles long. Sometime we stopped at the pier and watched people fish. My brother Lorenzo, loved to fish, even then. My parents got us fishing poles and we traded or saved to get other items as needed.

Lorenzo would cast a giant snatch hook into the Bay, then snatch it, hoping to connect with a fish. Richard was still learning how to use the gear but he at least had the hook in the water. The fish of choice was mullet. Some of the guys had gotten quite good at it. I had a smaller pole because I wasn't into fishing that much but I loved the open air skate party.

One Christmas Holiday, the three of us and about ten of our friends, went skating to the Bay Shore pier with fishing poles in hand. It was a chilly day and mullets were 'running.' We stood on the pier, all twelve or thirteen of us fishing. Me with my flimsy pole and everyone else with big poles and heavy duty snatch hooks.

snatch hookAs the fish were caught, they were tied on a string and lowered into the chilly water. It seems that anyone could have caught a fish that day, except me, of course. I had the flimsy fishing pole and it did not snatch well.

Someone caught mullet number eleven, then mullet number twelve, tied it to the string and lowered it into the Bay from the pier.

Then someone caught mullet number thirteen, tied it to the string and lowered it in. Then, WAIT, what happen? The string somehow became released from the pier and all the fish sink to the bottom of the bay.

All of us, even me with my flimsy pole tried to hook a fish and maybe bring them all back up. Frantically we tried and tried but all for naught.

Then, this 15 or 16 year old white guy who was watching all the activity came over and said that he would jump in and retrieve our fish for two dollars. He stripped down to his boxers and jumped in and just as soon as he did, he popped right up to the top screaming about how cold the water was. He made his way to the side of the pier where the guys helped him out. He put his clothes back on and ran off. He was not white anymore, he was blue.

In the mean time, I was using my flimsy pole trying to hook a mullet. The guys had given up, it was time to skate home. I gave it one last try, 'GOT ONE.'

It was so HUGH, 40 lbs at least, I thought. My flimsy pole could hardly pull it up...but it did.

When we got home, I took a picture to prove my Christmas fish story. Lorenzo's pole is in the picture with me.

I got home with a giant fish, but you should have seen all the ONES that got away!


Merry Christmas every one, and Happy New Year!