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It started out innocent enough. The weather was beautiful, work finished early, and the kids were napped and fed.

"Sure, I'd love to bring the family down to your bay house. We will meet you there."

Easy ride down 45 with not too much traffic. Everyone was happy, the kids were smiling, good times all around.

"No, seriously, things will be much safer up on the elevated deck. The kids are corralled and can't fall in the water or get into the fire ants. Trust me."

A cooler of nice frosty beverages, plenty of snacks and a couple of nice comfortable deck chairs. It pains me to sound like a tourist, but my family had a blast feeding the gulls stale goldfish.

"Sweetheart, let me help you with your rod. It's tricky fishing so high up without any weight. Huh? What the..............!!!! AAAAAAAAHhhh."

It had all the makings of a classic story of luck, incredible odds and a triumphant weekend warrior. But as you can tell, that was not what happened; it was bad enough just being beat up by a bully, but he also took my lunch money.

"Did you see that?"

I was really just messing around with that little bay outfit to show the kids some perch or hardheads. That would explain why I using a small hook, a tiny piece of shrimp, and fishing straight down. So you can imagine my surprise as I watched the rod tip snap down hard enough to catapult the entire rod and reel over the 4 foot hand rail and out into the middle of the canal. The whole thing happened in slow motion, and as fast as my mind raced, I felt like I was moving through water. My finger tips barely missed the cork handle as the rod gracefully arced through the air.

"Daddy what happened to your fishing stick?"

I lose fishing stuff all the time. Filet knives drop in the water, hungry rigs and fish decimate my lures, and saltwater will eat everything. So I try not to get emotionally attached to my tools. But this little throw down outfit has seen more action than any of my rods through the years because the rod was cheap and the reel reliable. I could pack it up easily and would not care if it was destroyed during transport or died in the line of duty. Or did I?

"Chad, was that one expensive?"

The stab in my heart as I watched the rod and reel vanish in the olive water was way more than the standard monetary value remorse. For an instant I was preparing to dive off the deck. On pure reflexes I did the brief pocket check and was reaching for my glasses when I remembered that I had my wife and two children under the age of three standing beside me. So I just had to stand there in horror and watch an old friend pass.

"No, don't worry. It was pretty cheap but that really stings. No, it is not just that the fish beat me."

In a weird sort of way, I feel some guilt: like I failed that faithful rod and reel. This was suppose to be a fun family outing. He was not suppose to go out like this. Maybe broken on a really rough ride out to the floaters, destroyed by a king who grabbed my sabiki, or even crushed by ling who came off the gaff early. I guess I could have backed the drag way off, but come on, I was fishing for bait. It is kind of like life and you really never see it coming.

"Daddy is just going to use your rod for while with all the hooks and weights. Maybe I can catch my rod back. Yes that would be funny."

Needless to say that outfit was never recovered. I imagine the culprit was big ugly or bull red. But who knows. I have seen pictures of a sailfish in marina and swordfish in the surf, so it could have been anything. I am not sure, but with some time I have gotten more philosophical, maybe this all happed for a reason.

"Sure sweety. I would love for you to tell me the story of Daddy's fishing rod again."
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