My grandfather had pulled them all in for me, but I had caught them.  I was holding the rod and felt the initial tug and that was the relevant thing, that was catching.  So I was proud.  My dad had only caught one, and my grandfather had only caught two, excluding the three of mine that he reeled in, as have already been discussed.

We motored over to another part of the little river.  I watched the high marsh roll by on both sides.  The sky was pale and bare.  High things were very far from us.  It felt like looking up from the bottom of a well.

I recount this story because of what happened next.  I felt a fourth tug, a very hard one, and my grandfather took the pole out of my hands and reeled up an extremely fat, bright snake.  “An eel!” I shouted.  “Is it an electric one?”

I don’t think it was an electric eel, but it was impossibly bright with the sun hitting it from just over top of the marsh.  It had snaked all the way up the line and was inching to the pole.  I don’t know if it was hooked or if it simply wanted a means to enter our boat.  I had never seen an eel of any kind before and this one, which bent the pole considerably, was adequate.  I hoped we could kill it.


But my grandfather cut the line swiftly and the eel dropped into the bog water.  I never saw another one.