Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird; it’s a Plane; it’s an Eight-Inch Bass!

In our early years on the Vineyard, my wife, Detta, loved the solitude of Quansoo. The children – Joseph, Megan, and Matthew – loved body-surfing the cut in the beach to the ocean. I had a nineteen-foot aluminum canoe that weighed as much as a car. We called it the Thing and it was a perfect family boat.
At Quansoo we’d fish Tisbury Great Pond, surf the cut after lunch, and wile away the day on the sunny beach.
One day, we pushed off at dawn on a mission to catch our dinner. Each child’s goal was to be the top catcher of the day. Imagine this canoe with two adults, a large metal cooler filled with sandwiches, drinks, bait, and maybe a baseball and mitt. The rods were under the children’s feet. Detta was in the bow, the children lined up amidships, and I was in the stern. When we reached the spot we knew had all the big ones, Detta took the helm and the children and I baited hooks. Soon, rods were flying in all directions, elbows collided, and the boys jockeyed for the best spot. It wasn’t unusual for one of the adults to catch one of the children’s hooks in the scalp.
We erupted in cheers when someone – generally one of the boys – caught a six-inch silverside or perch. Life was good. Megan urged on the boys, but rarely paid attention to my instructions on the fine art of angling. She’d put in a line but then grow fascinated with the clouds or some faraway thought.
But on this one afternoon, tired of her brothers’ bragging, she quietly lifted her line out of the water. With all other eyes forward, she slowly went into her backcast. The line hit the water behind her, and as she began her forward fling, she pulled with her an eight-inch bass. Her brothers caught sight as the bass went sailing overhead and landed about twenty feet away. Inwardly shocked but outwardly calm, she slowly reeled in her prize. Turning to her brothers, she said, “It’s all in the backcast.”