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foul hook pay back


Just the other day, back in 1996, I was taking a little Christmas Holiday with my sweetheart. We headed south and ended up at a cozy bed and breakfast in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Things were quiet and we enjoyed the solitude of a winter beach town. Sam liked to fish, so I watched waves and caught sun as he cast his line into the soft surf.

The beach was empty from Duck to Nags Head as far as I could tell. And I imagine the water was as well since Sam had no luck catching anything. He came back to his chair beside me and lit up a cigarette, nonchalantly answering my litany of angling questions. At some point the term “foul hooking” came up and I expressed repugnance when he explained it. Foul hooking is a method of fishing that entails catching a fish by pulling the hook across the fish’s body, snagging it, and reeling it in, without the fish having to take the bait with their mouth.

“I hope I’m not there to witness paybacks on that technique”, I said. Sam smiled, lit another cigarette, pushed himself up out of the chair and strolled to the edge of the water. He stood there alone. The sun at his back and the beach tranquil. He took his stance. Feet spread, one arm across his body, essentially holding up the other as it kept the cigarette close to his mouth. He was leaning back slightly, looking very much like a man without a worry.

If only I had a camera to catch the serenity of the moment, but instead I watched a kite, going 276 miles an hour, come out of nowhere and slam into Sam’s groin. I jumped up and ran to him as he collapsed onto the sand. Looking south, we saw a beautiful young family running towards us yelling apologies and gathering kite string.

It is good to know that Sam is out there, somewhere, smoking a cigarette and casting a line with a clean slate.

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