I like to fishing. BUT, I’m not very good at it. If I had to eat on what I caught, I’d be a much thinner man. I just don’t have the luck that some people do. A couple of years ago my wife and I had gone down to the Freeport Jetty. It was a fine summer day, hot and clear as it normally is on the Texas Gulf Coast. We’d been fishing for about two hours with nary a bite. The fish weren’t even stealing our bait, which for me, is the norm.
The large Hispanic family just down from us had been there for about four hours and they said they’d had a few nibbles and nothing else and the ever-present beach bum was there with his ratty old pole, fishing for the only dinner he’d probably have; He had had zippo luck as well. I was about to give up and suggest we go elsewhere, when this little old Vietnamese woman came along.
She was a cliché, tiny, short, hunched over from decades of bone-wearying work, wearing loose fitting clothing with the conical bamboo hat. Her skin was brown and wrinkled from God knows how many years out in the sun. But she was pushing this big garden cart full of coolers, fishing poles, a beach chair, and numerous other implements of destruction.
This old woman went about ten feet down from where I was and started setting up. She slowly made her way out onto the rocks with a pole and a bucket of bait. She took a shrimp out of the bucket, put it on the hook, and cast the hook into the water not ten feet in front of her and then she squatted and waited.
I was thinking to myself that she is going to be sorely disappointed. I had barely finished the thought when her line went taut and she reeled in a pan-sized trout. I looked back at my wife, shook my head and said to her; “Damned if the Vietnamese can’t catch fish.” The other fishermen and women around us, who had been have a seriously crappy day, were all watching this little old woman who not two minutes later pulled in her second trout.
Over the course of about twenty minutes she caught six or eight fish. Put them in her cooler and I assume went home to cook for her family. She was the only person who I saw bring in a fish that day. My wife and I? In a what could only be a symbolic surrender, we went to a restaurant for dinner.