I have in my deepest memories the times that my father went deep-sea fishing and arrived home with few fish. Since age seven, I dreamt of holding a fishing pole and reeling in a tuna or halibut independently. Even after being harped about fishing being a man’s sport, my resistance to giving up and ignoring Latina expectations allowed me to become another member on that enormous fishing boat.
As I walked on the boat at four in the morning, I realized that I was the only girl (now age fourteen) along with ten men, proving that Latinas cannot be held back. I grasped a fishing pole for the first time, the feel of the peculiar grip on my soft hands causing goosebumps to arise on my skin. I fearlessly picked up the slimy squid bait, brutally stabbed it onto the hook, and could not be more ecstatic. As the sun rose on that beautiful August morning, I could not help but reminisce about the struggle it took to get here. Minutes drifted away into the vast ocean, and no fish were biting. Discouraged, I leaned on the side of the rusty alabaster boat and waited. Failure was not an option; I had all day.
Semi Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Suddenly, fishers were beginning to reel in their first catches. As they rejoiced, I walked towards my dust-colored sack, peered in, and saw emptiness. With a confident air, I returned to my previous location and glanced over the railing that separated me from the never-ending waters. Then, without previous notice, I felt a miniscule tug and immediately began to reel in the somewhat heavy line. As the end of the line became visible, I realized that I had caught something: a tiny red rockfish. Seeing the incredulous faces of those around me, I smiled, gyrated 180 degrees, and fished.
Hours later, after catching twelve fish, more than any man, I began to reel in my heaviest catch: a barracuda. With my undiscovered strength and determination, I tugged on the slippery pole, dismissing my father as he attempted to take over. Fighting against this mighty forty-inch monster alone, I knew I had to be victorious. As it approached the boat unwillingly, it surrendered to a stab by a gaff. With blood gushing everywhere, the barracuda was finally mine. I quickly lifted it, proudly entered it in the weight jackpot, and in the end, a young Latina girl had defeated all the men on the boat. Dismissing stereotypes, I could not help but grin as I glanced at the sack and saw hundreds of fish emerging. I walked over, carried it like Santa Claus carries his sack full of toys, and walked off the boat as the sun began to set.
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