It was a muted day, fishscale colored, and the sea and the horizon merged seamlessly. No wind — the waves were innocent of foam, existing as a series of sullen gray swells.
Ever since stepping on the beach, she’d been catching kingfish: one cast, one fish, usually from just inside the sandbar. As the sun rose higher, its dazzle on the water intensified, until her eyes watered and her head ached from the relentless sparkle.
She reeled in a pair of six-inchers, one on each of the rig’s hooks, and freed them to put back in the water — too small to be worth cleaning on a day of such largesse.
She misjudged the next cast. It went out well past the sand bar, into the deeper, colder, darker water, The strike was swift, a yank that set the reel singing as it spun. How big was it? Twenty-pound nylon line — would it withstand the pull’s strength if she played the fish in right?
The fish leaped, as though in challenge. It was crimson, an enormous, yard-king fish as red as blood, with impossible, ornate fins of the kind seen in heraldry or on ornamental carp. As it splashed back into the water, it seemed to set the horizon aboil with color, blues and violets and emeralds at play beneath the meshed surface of the sea. She set her teeth and braced herself in the fluffy sand.