By Carter Coorough

I saw a beautiful flash of color in the water as my arms started to hurt from the powerful fish on the end of my line. My name is Carter Coorough and I am eight years old. I am in the third grade and I live in Colorado. I love to fish and this year I was lucky enough to go on a fishing trip in Miami, Florida to catch Butterfly Peacock Bass.

image1For Father’s Day my mom, sister and I gave my dad a fishing trip with Captain Mark Hall of My family and I flew into Miami on Friday January 8th and we spent the rest of the day in Biscayne Harbor. It was really neat to see the big boats, eat new foods and listen to live music. On Sunday, my family was going to get on a cruise ship for the next week, so it was cool to see the huge ships docked. Early the next morning my dad and I took a taxi and met Captain Hall in a park. There was a canal that cut through the park and Captain Hall had his boat there. We jumped in his boat and motored through the canal. The water was really clear and I could see all sorts of colorful fish. Captain Hall told me that they were different types of cichlids and tilapia, but some of them looked like gold fish. Captain Hall told me that the canal was made to help with flooding and that it acted like a road for the Miami area. There were a bunch of strange looking ducks and geese. Captain Hall told me that, just like the different fish in the canal, the ducks and geese were not supposed to be there, but that they were brought there by people and now are a problem.

When we got away from all the people in the park, Captain Hall gave me a fishing pole baited with a live golden shiner. He told me that I would be using a circle hook and that I didn’t need to set the hook like I normally do. He told me to cast it out behind the boat and hold on as we slowly moved down the canal. My dad and Captain Hall were talking about stuff, but I really wanted to catch the first fish to beat my dad. After a few minutes I felt a hard tug on my line and I told everyone I had a fish on. I don’t think anyone believed me; they were saying I was snagged on a tree we had just passed. I knew it was a fish and it was very strong. I fought him all the way up to the boat and then my dad and Captain Hall saw the fish. The bright colors on the fish flashed in the water as he moved around below me. My dad got really excited and started telling me what to do. That fish came off the hook before we got him in the boat, but I fought him for a long time. My arms were tired and it was only the first fish of the day! I found out that Peacock Bass are a lot stronger then the fish I’m used to catching.

image5Captain Hall put a new shiner on my circle hook and I cast back to the same area. It seemed like a lucky spot to me. As I was letting the line out so it would be back behind the boat enough, I noticed it was coming off very quickly. Captain Hall told me it looked like I had another fish on, so I should close the bail and start reeling. This fish felt a lot stronger and he stayed in the deep water. It took all my strength to get him up to the boat. I was worried I would lose the big fish the whole time. My dad kept telling me to keep my rod tip up and to reel. I told him my arms were starting to hurt and he laughed at me. It felt so good when Captain Hall pulled the big fish in the boat. The fish was so colorful and strong it was hard to hold on to. I felt proud as I held him up for all the pictures. My dad took a lot of pictures. Captain Hall told my dad and I that it was a real trophy sized fish and a heck of a first Peacock Bass.

image6Throughout the rest of day I caught a lot more beautiful Peacock Bass. Each one looked different from the others. I also got to see several different types of fish, birds and iguanas. Traveling down the canal felt like we were in the jungle with all the trees near the water and with how hot it was outside. When we got done fishing, I had caught more fish then my dad, but we both had lots of fun. My dad did catch a very big colorful peacock right at the end of day, but I think my first fish of the day was just as big!

I really enjoy fishing and going new places. I want to thank Captain Mark Hall for helping me learn how to catch Peacock Bass and for putting my dad and me on so many big fish. I had a great time fishing with my dad and our arms were really tired at the end of the day. I can’t wait for our next adventure.