Angle to Key West: Fish Missile (11/27)

fish scales left on the rudder

Mile 643 on Lower Mississippi around the bend past Friars Point, Mississippi – November 27, 2012

A couple of long bends, some broad sandbars, constant levees built up with riprap and concrete slabs, a few industrial docks, some parked barges, a bridge, a couple of powerlines, wingdams jutting out into the river, another day on the Mississippi with no clear edge to it, just smeared in with all the others.

Then a fish missile slammed into the bow. A huge, fat silver thing, at least the size of a watermelon, the old long kind, the ones with seeds. It rose out of the river, full into air, staring at me for a moment with one big, jelly eye before crashing on the bow and bouncing back into the water.

A tugboat chugged past me. The current pushed me around another long bend next to another giant sandbar. A bouy bobbed in the wake. I stared at the bow, at the beads of water knocked off scales as the fish slammed down and thumped the boat like a giant, yellow drum.

“Just making sure you’re paying attention,” the river seemed to say.

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