I pointed to the opening between the first two pilings of the ferry slip. "See if you can put your spoon under there."
Almost immediately after the boy's cast I saw that tight and swift little swirl of water a snook makes when he takes something and heads away.
"Watch yourself," I warned. But the boy already was receiving the message. His rod was clutched tightly in both hands and his reel was whining softly as the line spun off. "Reel in," I said. The boy was frozen, mouth agape in wonder and awe. "Hey," he said, in protest.
"Your reel—wind your reel," I said.
"Hey," he said again, in that awed tone of protest.
I reached to help him but it already was too late. "Hey!" he shouted one more time. But the snook had wrapped the line around the piling as neatly as a butcher ties up a chop. It gave one lunge and the line parted.
I heard the boy talking to his mother later. "It was this long," he kept saying excitedly, holding his arms at full length. I don't know whether he'll make a fisherman or not, but he helped prove a point for me. Even an idiot child can hook fish in Punta Rassa.