A poet witnesses a child’s first catch.

We watch the video of blonde Sigrún
three years old in pink boots
fishing in the fjord with her Afi.
She flashes a gap-toothed grin
while reeling in a wriggling codfish
with a little help from beaming Afi.
The fish is half her size.
Soon she will eat part of it
in order to grow old and wrinkled
and, with luck, half-remember
the pleasure of catching something
wet and slick and still alive
surrounded by those who adore you
just for being alive yourself.

“First Fishing” from The Chain Letter of the Soul by Bill Holm (Minneapolis, Milkweed Editions, 2009). © 2009 by Bill Holm. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions.

This poem originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Anglers Journal magazine.

Subscribe to Anglers Journal here ▶



Fish Pimping

Contradictory worldviews collide along a river in Montana, where a guide wrestles with heady questions of conservation, ethics and hypocrisy.


One Helluva Fish

Why the bluefish, an animated chopping machine with a public relations problem, just might be the perfect game fish

As two of his brothers watch, Mick Chivers lifts a bass caught the night before from the ice to a cleaning table.

Fishing For The Table

The evening began like a fishing daydream. The sun was dropping. The flooding tide and a cool wind were roughly aligned.

Dawn Root

Fish Cutter

Dawn Root is part of a small and vanishing tribe of fisherfolk who know how to bone shad...