Lesson 21:Fishing with Sam

Lesson 21:Fishing with Sam

Lesson 21:Fishing with Sam


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y Richard Cole<br />

Illustrated by Sergio Giovine<br />

Copyright © by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company<br />

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ISBN-13: 978-0-547-02771-5<br />

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alarm clock<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> wakes Daniel at 6 a.m.<br />

Saturday: 6 a.m.<br />

Daniel was sleeping peacefully. But a sudden, abrupt<br />

knocking on his door woke him up.<br />

“Danny, are you up yet?”<br />


Daniel looked at his alarm clock. It was 6 a.m. Daniel<br />

groaned and got out of bed. His stepbrother, <strong>Sam</strong>, was at his<br />

door. <strong>Sam</strong> was the only person who called him “Danny,” which<br />

annoyed Daniel. It made him feel like a little kid.<br />

Daniel opened the bedroom door. <strong>Sam</strong> was dressed to go<br />

fishing. Daniel could tell he was eager to leave.<br />

“Sorry,” Daniel said, yawning. “I overslept. I’ll be ready in<br />

ten minutes.”<br />

“Well, hurry up,” <strong>Sam</strong> replied impatiently.<br />

Daniel shut the door. He closed his eyes and wished he<br />

could go back to sleep. It was Saturday. He didn’t even get up<br />

this early for school. He wished that fishing was better later in<br />

the day instead of early in the morning.<br />

Daniel scrounged around his room for an old pair of jeans<br />

and thought about <strong>Sam</strong>. Only two months ago, Daniel’s father<br />

married <strong>Sam</strong>’s mother. Before that, Daniel spent nearly every<br />

Saturday <strong>with</strong> his father. Sometimes they went fishing, hiking,<br />

or even hit baseballs. Other times Daniel helped his father <strong>with</strong><br />

projects around his father’s home. Daniel loved the time they<br />

spent together.<br />

But now everything was different. Daniel now had to share<br />

his weekends — and his father — <strong>with</strong> two more people. <strong>Sam</strong>’s<br />

mom was nice. She always had a smile for Daniel and asked him<br />

about school. But <strong>Sam</strong> had been bossing him around since the<br />

day he moved in. <strong>Sam</strong> was 14 and one grade ahead of Daniel.<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> was taller and better at sports than Daniel. <strong>Sam</strong> was also<br />

very popular at school. Daniel wished he had <strong>Sam</strong>’s confidence.<br />


Daniel wanted to find a way to prove himself to <strong>Sam</strong>,<br />

but he didn’t know how. <strong>Sam</strong> seemed so good at everything.<br />

How can I be better than <strong>Sam</strong> when he’s already perfect?<br />

Daniel thought.<br />

He stayed away from <strong>Sam</strong> as much as he could until<br />

last week. Daniel’s father wanted the two boys to go fishing<br />

together. Daniel could think of a million things he’d rather do<br />

on a Saturday. Then Daniel decided it might be a good idea.<br />

Daniel went fishing many times <strong>with</strong> his dad. Maybe he could<br />

show <strong>Sam</strong> how much he knew about fishing. But then <strong>Sam</strong><br />

announced that they would be fly fishing. Fly fishing was very<br />

different from the fishing Daniel had done <strong>with</strong> his father.<br />

Daniel didn’t know anything about fly fishing.<br />

Heading for the River<br />

Daniel pulled on his boots. He wasn’t sure how he felt<br />

about suddenly having an older brother. Daniel thought that<br />

eventually, over time, he would get used to the idea. But for<br />

now, he just wished things were the way they used to be.<br />

Daniel hurried out the door. <strong>Sam</strong> was waiting for him<br />

outside. The two boys walked along a trail in the woods. The<br />

sun was just starting to come up. Daniel noticed the smell of<br />

pine needles in the cool morning air. <strong>Sam</strong> carried the tackle box<br />

and two fishing rods. Daniel carried a small cooler.<br />

Daniel looked inside the cooler before they left. He<br />

expected to see water and snacks. Instead, he saw ice and a large<br />

knife for cleaning fish. “For the fish we catch,” <strong>Sam</strong> told him.<br />

“You’ve cleaned fish before, right?”<br />


“Sure,” said Daniel. Actually, Daniel had never cleaned<br />

a fish before. He always threw the fish he caught back. But<br />

Daniel didn’t want <strong>Sam</strong> to think that he didn’t know how to<br />

clean a fish. He didn’t want to look weak in front of <strong>Sam</strong>.<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> didn’t feel much like a brother to Daniel. Daniel felt<br />

he had to prove himself to <strong>Sam</strong>. If he didn’t, <strong>Sam</strong> would think<br />

he could always tell Daniel what to do.<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> leads the way to the river.<br />

fishing rods<br />

tackle box<br />

cooler<br />


They followed the trail down to a flat area above the river.<br />

Daniel liked walking through the woods. He began to feel better.<br />

Maybe this won’t be so bad after all, Daniel thought.<br />

Five minutes later, <strong>Sam</strong> stopped. He began to get their<br />

fishing poles ready. “Do you want to attach the leader and tippet<br />

or should I?” <strong>Sam</strong> asked. Daniel had no idea what <strong>Sam</strong> was<br />

talking about. Usually Daniel dug up worms and used them for<br />

bait. But <strong>Sam</strong> had lures that looked like flies instead of worms.<br />

Daniel didn’t know why. <strong>Sam</strong> obviously knew more about fly<br />

fishing than Daniel knew about regular fishing. <strong>Sam</strong> thought<br />

Daniel already knew about leaders and tippets.<br />

“You can do it,” Daniel answered. His good feeling was<br />

disappearing fast.<br />

The boys set up their<br />

fishing gear along the river.<br />


<strong>Sam</strong> began attaching pieces of clear plastic to their fishing<br />

lines. Daniel watched <strong>Sam</strong>’s hands move quickly. <strong>Sam</strong> seemed<br />

like he could do it <strong>with</strong> his eyes closed. Daniel felt bad, like he<br />

wasn’t as good as <strong>Sam</strong> at anything. He felt that way a lot around<br />

<strong>Sam</strong>. Daniel began to look for small, flat rocks that he could skip<br />

across the water.<br />

A <strong>Lesson</strong> in Fly <strong>Fishing</strong><br />

“Do you think we’ll have better luck <strong>with</strong> a floating line<br />

or a sink-tip?” <strong>Sam</strong> asked. Daniel didn’t know the difference.<br />

He shrugged. “Whatever you think.” Daniel was starting to<br />

feel really dumb — and a little angry. Why did I even come on this<br />

fishing trip? he thought.<br />


When <strong>Sam</strong> asked him to tie special knots on the lines,<br />

Daniel threw up his hands. “I don’t know how,” Daniel blurted<br />

in a loud voice. “I’ve never done this before.”<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> took two lures out of the tackle box. “You said you<br />

went fishing all the time.”<br />

“Not fly fishing! I’ve never even heard of a leader and<br />

tipple or a floating line and sink-tip!” Daniel exclaimed.<br />

“A leader and tippet,” <strong>Sam</strong> corrected. Then, <strong>Sam</strong> looked<br />

up at Daniel and sighed. “I’ll show you what I’m doing.”<br />

Daniel knew that <strong>Sam</strong> was about to talk to him as if he were a<br />

little kid.<br />

“First, I attach the leader and tippet.<br />

It’s a piece of plastic that hides your<br />

line and makes your lure seem like<br />

a real fly to a fish.” <strong>Sam</strong> held up<br />

the lures.<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> ties the leader and<br />

tippet to his fishing pole.<br />


“We use dry flies as bait. I tie them to the leaders and<br />

tippets <strong>with</strong> knots. A floating line floats on the water and<br />

attracts fish near the surface. A sink-tip sinks in the water.<br />

These attract bigger fish that live in deeper water.”<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> tied the knots and pulled them tight. “Got it? Is that<br />

easy enough for you, Danny?”<br />

“Yeah, sure.” Daniel turned away. <strong>Sam</strong> acted like<br />

a jerk sometimes.<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> lifted the two fishing rods and gave one to Daniel.<br />

“Want me to show you how to cast? It’s a little tricky.” Before<br />

Daniel could answer, <strong>Sam</strong> climbed down onto a large rock at<br />

the edge of the river. The rock was slippery. <strong>Sam</strong> had to steady<br />

himself to get into a stable position. “See, Danny, it’s like this,”<br />

he called out. “The line goes behind your head, and then<br />

forward, like you’re serving a tennis ball.”<br />

Daniel watched <strong>Sam</strong> cast the line perfectly. Then <strong>Sam</strong><br />

began to talk about how important casting is to fly fishing. He<br />

went on and on. He acted like he was some great oracle — the<br />

great expert of fly fishing. Daniel stopped listening.<br />

Watching <strong>Sam</strong> cast reminded Daniel of a fishing trip he<br />

went on <strong>with</strong> his dad a few years ago. It was Daniel’s tenth<br />

birthday, and his dad gave him a new fishing pole. They went<br />

on their first fishing trip together. Daniel’s dad explained how<br />

to cast. Daniel watched his dad several times and then tried it<br />

by himself. Daniel had a feeling of exhilaration when his line<br />

flew across the water and landed perfectly in the middle of the<br />

pond. “You’re a natural,” his dad said.<br />


Now, Daniel could still hear <strong>Sam</strong> talking. “You see, Danny,<br />

you have to learn to think like a fish. If it’s a hot day, the fish<br />

will go into water where it’s shady and cool. If it’s cold, like<br />

today, they’ll swim into the shallow, sunny water where it’s<br />

warmer. You see, the fish adapt to their environment in order<br />

to survive.”<br />

Daniel started getting bored. If I wanted a lesson about<br />

fish and their environment, I’d read my science book, he thought.<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> kept talking. “That’s where the fish find their breakfast.<br />

Now, watch how my lure floats toward the fish.”<br />

When <strong>Sam</strong> mentioned breakfast, Daniel’s stomach<br />

growled. He wondered again why <strong>Sam</strong> didn’t bring any<br />

snacks. He decided to go look for frogs to pass the time when<br />

something pulled hard on <strong>Sam</strong>’s line. The rod bent, and <strong>Sam</strong><br />

grabbed it <strong>with</strong> both hands. “Hey! I think I’ve got<br />

something!” Daniel looked to see what was<br />

pulling on <strong>Sam</strong>’s line.<br />

Daniel sees <strong>Sam</strong><br />

fall into the water.<br />


Suddenly, <strong>Sam</strong> lost his balance and slipped on the large<br />

rock. Before Daniel knew what was happening, <strong>Sam</strong> fell into<br />

the water <strong>with</strong> a cry. The current pulled <strong>Sam</strong> downstream, and<br />

Daniel lost sight of him. Daniel’s heart was pounding.<br />

He spotted <strong>Sam</strong> in the water. <strong>Sam</strong> was soaking wet and<br />

shivering. <strong>Sam</strong> held onto a smaller rock downstream while the<br />

moving water pulled at him. Daniel didn’t see <strong>Sam</strong>’s fishing rod<br />

anywhere. For the first time since Daniel had known him, <strong>Sam</strong><br />

looked scared.<br />

“Are you okay?” Daniel called to <strong>Sam</strong>.<br />

“The water’s over my head,” <strong>Sam</strong> yelled back.<br />

Daniel looked at him <strong>with</strong> confusion. “It’s not very far.<br />

Just swim for it!”<br />


<strong>Sam</strong> swallowed. “I can’t.”<br />

“Why not?”<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> paused. “Because I’m not a good swimmer. I’m afraid<br />

the current will pull me under.”<br />

Daniel Springs Into Action<br />

At first, Daniel did not understand what <strong>Sam</strong> had said.<br />

Then his face filled <strong>with</strong> comprehension. <strong>Sam</strong> was scared.<br />

But how could that be? Daniel was a very good swimmer. He<br />

had taken lessons since the second grade. He even won third<br />

place at the school’s swim meet last year. Finally, he thought<br />

happily, there is something I’m better at than <strong>Sam</strong>. Then Daniel<br />

looked at <strong>Sam</strong>’s worried face. Daniel realized that he shouldn’t<br />

waste time <strong>with</strong> spiteful thoughts. <strong>Sam</strong> was in jeopardy — real<br />

trouble — and needed Daniel’s help.<br />

“I’ll be right back,” Daniel yelled. He searched for<br />

something that <strong>Sam</strong> could grab onto. He saw sticks on the<br />

ground, but he needed something that was strong enough<br />

to hold <strong>Sam</strong>’s weight. Daniel spotted a pine tree <strong>with</strong> a long<br />

branch hanging near the ground. He tried to break it off, but it<br />

was too thick. Now what? Then Daniel remembered the knife in<br />

the cooler.<br />

He ran to the cooler and picked up the knife. He checked<br />

to see that the blade was tight in its sheath and then rushed<br />

back to the pine tree. He bent the branch down <strong>with</strong> his foot<br />

and used the knife like a saw to cut through the thick limb.<br />

He worked steadily and carefully. As he worked, he kept seeing<br />

<strong>Sam</strong>’s frightened face in his mind.<br />


So what if <strong>Sam</strong> knew more about fly fishing than he did?<br />

That didn’t seem important now. Daniel could have just told<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> he’d never been fly fishing from the start. Maybe they<br />

would have gotten along better.<br />

Daniel cut halfway through the branch, and it started to<br />

break. He put the knife back in its sheath and dropped it to the<br />

ground. Then Daniel broke off the branch and dragged it to the<br />

edge of the river.<br />

Daniel climbed onto the slippery rock where <strong>Sam</strong> had<br />

fallen. For a moment, Daniel started to slip, too. Carefully, he<br />

got down on his hands and knees. He moved the branch so<br />

that it was hanging over the water. But it wasn’t close enough<br />

for <strong>Sam</strong> to reach. <strong>Sam</strong> shook his head. “It’s not long enough,”<br />

he shouted.<br />

“Just push off from the rock and grab the branch. You can<br />

do it,” Daniel added to give <strong>Sam</strong> confidence.<br />

“I can’t let go of the rock and grab the branch at the<br />

same time!”<br />

“You have to,” Daniel said. “It’s the only way.”<br />

“What if I miss the branch?” <strong>Sam</strong> asked. <strong>Sam</strong>’s face showed<br />

doubt and fear. Daniel needed to convince <strong>Sam</strong> to reach for the<br />

branch. Suddenly, the right words came to Daniel. He knew<br />

what he needed to say.<br />

“Trust me,” Daniel told <strong>Sam</strong> calmly. “I won’t let go.<br />

I promise.”<br />


14<br />


Something in <strong>Sam</strong>’s face changed. The doubt on his face<br />

disappeared. He now looked very determined. <strong>Sam</strong> waited<br />

a moment longer, then pushed away from the rock. Daniel<br />

stretched the branch out as far as he could <strong>with</strong>out losing<br />

his balance. He saw <strong>Sam</strong> reach for it. Then Daniel felt <strong>Sam</strong>’s<br />

weight pulling the branch down. Daniel fell to his stomach,<br />

pulling <strong>with</strong> all his strength. <strong>Sam</strong> splashed wildly, trying to keep<br />

his face from going underwater.<br />

“Stop splashing!” Daniel yelled. He tried to pull <strong>Sam</strong> up,<br />

but the branch didn’t move. If he could just pull <strong>Sam</strong> a little<br />

closer to the rock . . .<br />

“Kick,” he told <strong>Sam</strong>. “Start kicking your legs behind you.”<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> kicked weakly, but he began to move slowly toward<br />

Daniel. Daniel pulled the branch closer. Daniel began to sweat<br />

from working so hard. It seemed to take <strong>Sam</strong> forever, but he<br />

finally reached the large rock. Daniel held his hand down to<br />

<strong>Sam</strong>. <strong>Sam</strong> grabbed it and slowly pulled himself out of the water.<br />

Daniel leaned back and gave a sigh of relief. Daniel and<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> climbed up the bank and fell onto the ground. Both boys<br />

breathed hard. “That was close,” <strong>Sam</strong> panted. “I owe you one.”<br />

Daniel tried not to show how pleased <strong>Sam</strong>’s words made<br />

him feel. “No problem,” he said, hiding his smile.<br />

Daniel uses a branch<br />

to pull <strong>Sam</strong> to safety.<br />


Finding a Brother<br />

They lay on the ground for a moment in the<br />

morning sun. They could hear the birds singing and<br />

the water flowing. <strong>Sam</strong> sat up and looked at Daniel.<br />

“I’ve never had a brother before. It’s a little weird.”<br />

Daniel sat up and smiled, but he looked down<br />

at the ground. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> picked up a stick from the ground and<br />

began to break it into pieces. “Your dad is always<br />

telling me how great you are. Since my mom and<br />

I moved in, I guess I’ve been trying to impress you,”<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> said.<br />

Daniel couldn’t believe what he was hearing.<br />

All this time <strong>Sam</strong> had been trying to impress him?<br />

Then, for the first time, Daniel began to see things<br />

through <strong>Sam</strong>’s eyes. Daniel understood that <strong>Sam</strong> did<br />

not want to move into Daniel’s home any more than<br />

Daniel wanted him to. Both boys were pushed into<br />

a new family. Neither of them knew how to handle<br />

the changes. Maybe we aren’t so different after all,<br />

thought Daniel.<br />

Daniel begins to see things<br />

from <strong>Sam</strong>’s point of view.<br />


“Let’s try fly fishing again next Saturday,” Daniel<br />

suggested. “You can teach me more about leaders and tipples<br />

and stuff.”<br />

“Leaders and tippets,” <strong>Sam</strong> corrected. “Boy, you do have<br />

a lot to learn!”<br />

“Wait a minute. Maybe I should give you a few swimming<br />

lessons first,” Daniel said. “I don’t want to have to rescue you<br />

every time we go fishing.”<br />

“It’s a deal!” <strong>Sam</strong> answered <strong>with</strong> a smile. <strong>Sam</strong> reached<br />

out his hand to Daniel. Daniel and <strong>Sam</strong> shook hands to seal<br />

their agreement, and something passed between them. It was<br />

something Daniel had never felt before. So this is what it’s like<br />

to have a brother, Daniel thought.<br />

“Come on, Danny. Let’s gather up the fishing gear and<br />

head back. I’m cold, and I’m hungry,” <strong>Sam</strong> said.<br />

Daniel stood up and brushed himself off. “It’s Daniel,”<br />

he corrected.<br />

Brothers could be so annoying sometimes.<br />


Responding<br />

TARGET SKILL Compare and Contrast<br />

How are <strong>Sam</strong> and Daniel alike? How are they<br />

different? Copy the Venn diagram below.<br />

Then list their similarities and differences<br />

in the circles.<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> Alike Daniel<br />

<strong>Sam</strong> is older. ? Daniel is a<br />

good swimmer.<br />

? ? ?<br />

Write About It<br />

Text to Self Write a paragraph comparing and<br />

contrasting <strong>Sam</strong> and Daniel. Use words that<br />

describe the two characters in your paragraph.<br />



abrupt<br />

blurted<br />

comprehension<br />

eventually<br />

exhilaration<br />

jeopardy<br />

oracle<br />

scrounged<br />

spiteful<br />

stable<br />

TARGET SKILL Compare and Contrast<br />

Examine how two or more details or ideas are alike<br />

and different.<br />

TARGET STRATEGY Infer/Predict Use text clues<br />

to figure out what the author means or what might<br />

happen in the future.<br />

GENRE Realistic Fiction is a present-day story <strong>with</strong><br />

events that could take place in real life.<br />

Write About It<br />

In a famous quotation, Aung San Suu Kyi said,<br />

“Please use your freedom to promote ours.”<br />

What freedoms do you value most? Why? Write<br />

a letter to the editor of a Burmese newspaper<br />

explaining the freedoms you have and why they<br />

are important to you.<br />


Level: U<br />

DRA: 44<br />

Genre:<br />

Realistic Fiction<br />

Strategy:<br />

Infer/Predict<br />

Skill:<br />

Compare and Contrast<br />

Word Count: 2,765<br />

6.5.<strong>21</strong><br />


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