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It was a beautiful day as Justin rode along listening to his dad and his Grampa chatter in the front of the van.
“I remember when I caught that whopper at Muddy Creek,” said Grampa. He stretched his arms wide to show how big the “whopper” fish was.
“Ha ha! I don’t think it was quite that large,” said Justin’s dad.
“It was too, Son. I remember it was bigger than you,” said Grampa.
“Well, maybe,” Justin’s dad replied, “but I was just a little baby then.”
Justin snickered; he couldn’t imagine his dad ever being a little baby.
When the van pulled up to the lake, Justin jumped out of the back seat, excited to start fishing.
Soon, the boat was in the water, and Justin got in. He hurriedly grabbed his fishing pole and threw the line over the side of the boat.
“Wait, Justin!” Dad exclaimed. “We need to go out to the middle of the lake before we put our lines in.”
Dad started up the motor and off they sped toward the deep water where the fish lived.
Justin reeled in his line but didn’t put his pole down. The wind tugged hard on the pole as the boat moved along.
“Whoa! You better get your pole in,” said Grampa.
Justin nodded, but he liked the feel of the wind pulling on his pole, so he held it there for just a minute longer. Suddenly a gust of wind whipped past him and almost jerked his pole right out of his hand! Justin clenched his fingers around the pole and laid it down.
“You almost lost it there,” Grampa said. “Can’t catch many fish without your pole.”
Finally, Dad turned off the motor and the boat stopped. It was very quiet out on the lake.
“This is nice,” said Dad. “I could just take a nap here.”
“No way, Dad!” said Justin. “I’m ready to catch a whopper just like Grampa’s.”
“Okay then,” said Dad, “let’s get at it.” He opened his tackle box and took out a jar of fish bait.
“Eww! What is that?” asked Justin holding his nose. “It’s like stinky play dough.”
Grampa laughed as he rolled a glob of fish bait between his fingers. “Well, it’s not play dough, but it is stinky. The fish like it, though.”
“Wait for me to help you bait your hook,” Dad instructed Justin.
Justin watched his Grampa attach the doughy bait to a hook. “I can do that,” Justin said to himself.
He grabbed a huge blob of bait dough out of the jar and smooshed it on his own hook. “Ouch!” Justin felt a sharp pain in his finger.
“Justin, are you okay?” asked Dad. “That hook is very sharp. I told you to wait so I could help you.”
“Sorry, Dad,” said Justin as Dad wrapped a bandage around the wounded finger then put bait on Justin’s hook.
Finally, Justin threw his line in the water. Bloop! Down, down it went.
“Here, fishy, fishy, fishy,” Grampa whispered. “It helps if you talk nicely to them.” Grampa winked.
Suddenly, Justin felt his line wiggle. “I got one!” he squealed, then jumped up out of his seat.
Grampa and Dad both started giving Justin commands. “Sit down!” “Reel it in!” “Don’t go too fast!”
But Justin didn’t listen to either of them. He had gone fishing once before and thought he knew exactly what to do.
Justin reeled in the line. Suddenly, he saw his fish jump out of the water still hooked onto his line.
“Slow down, Justin,” said Dad, grabbing the net.
But Justin didn’t slow down. He kept reeling it in as fast as he could.
“Bring your pole up,” said Grampa.
But Justin didn’t lift his pole up. He peered over the side of the boat. His fish was right there, but his pole was tipped down too far.
That was all the fish needed to shake itself free and jump away from the boat—plop—back into the water where it came from.
“Aww!” Justin watched as the fish flicked its tail and swam away. Then Justin noticed his dad and Grampa staring at him. “What?” Justin asked innocently.
“Justin, why didn’t you do anything we said?” asked Dad. “We were trying to help you, but you didn’t obey. Now look what happened.”
Justin felt bad—not only because he lost his fish, but also because he knew he had disobeyed by doing things his way instead of listening.
“I’m sorry, Dad. I’m sorry, Grampa,” Justin apologized and hung his head.
“Well, I guess you can have a second chance,” said Dad. “But you need to do what we say. I don’t want you hurting yourself on a hook again or falling overboard!”
Justin agreed to listen and obey. Grampa baited his hook, and Justin tossed the line into the water. It wasn’t long before he felt a hard jerk on the end of his line. “I got one again!” he shouted. This time, he stayed in his seat and did everything his dad and Grampa told him to do.
Soon, they were all oohing and aahing over the huge fish Justin caught.
“Wow! Is this a whopper, Grampa?” Justin asked excitedly.
“I should say so!” said Grampa. “That’s the whoppingest whopper I’ve ever seen!”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.