Setting: A river between the states of New Hampshire and Vermont. Characters: The narrator is a teenage boy who loves fishing, and he has heavy feelings for a girl.
The narrator has to decide whether he is going to engage with something he loves, or throw it all away with a random girl. So they get in the canoe to go to the dance.
The two are proceeding down the river, and a monstrous bass catches the line, and he feels his pole pull. Shelia has no idea, and the narrator has to decide whether to reel it in and fight it, or keep it a covert and continue to be ignored be Shelia.
The narrator is running out of time as the line as the bass is thrusting in the water. He has to make a quick decision or Shelia will find out or maybe something worse.
The teenage boy finally decides to cut the line, which he will regret for the rest of his life.
The narrator does not get the bass or the girl, which he will never forgive himself. He put aside what he loved, for something that was not as important. He learns his lesson, and will have regret the rest of his life.