Young Fred Waitzkin is a Jewish boy stretched between the divergent values of parents who cannot tolerate one another. Fred's father, Abe, is a brilliantly talented salesman whose relentless will drives him to succeed-he literally brightens American cities with fluorescent lighting fixtures. Abe marries Stella, an abstract artist and daughter of a wealthy industrialist with whom Abe forges an alliance. When his parents' marriage disintegrates, Fred retreats into fishing, learning the trade from the master captains of Bimini. In scenes ranging from Long Island synagogues to evenings with famous painters to the boats of drug smugglers and the once marlin-rich waters of the Gulf Stream, Fred sinks boats and battles thousand-pounders believing that fishing is the only hope. Woven through this compelling narrative are moving insights about childhood, families, and a love of the sea.