In her memoir, Girls of Tender Age, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith describes catching eels as a child, how violent it was:
Her grandfather grabs the eel "and swings [it] with all his might into the jetty.... You have to do this or the twisting, twining eel will get all wound up and tangled in your line. If it's a small eel, I get to smash its head against the jetty.
When I am an adult, I will decide to carry on the time-honored eeling tradition. Out on the beach, I explain to my two children how we must first hook the sandworms. I hold up a black hook. The children look from the hook to the white box from the bait store with the sandworms all snoozing quietly amid the pile of shredded seaweed. My son seizes the box and he and his sister run down to the water's edge and set the worms free.
What the hell am I thinking?"