The end of the passage however, he realizes that Holly is a grown girl who has earned her independence, and he couldn’t possibly inhibit her from leaving and starting the next chapter of her life. He has been going fishing with her since she was six, and hey have been fishing buddies ever since. Although Holly stopped going with him every time once she hit her teens, whenever she had a problem or needed to have a riveter talk with her father, she would always go.
Holly is the narrator’s little girl, and doesn’t want her to leave into the grown-up world forever, but when he caught that bass he realized that keeping her at home wouldn’t be right. When he caught the bass and Holly asked if he was going to keep it her said “Honey, Eve always dreamed of having a fish like that mounted on my wall, where I could look at him whenever I wanted to. But a fish on a wall is a lifeless thing, no matter how much you prize it.
That fish was so full of life and fought so hard for his freedom that I had to let him go back to where he belonged, to live his own life. ” The fish symbolizes Holly here because he is saying that he loves her so much but no matter how much he loves her, keeping her from leaving and living her life the way she wants will make her so unhappy, and that she deserves to be happy and free.