As anyone who has ever cast a line into the water with a hook on the other end knows, there comes a time to “fish or cut bait.”

The second part of that adage has clearly arrived for a work of public art in Portland, the less-than-successful “Tracing the Fore” grass-and-metal sculpture occupying the median strip in Portland’s Boothby Square on Fore Street.

The sculpture is a set of steel panels curved to represent waves and set in a patch of grass intended to billow in the breeze to mimic the action of ocean waves.

It was one of those ideas that looked much better on paper during the intense competition for a candidate than it actually ended up being when it was constructed on site.

Originally budgeted at $50,000, the city has sunk $135,000 into it. The steel panels look more like saw blades than waves, apparently creating apprehension among some observers who said they were afraid to get too close. That led the head of the Portland Public Arts Committee to say that one point in the sculpture’s defense was that so far, no one has been injured by it.

The fescue grass planted to simulate the motion of waves didn’t grow well as part of a streetscape subject to sanding and plowing, and it also was contaminated with crabgrass.

So the art committee is now pondering whether to dismantle the four-year-old project, perhaps placing its metal parts in storage in the hopes that a suitable venue can be found.

True, that hasn’t pleased the sculptor, Shauna Gillies-Smith, a Harvard faculty member and landscape architect who wants to discuss her creation’s fate before a final judgment is made. That may seem fair, but it’s hard to see how, after all the efforts made so far to preserve this project, any new ideas will help.

This line has dangled without a nibble for too long.

Snip it, and move on.