Musings on Fishing

This summer and fall I spent nearly every day on the bank of the Red River with my rod in hand waiting for that bite that would begin the greatest thrill of them all. Watching that bobber go down and setting the hook is a feeling that can’t be described to those who haven’t experienced it. This summer was the first time I’d fished in years, and the first time I’d taken it somewhat seriously. I had never owned a rod or tackle box prior to this past summer.

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The beautiful Red River of the North in autumn.

If you’re too busy to go fishing, you’re too busy…

This is most certainly true. It’s great living in a place where I’m a 10-minute drive from a world-class channel catfish fishery. In the summer, I try to fish every single day. When we fish, we strip our whole existence down to two basic possibilities—The worst thing that could possibly happen to us is not catching a fish. Conversely, there is no greater joy than reeling in anything with gills and fins (after all, a bad day of fishing is better than any day of work)! I think that if your week is too busy to go down to the nearest stream, pond, lake, or river and cast a line, your week is indeed too busy.

Fishing isn’t about catching fish…

This is something I’ve meditated on a lot while fishing. If the joy of fishing were only the few moments spent reeling in a fish, the whole experience would be pretty boring. The most beautiful moment I can remember fishing was during a lunch break between classes. I was listening to a narration of the gospel of Matthew on my phone, glancing across the river to the other side and seeing four deer prancing in a field, then noticing my bobber go down. The goldeye I reeled in was truly the least memorable part of that trip down to the river. I’ve never been disappointed through the dozens of times I’ve come back empty-handed. I always seem to learn something and I always enjoy myself. Henry David Thoreau was right when he said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” 

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