This I Believe
I believe in going fishing.
Rising early while morning still refuses to emerge from under its dark blanket, I hop in my boat and head for the flats. As I make my way out of the canal, I savor the rush of the wind on my face. Even my sleepy dog Wyatt seems to enjoy the spray of sea. Soon, the only sounds audible are the drone of the engine and the occasional slapping made when the bow decides to skip a wave. For a split second, the world ceases to revolve and time stops. The sea becomes everything, and I can only smile.
When I reach the flats, I drop the anchor and grab my rod. Carefully stepping over Wyatt, I select the morning’s first bait from the livewell. A quick 360 degree scan reveals the location of a deep canal between two solitary islands—a sweet spot. The slight whoosh of the rod as it slices through the salty air causes Wyatt to look up. As he lays his head back down, his eyes remain focused on the rod tip, waiting for the slightest sign of movement.
As the sun begins to crown over a distant horizon, life begins to awaken. Gulls hover around distant shrimp boats, cranes pose among the shoreline, and great brown pelicans glide atop the water in search of an easy meal. As I sit there amidst the young sunlight watching life runs its course, I feel complete and at home. I know that this is my refuge, my sanctuary. It is the one place I can go to forget everything else. Time and emotion have no meaning in the flats, only life—not good, not bad—but always continuing.
And when the mullet begin leaping out of the water, and that rod finally does start to twitch, I will still be there waiting and watching. Whether it’s a small hardhead brought in with relative ease, or monster red refusing to spit out the hook, the catch always holds a thrill. Even when that one stubborn fish comes along and breaks your line, you can’t help but make another cast. You always know that no matter what happens, there is always another fish.
Fishing is not something that defines us as people. But that’s what makes fishing what it is. I believe it can be whatever you put into it. It can be a getaway, a hobby, a career, or your way of finding meaning. But most importantly, I believe in fishing because it makes me smile.
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