Catch and Release

Richard - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on May 7, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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At the beginning of Fall 2008, my girlfriend of two years left me, my grades were suffering, I was eighty four pounds overweight, and I pretty much had given up hope on life. I was depressed, on the verge of suicide, and did not tell anyone. Whenever I talked to my friends and family, I would put up a façade, hoping that none of them would realize the mental anguish I was going through. I began to drink heavily to numb the pain, but it didn’t work. It felt like my life was a maelstrom, and I was caught right in the eye. All I could do was deal with the situation at hand and hope for the best.

A difficult three months had passed, and I still had not recovered. One thing I did to coop with the pain was to watch countless hours of pointless television, but today was different. Cabela Presents Pro Bass Fishing was on, which happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. Then it hit me, “I should go fishing!” I got in my car and left that minute. As I drove toward the lake, I kept thinking to myself “What am I gonna make for dinner.” For the first time in months, I had truly felt happy.

I pulled up to the marina, and I saw the pristine lake for the first time in a while. As I got out of my car, I started hearing splashing in the distance. I then noticed that there were fish jumping out of the water a mile away, so I ran back to my car, got my gear, and jogged over to the site.

Once I arrived, I notice that the fish weren’t jumping anymore, so I decided to try a more promising spot down the road. I tossed out a lure and immediately felt a jolt. My heart started racing as I brought in this massive eight pound fish in. Once I had the fish, I started laughing hysterically, but then I stared into this creature’s eyes and immediately stopped. It looked back at me with a dismal stare, as its gills contracted violently — struggling to acclimate to an unnatural habitat. I then realized that its life depended on my actions. I looked out at the lake, and tossed the big guy back in. I thought to myself “Look at where you are right now and what you’re doing.” I had then realized that I had given my life a second chance, and for that reason I gave that fish a second chance.

Up to that point, I was in a rough spot in my life and blamed it on myself. I beat myself up so much that I forgot that I wasn’t being myself. So, every time something negative is going on in my life I go fishing, and when I catch one I stare the fish in the eyes and say “This is your second chance man, good luck,” and release it. I believe in catch and release fishing.