Learning about myself - My angler journey
“Man, it’s hot…” That’s the thought running through my head after 3 hours of fishing with no bites. I was at a lake I’d never fished before, surrounded by miles of lily pads. The scenery was beautiful and daunting all at the same time. The pads were so thick they overlapped each other, and cypress trees peppered the landscape. So many options, so many favorite hiding spots for fish, and yet how did I choose?
The frog I’d been running across the top of the pads hadn’t been working. The Texas Rigged worm and creature bait had pulled nothing too. But pads were hitting the top of the water everywhere… so I had to make a change. I took a drink of water, let out a sigh of resolve, and cut off the frog I had refused to give up on. I pulled the white and chartreuse Chatterbait from my Plano box, and quickly tied it on.
The water was muddy, less than a foot of visibility. Even with the pad cover, they would be near the top of the column because of the lack of good clarity. They’d want something loud and obnoxious. So I made the decision to run it sun surface and fast. I flung it as far as I could down the edge of the pads and started cranking. The end of my rod buzzed violently as I swam my bait as close as I could to the edge of the pads…
Then suddenly, it stopped. My immediate thought was, “I’m hung on a pad stem,” so I gave a quick pop to try and free it. That’s when my line started to swim across the opening between the pads. Immediately I yanked with everything I had, and the fight was on. As I cranked, I watched the end of my line dart towards the edges of the pads, obviously signaling that my catch was doing everything possible to get loose. But not now, not this time.
I cranked and cranked until it surfaced just next to my kayak. And there it was. The bass I’d been chasing all morning and been eluded by until this point. And he was a decent size, coming in around 16 inches. That made it all worth it. As I grabbed him by the lip and hoisted him from the water in victory, I was filled with overwhelming satisfaction. I’d come to a new spot, I’d faced down an unforeseen challenge, and I’d won.
I pulled 3 more with the same technique before I loaded up and went home. I was exhausted from paddling, nearly dehydrated after running out of water, and ready for a nap. But as I drove home, not even listening to the radio, I reveled in the days events. I proved to myself that my knowledge was enough to put fish in the boat when I needed to; that I could figure it out when it felt hopeless. And that’s the reason I keep going.
That’s the reason I keep getting outdoors, going to new places, and facing down those challenges. Because I need to discover I can do it. I can face a challenge and win.
And you can too.