Sometimes I have a burning introspective question to answer. As often as it happens, the more I ponder the question the farther away I get from answering it. Instead new questions emerge such as: Is there an answer? Do I really want to know the answer?
In the book of Luke, Jesus instructs the fishermen to put their boat out in to deeper water and again drop their nets. The fishermen told Jesus that they had been out all night and had caught nothing, but still they did as He told them. When they cast their nets as Jesus instructed, the catch was so large that it threatened to sink their boat and tear up their nets. They had to call others to help them haul it in.
Each summer, I used to take week long fishing trips with my brothers. At least I did until my favorite Uncle Sam sent me to Germany. We spent 7 straight years there on the first trip. Our fishing trips sort of petered out. We fished for everything. Bass, Muskie, Walleye… sometimes though, we would just find a likely spot to anchor the boat and lazily fish for Crappie. All you need is a thermos of coffee and a bucket of Crappie minnows, a rig with a single small split shot sinker and a small hook. It is also helpful if you know where the fish are. Crappie fishing is not a great challenge. You cast the line and let it drift and if something doesn’t hit it you reel it in and toss in another spot. Continue that until you catch one. Crappies are not loners and they never stop feeding. Once you locate them, you reel them in until the coffee and minnows run out. Generally, we were successful filling our basket and ultimately our coolers with a great pan fish with which to stock the freezer.
Interesting things happen when you are successful. After a couple of good catches, people will actually follow you to “the spot.” Then they will haul out their rigs of bobbers and hooks and gigantic sinkers and “Crappie jigs”, and they’ll make noise in the boat and catch nothing. All of this while they were watching us fill our basket. Eventually, some would start casting their lines near our boat. They would bang their big ole sinkers on the side of our boat and sometimes tangle our lines. They tried everything and still didn’t catch any fish. The problem was that they were not fishing were the fish were or using the proper rig.
When done, we would haul up our full basket for everyone to see. Haul up the anchor and head back to the campsite where we would fry some Crappie. As we were leaving, some would actually try to reposition their boats into the spot where we were anchored thinking that was the answer. It’s not where the boat sits. It’s where you cast your line. Of course it also helps if you don’t knock the fish out with your giant sinker.
For me, that is a valuable life lesson applicable to any endeavor. Am I fishing in the right spot? I have been fooling around with this website for a lot of years. Sometimes, it is all too plain that along with a bazillion others I too often fish in a crowded hole – banging my sinkers off the side of someone else’s boat. It is like all of the local talk radio types holding out hope that someday they’ll be Rush Limbaugh.
My spot is not where others are anchored nor in their wake. My spot is writing about whatever is laid on my heart. Fishing in the spot where I feel led. I will stick to that. Maybe I can fill the basket without getting my line tangled.
© 2017 J. D. Pendry