gone fishing

For a year or so, that was my home-phone voice greeting when I lived in San Francisco.  Even though I had gone fishing several times over my California living stint, I wasn’t thinking about fish when I recorded the greeting.

Unless we are fishing on a boat with electronic eyes, we can’t see too far into the water to know exactly where the fish are.  If we are not on that smart-boat, then fishing can be an unknown.  We never know if we’ll catch anything, and even if we do, it may not be what we were hoping for.  Success isn’t always guaranteed, unless the process of fishing is fulfilling enough.

My first deep-sea fishing experience was with DOD.  I was old enough to be excited and the experience is still vivid.  We left home while it was dark.  About a half-hour before our three-hour drive to the sea ended, we stopped for breakfast, the sun still not yet up.  I remember the delicious eggs, bacon and toast the diner served.  Little did I know at the time, that breakfast was a mistake.

An hour and a half after shoving off from dock, we reached a point where land disappeared.  Why was I getting more nauseous with every passing minute, I was wondering.  By the time we dropped anchor and everyone dropped their lines in the water, the only thing I could drop overboard was my breakfast.

My day was spent mostly below deck on a sleeping bunk.  I couldn’t focus on anything except my sea sickness.  When I felt less than completely miserable, I’d surface, see DOD happily fishing, and with the help of the crew, drop my line in the water for a chance at a catch.  But my time reeling was short-lived as I’d need to quickly retreat down below.  I could see DOD thought it was humorous. I did too, but not until I was on dry land, where to my delight, the nauseous feeling immediately stopped.

Lots of people, not all, caught fish that day.  I don’t know how but I caught one, although it wasn’t a fish I wanted to keep, or eat.  The experience though, was rich.

A couple of years later, somewhere in my early teens, I was invited with a family on a weeklong fishing trip to Canada.  Our cabin was lakeside, but we spent most of the day in the boat exploring areas where, with patience, we eventually caught beautiful large and smallmouth bass, northern pike, and lots of mosquitoes.

At 21, I ended up on an unplanned fishing expedition in the Caribbean.  After a motorcycle trip to Florida, I parked my bike at an Aunt’s home in Jacksonville, took a flight to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and immediately boarded a sailboat commandeered by a friend and four of his rowdy buddies.  We cruised the small, uninhabited islands of the British Virgin Island chain.  The boat was our home for 10 days.  Our only food was what we caught.  We spent each day, all day, in the water, spearfishing.  The water was crystal clear so we could see the fish.  Still, spearing fish was no easy feat.  After 10 days of trying, I don’t think I speared even one fish.  Fortunately, we had no lack of food that trip.

Those fishing adventures required getting out into the water.  In each case the fish we were after weren’t available from dry land.  Even when visible, they were not an easy catch.

In real-life fishing, including our career adventures, we don’t always have the luxury of smart boats.  It may take more than dropping a line in the water or sitting back and trolling.  Visibility doesn’t extend too far below the surface.  Success isn’t guaranteed.  But real-life fishing can be every bit as rewarding, if we let it, as a water fishing experience.  It just may take getting a little wet.  And whether or not we catch what we are after, there’s a good chance we’ll hook a fish story, or two.

Gone again, fishing. canstock13236685

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