My father, who wasn’t a fisherman, bought my brother and me fishing rods when were about seven or eight. Not surf rods which were long and made for casting but the thick bulky short rods with threads securing the eyes and a short stump meant to hang over the side of a boat. Not that I cared, or it mattered because all I wanted to do was fish.

Now I don’t mean fish like once in a while but fish every day and look forward to the summers or the falls after school when the blues were running where I learned to take that three-foot rod with its leader, hooks and two ounce weight to the surf, hold my thumb on the casting real and sling it into the waves as far as I could. Its line spitting from the previous cast all over my face in a mist of salt water which I tasted.

Then sat waiting for hours some days, waiting for that tug, that strike, that moment when setting the hook.

It was between me and that fish, tugging on the line, pulling, running, twisting and reeling, never lowering the rod until my catch was pulled upon the sandy shore and I walked up to retrieve my prize, smelling, yes like fish twisting in my small hand, appearing to me as a marlin or tuna.

Every day I would walk to the beach with my bucket, my frozen mullet or shrimp and my rod looking for my next adventure, seeking a moment when the fight would pursue, and I would be challenged with either a win or a loss as there was nothing in between.

No matter how big or the type fish, it was me and that catch until the death and I was determined to be the master, the victor, the angler who reigned supreme.

Now let me explain as it seems I may have oversimplified the experience as it became much clearer when growing older. Fishing is yes about catching that fish, the excitement between man and mother nature, but it is much more. It’s about the adventure, the solitude, the patience and the rhythm of the waves, water and sea.

It’s about opening your mind to thoughts while you wait sitting on the beach as people walk by asking if you’ve had any luck. 

It’s about the scent of the ocean, the sun on your face and the cool breeze that blows past upon sunset.

It’s about finding yourself and only yourself at peace in the world.

It’s about more than a boy, his fishing rod and some small creature he’s captured.

It’s about the simple things that pull us along teaching us how to enjoy this world with which we have been blessed.

It’s about life, winning and losing yet never giving up or giving in because every moment, every single moment is a pleasure we learn to enjoy if we only allow ourselves the opportunity. 



Johnny Johnston
Johnny Johnston
An artist/writer as well as graduate of the University of South Carolina with degrees in journalism/20th Century American Literature, and retired senior executive of several international hotel/resort corporations, Johnny is the product of the south having been raised in the ever-changing transient lifestyle of a Carolina coastal resort. A point where he discovered, within his 300-year-old heritage and the world's dramatic social/cultural shifts during the late '60s to early 80’s an ambitious hunger and overwhelming curiosity to touch, see and become a participant in the virtually unlimited possibilities offered to those who wish for and seek life experiences. A journey which when hearing its details initially makes one a bit skeptical, questioning its validity as it is hard to imagine that incidents such as these may have crossed one man’s lifetime. This is the fodder required to step into zones exposing one's personal inner self, which many of his paintings and the words he writes do, openly. An ability to see and hear the tragic, beautiful, accomplished, exciting journey in a life free of inhibitions allowing others the opportunity to live vicariously and become, through his works, a part of its future. His larger works which have been featured in several Colorado and Fredericksburg Texas galleries and resorts have produced a number of collectors and fans. However, over the years, his paintings are mostly viewed by friends, enthusiastic new artist encountered on the streets or a small number of acquaintances he meets when dining in local cafés with his wife.

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  1. Hey Johnny,
    Here you have me thinking of “Sea Fever” by John Masefield. Though, his words were meant to be song lyrics, yours have that same feel. The personification of the fishing experience brings back memories of scents, textures and a sense of being engulfed in calm and rapture as only a young boy can grasp. It takes an artist’s heart to bring it to our mind’s eye. I just read Larry’s comment and see that he had a similar thought. Really like this.

    • Thank you Nancy. When young there was nothing I loved to do more, then I got my first surfboard which is another story. You’re becoming my biggest fan. I’m humbled.

    • Fortunately, I’ve had time to read and think. Storytelling is such a gift. Dirt Road Storytelling is a wonderful venue for inspiration. Dry periods can be quickly flooded with thoughts and words, when we give and receive comments. You, Larry and the others are wonderful and give food for reflection. We all have a lifetime of stories and they are useless unless we share them! Thank you.

  2. Well done my friend. Being that I grew fishing the marshes and creeks around Myrtle Beach I was taken on a nice memory journey. Finding something you love but is also calming is very important to our well being. I absolutely love this. You have now risen to Magnificent Ink

    • You know it became a part of my journey. Not from a physical standpoint but from that which is spiritual. A conquest when longing to capture deep breath, a moment aside from physical moments. A place where I am close to my Creator and release my spirit into the winds.

    • I hear you my friend. As my journey heads into the Twilight times the spiritual becomes more powerful yet more peaceful