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.