I didn’t know that I love fishing until this summer. I got my fishing license, and James and I started going out on the river together as often as possible. I feel more at peace with the whole world when I’m out on the water, the wind whipping through my ponytail (and bugs hitting my sunglasses!). But it’s more than just the setting and the mood that makes me love fishing–it’s the thrill of reeling in what feels like a humungous catch and tossing it into the boat, knowing some great fish tacos will be in my near future.
The first time James took me fishing, I didn’t have a license yet, so I just watched. Well, I also pouted. I really wanted to fish, too! It’s not as much fun when you’re not experiencing it yourself–touching the rod, feeling the weight of the fish pulling against you, knowing that you made it happen and by pulling back at just the right time.
After getting my license, we went limb lining. We took the boat out at sunset and headed up the river to a creek. After connecting hooks to string, James painstakingly tied line after line to limbs, carefully maneuvering the boat through swamp-like darkness. I figured out rather quickly that limb lining was NOT my thing. Not only are there more bugs to feast on me at night, but there are also visible spiders everywhere–on any given limb, I saw three or four spiders with gigantic, intricate webs waiting to snare me if the boat moved an inch closer… or at least that’s what I imagined. The fear of a spider falling on me or brushing off a limb onto my head or shoulders grew as the darkness deepened and the boat crept along through the quiet creek. I admit I may have emitted a few very girly shrieks from time to time.
After hanging the baited lines, we took the boat to a small sandbar, ate a snack, and gazed at the stars together.
We headed back to check the lines. As we rounded the corner into the creek, James pointed out a small tree that seemed to be alive, wiggling and wrestling with an invisible creature in the water. We’d caught our first catfish! As James pulled the fish in and tossed it into the cooler, I felt myself swat the arachnophobia away. My one and only focus became the fish. I morphed into a fearless fisherwoman within a matter of moments. It felt like flying.
It reminded me that if I focus on the fish every day, I’ll find those nagging fears crawling away, leaving me with nothing but the sheer thrill of living.