Fishing for Sanity

(ROCKWALL, TX – Aug. 31, 2019) Social media rants where folks name and defame.

Politicians attack, blame, call out, label, and ostracize.

News channels drone everything as a “crisis.”

And I could go on and on. I’m guilty, I admit it. I read the rants, I stew over the state of the country, and that news station will drone on in the background with its incessant flow of scandal, predictions, and problems. It’s addicting, yet, just in the midst of losing myself in the madness, a coaching buddy texted to see if I’d like to fish on Lake Ray Hubbard. We typically go at least once a summer to fish for sand bass and hybrids. It is a highlight of my summer break and most of the time we bring home a ton for the freezer. This year his son and another coach would join us, and I couldn’t wait for the comradery. As I drove out to the boat ramp to meet the guys, the sun peeked over the buildings and bluffs of The Harbor. It was cloudy and a slight breeze whispered. Fish or no fish, it is what I needed.

We piled in the boat and motored across the lake. John was a master at finding the fish; his plan was to look for sand bass feeding on the top water. Once you get used to it, it’s not hard to spot, you just look across the surface and when you see sudden swirls, like an other-worldly creature is lurking just under the surface, and spot hundreds of little splashes of baitfish, you’ve found them. We sped over to a big swirl and immediately cast our lines. One fish after another bent my rod and came over the side to a point that Cary chided that I’d be soon going into the drink if it kept happening.

After about a half hour, Cary started hooking them, big ones. He was dialed in and he giggled that he was only successful because he had switched rods with me and given me the one with bad ju-ju. A little later after catching some bait, we pursued big hybrid bass. In all of my years of freshwater fishing, I’ve never caught something that fought like a monster from the ocean until I hooked a hybrid. They yank on your line like they hate you, and we hooked and reeled and fought several to the surface.

There were moments the fish nearly jumped into the boat and others where it seemed they’d gone extinct, but there was no shortage of stories and laughter as four guys enjoyed the great outdoors. When we returned to the boat ramp and divided the catch, the real work was about to begin. This is where a lot of guys stop short because it can be a massive, messy labor and instant gratification tempts one to throw the fish back and drive through Long John Silver’s. Yet, it is where the greatest satisfaction lies for me. This catch took me over an hour to filet, clean up, and bag, but after a nap I fired up the grill and the family feasted on the freshest of fish tacos. And this meal came with stories and laughter as I retold the adventure with my friends. The writer Thomas McGuane once said, “A world in which a sacramental portion of food can be taken in an old way—hunting, fishing, farming, gathering—has as much to do with societal sanity as a day’s work for a day’s pay.” Amen to that, and in fact, I’ll have seconds.

By Scott Gill. 




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