Still Fishing

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Little Snook Matter with Freedom Charters Co.

I am pretty sure most of the people in my life thought that fishing was a phase. They thought I was doing it for a guy. They thought I would do it for a minute and then move on. I have been fishing for close to as long as I have been sober now. So almost 6 years. It isn’t a phase and it isn’t going anywhere. Fishing is part of who I am now. I am not a pro. I am not the best. I most likely never will be, but I am not giving up. That is what makes me not horrible at it.

When I started fishing after I got sober, it was to connect with my ex and to just basically have something to do on the boat. I didn’t drink anymore, so what they heck was I gonna do? My ex so delicately put it, “Well, you could actually try to fish now?” He was right. So I did. I was a nightmare. A pure nightmare. I couldn’t even cast myself. My line would just go straight up in the air. I was not a sports girl. He would use sports analogies and I would just laugh. Do it like you are <insert sports activity>! Um, ok? That doesn’t help me. It took at least a year for me to be able to lob my own lure out there without it coming back at me. To this day I can’t seem to get which way the wind is blowing. Laugh all you want. I don’t know why it is so hard for me. I am a relatively intelligent human who cannot seem to grasp some very simple concepts. My boyfriend now can get frustrated, and y’all, it is frustrating. “Boo, do you not know which way the wind is blowing?” No, no I don’t. “Do you not see that <insert thing in the water> right there?” No, no I do not. IN my defense, I really can’t see well. I need to get my prescription in sunglasses, but for now I like having that excuse!

When I met the man I fish with now, I thought I was pretty good. I was wrong. Very wrong. I have learned SO much in the year and a half or so that we have been fishing, I now realize how little I really did know. That is one thing I love about fishing is that you can always learn. There is always something new. There are always new species and new ways to catch them. As a lover of learning, this is a plus to me. My boo that I fish with now is just amazing when it comes to catching fish. (He is pretty amazing at many things, but this post isn’t about that.) Being on the boat with him is both awesome and frustrating at the same time. You have to get this thick skin because at my level, you have to be ready to watch him out fish you 99% of the time. He can pull fish out of thing air it seems sometimes. I get lucky sometimes, but I am nothing like what he can do. I will never be that good. I am not a natural, but I do not give up.

Growing up, I didn’t do things I wasn’t naturally good at. I was a music, art and theater girl. It just came to me. I still love those things. I am just learning how to love things that take work and effort. I am learning how to get mad, upset and to keep going. Well, that sucked, I say to myself often, let’s try again. I have bad days, but I know the next trip may change everything. I am learning to draw inspiration from his greatness. (Y’all think I am kidding or just being that girlfriend. I am not. He is that good. He might also get annoyed that I am putting it in writing, but I don’t even care.) There was a time where I was happy to go set some shrimp out and wait for a fish. I do still enjoy that from time to time, but it doesn’t even come close to catching a fish on artificial or much less topwater.  I want to catch them a certain way now. I don’t know too much, but I know enough to know I would rather use a lure than bait every time.

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Redfish in the mangroves. Hudson, FL

I didn’t fish for a few months when we took our much needed break and it about near killed me as much as being away from him did. Some people think it is him who suggests fishing as much as we do. I assure you, it isn’t. It is a joint illness we both suffer from. I have finally gotten to a peace about it that if we don’t get to go that week there will be other weeks. It is an addiction. I get that. I am an addict. So I find it best to channel that into something that can be positive.

On this last trip to the Tampa area a guide friend of his took us out on the water. He guides so they use bait often. I welcome that. It is a good way to get to know an area. We fished the morning with the bait he caught. I hooked some reds and a tiny snook. It was a great time. We both love exploring new areas. His friend was an awesome guide and put us on fish. George threw out some lures and of course caught  the biggest redfish and trout. Yeah, I was frustrated, but proud. He does that every time. I am telling you it is awesome. So we left to go to his friend’s house about an hour south of where we were fishing. We stopped by a fun park that had a bridge that people were fishing off of. We took our poles and casted as fish swimming under the bridge. Nothing bit. It was also hard to see what the fish were. It was a chance they were just mullet and were not interested in our lures. Then, I heard the line whirl. He was on. Of course. He had a redfish! I was shocked. These people all around us were shocked, too! He was heading to the truck and I said, um no. My turn. A couple casts in and my line took off. Y’all, no way had I really hooked something. Sure enough, I got it close enough to see it shine. A snook! I had caught a snook from the little bridge on an artificial lure! It was awesome. George insisted on getting a picture, so he climbed down this wall to get my fish. It was a moment I will never forget. I was frustrated, I kept casting and it paid off. I love sharing that joy with the person I love. Having that bond is just so cool. Just don’t give up, y’all, because if I can catch fish, you can.

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