What Do You Love Most About Fishing?

It seems I have just grown accustomed to writing 2012 on forms and documents and it is time now to learn to use 2013. They say time flies when you're having fun; evidently it is true. Entire seasons seem to pass as quickly as weeks did back when, and the scariest part is that it gets worse as I get older. I'm having a ton of fun though!

Jay Watkins included a questionnaire in his column this month and the first question piqued my interest. Rolling it around in my head for a few days I eventually came up with a truly honest answer as Jay asked that we should.

"What is it about fishing that you love most?"

I tried my best to be concise but somehow I cannot narrow it down to just one thing; to answer honestly and most accurately it has to be two but, they are very closely related.

So the two things I love most about fishing are the great sense of adventure I feel every time I leave the dock and, with it, I also love the freedom to enjoy that adventure in my own special way.

To me, even though I might be planning only a brief wade along a San Antonio Bay shoreline minutes from my house, every trip is special, a chance to be free, a chance to lose myself in my thoughts and my imagination. Sometimes I get interrupted by fish.

Let me take you back about fifty years and maybe then you'll understand.

It is early March and winter's grip is leaving the land. The ice on Big Run Creek is breaking up. A schoolboy trapper notices the ice floating downstream from the foggy window of a school bus and knows it is time. The bus groans to a stop and he flies to the house to change into work clothes but barn chores can be done after dark. Hip boots and trap basket, axe and a baloney fold-over. Down to the creek!

Fresh tracks and muskrat slides all along the bank, and maybe some mink sign. Hurried sets are made. And then a big chunk of ice slides by, big enough to ride on. That does it!

Out on the ice, carefully testing, swing the axe chopping loose a big chunk, a straight birch sapling makes-do for a push-pole. Shove 'er out into the current. In his mind the schoolboy trapper is the first fur-seeker to enter the valley.

Steer the raft, can't risk hitting a rock, ought to make a set there, good place to camp over here. Ice should be gone in another day or two if it stays warm.

Darkness comes too soon and with it the reality of barn chores. Gonna be in trouble again.

Steer for the bank, current too strong, grab the gear, jump. Soaked to the chest, long walk home in squishy boots. Maybe they won't be too hard on me. Don't mention the raft ride.

I love adventure and freedom. On San Antonio Bay I'm usually a Karankawa.

Happy New Year!