I saw the most beautiful sunrise!

I saw the most beautiful sunrise!
Golfers will never experience anything like this!

Years ago when I was a young boy I remember my dad coming home from an overnight floundering and wade-fishing trip. Dad had a good sense of humor and when my mom, sister and I met him at the door he held up an empty stringer.

He said it was windy all through the night so the water was muddy to the point that trying to flounder would have been a waste of time. He went on to say said that the tide went out and was slack and that wade-fishing was a bust that morning, with no current running.

I asked him if he caught any fish at all and he replied, "No son, but I saw the most beautiful sunrise on West Matagorda Bay."

At 58 years old now I've seen a lot of sunrises on the water and hope to see many more. When you're on the water the sunrise is a special thing, much like watching the sunrise from a deer blind down in the South Texas brush country. It's almost magical for me to see the sun rising over the bay and if I'm not already in the water when that big orange ball begins peaking over the horizon then I know that I'm running late.

It isn't just the sunrise that is magic. Just being on the water with a good boat under me, or in the water wading a prime shoreline with good firm bottom under my feet can make me feel all emotional inside.

One of my friends, it's been a while and I cannot recall exactly which, when confronted by his father-in-law about skipping church and fishing on Sunday said, "I'm on the water with God admiring all that he has created that is within my sight and thanking him for it. I hope He's okay with that."

What is it that calls us to the water anyway? Fishing of course–catching or not catching is totally irrelevant when you get right down to it. And there's boating and beachcombing, exploring new areas. It's all of these, but it goes even further.

It's a frame of mind, and a lifestyle–it's who we are and what we do.

You all know the excitement that you feel when the outboard fires up and the boat leaves the dock. During the ride your mind takes in everything and you wonder if the lures you rigged up are the right ones or you wonder if you bought enough live bait for the morning. Did you remember your wading boots, stringer, pliers and belt? Sure you did; but your mind is going over and over that mental check list even though you've already done it more than once.

Then after a while the captain idles back, your heart beats a bit harder and you start looking for what he's looking for; maybe he sees bait in the water. Pods of mullet, jumping shrimp, toothy fish cutting through the bait. Maybe you'll see it or maybe you won't. Maybe the captain will pull the stick back to neutral and prepare to set the anchor of drop the Power Pole and in a few minutes you'll be in the water chasing your dream. Maybe he'll throttle back up and keep on going. Or maybe you're looking for birds and when you find them he will set up to drift down through them.

My wife told me years ago that I spend more money on my fishing habits than she does on groceries and that maybe I should take up golf. I thought about that for about a half a millisecond and then I began a dissertation that would have impressed any long-winded politician putting on a filibuster.

Fishermen–serious fishermen, I told her; we buy a few high-tech handmade rods that are crafted especially for us and mount a few reels on them that are fine, precision-built instruments. We buy clothing that will not only dry quickly but that will also help protect us from the sun's UV rays. Our sunglasses are top of the line with mirrored-glass lenses that protect our eyes from; yes you know it, the sun's UV rays. Our wading boots are made of the finest materials to last us at least a couple of seasons. They protect our feet against sharp oyster and other hazards that lurk in the waters. The lures we buy are known fish catchers and match our angling style. Our boats and outboard engines are perfectly matched and the props are tuned to get the optimum performance out of the rig. We take very good care of our boats and motors just as we do the family SUV that you drive to the grocery store and to work every day.

"Aha," says she. "So you really should take up golf!"

Golfers–serious golfers, I told her; they need at least fourteen high-tech handmade clubs that are made especially for them to maximize their swing and they put them into huge precision-crafted golf bags. They buy very expensive clothing that will not only dry quickly but that will also help to protect them from the sun's UV rays. Their sunglasses are top of the line with mirrored-glass lenses that protect their eyes from; yes you know it, the sun's UV rays. Their golf shoes are made of the finest materials and are made to measure to fit their feet and are made to last for at least a couple of seasons. Their golf carts are top of the line with all the bells and whistles that they can find to put on them. They take good care of their golf carts just as they do the family Mercedes SUV their wives drive to the grocery store and to the club. Golfers, serious golfers, spend a fortune on greens fees or on monthly country club dues. It's much more expensive, I told her, to be serious about golf than it is fishing.

She threw up her hands and walked inside mumbling something about my mind. I yelled to the closing door, "Hey, It's a frame of mind, it's what we do."

I have a very good friend whose wife used to not understand why he would get up early and drive to the beach to fish the surf; nasty sticky saltwater and such. She told me that one day he came in and he had caught no fish but that he had seen the most beautiful sunrise over the gulf. She told me at that point that she got it.

Go see the sun rise on the bay and if you're of the mind to, stick around watch the sun set on the water too.

After all, it is part of what we do.

Be safe.