Fishing remains as the most popular sport in America.  There is a reason for this sustained popularity.  It isn’t about competitiveness, although there is plenty of that to go around. 

Glamor is a part of it but only in certain small slices.  People don’t fish for the social status that the sport affords.  That is not the soul of fishing.

This amazing pastime is embedded deeply in my earliest memories of walking down a levee in the Sacramento valley with a bamboo cane pole over my shoulder.  In my hand was bag that had old stale bread.  A single hook with two split shot lead weights were a part of the fishing line tied to the end of my pole; there was no reel.

Now, decades have past.   My line has been wet by waters in many states and some countries.  The mystery of the shaking rod, taut line, turbulent splashes in the water have all been exhilarating. It never gets old.

All of us who fish know the old saying, “The worst day fishing is better than the best day working.”  Others who don’t know the experience, tease us, “Naw, you don’t really believe that, do you?”  We simply smile without saying a word.

I moved to Texas.  This huge state is now my home.  Fishing here is new to me and I am curious.

New friends took me down to the Gulf shoreline so that we could wet a line.  It was fun.  The beauty of the waters, the surrounding coastline and active birds flew overhead. 

We caught a fair number of fish.  Only one was big enough to keep.  But, even the tiny ones gave us an entertaining morning.

The variety of fish was stunning.  Oddities of an eel, the sleek razor-sharp fins of catfish and amazing colors of a pigfish captured my attention.  It all fed our fellowship and gave us a reason to look forward to a new adventure on the waters for a new day in the future.

My bamboo cane pole has been replaced by a graphite rod.  A saltwater reel has been added to the mix.  Now, I wear a vest with countless pockets to carry my tackle.

My gear has been seriously upgraded.  I’m fishing in waters far from the sloughs of Sacramento.  But, the little boy is still enjoying the mystery of pulling fish out of the water after an enthusiastic fight through splashing waters.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography