Catch and Release

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Catch and Release


I wake up early in the morning. It’s Saturday, why am I up at half past six? Anyone else would be furious if their iPod woke them up blaring music this early; but not me. I’m glad to get this well deserved from my regimented routine at boarding school. I consider this block of time truly ‘my time’. Not a single person around to bother me or ask for orders. I can go out and do the activity I treasure.
Fishing keeps me sane. Everyone has one activity that they love, that is held above everything else. Fishing is my opportunity to get back to nature, to leave my email or cell phone for a couple of hours and just be by myself. Seldom in today’s world do people take the time to slow down and collect themselves. I set aside an hour or two to get up and leave all my troubles behind me.

I prepare my pre-fishing ritual. It always starts the same way; wash my face, brush my teeth, then get dressed. Just like all great fishermen, I have my lucky charms that always must accompany me to fishing. My bright yellow T-shirt, reminds me of Lance, it empowers me to keep trying and never let diversity stand in my way. Next I wear favorite maroon and white shorts. The football shorts that I wore during the best season I ever had. The shorts are worn down and broken in. Next just shoes, there is no room for socks while fishing. Socks will not allow me to dip my feet into the water or feel the waves splashing through the wood of the docks. My all white Reeboks, they are not ideal for fishing, and in no way what the ‘traditional’ fisherman would wear. Lastly, and certainly the most important, is my grey bucket hat. The hat is clearly two sizes too small, but has miraculously stretched over the years to fit. I’m grab my iPod, because there is some technology that you can’t live without, and my fishing gear; now I’m dressed for success.

I walk through my barracks hallways. All quiet, except for the occasional night-owl that will go to sleep about eight a.m. or the athletes that has an early practice. Outside the air is crisp and cool, the sky is clear and the sun is just rising off in the East; perfection. Walking on the side walk to the pier, I can still see the dew on the grass reflecting the light of the morning. The walk to the pier is long, but it is a journey well worth the effort. The old wood of the pier creeks as the waves hit it and I steadily walk down the pier to the end. The pier juts out to the middle of the bay by our school, and at the end of the pier I am a peninsula, surround by water. My shoes come off and I can feel the grainy wood under my feet. My iPod starts up with Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The first cast out. Like taking the first bite of fresh cookies, or putting on a new pair of jeans for the first time. And every time it is new and exhilarating. I never know what will come out of the first cast, and it usually dictates the rest of the trip. If its seaweed, I know today will be plenty of work. If a nimble I know it’s going to be my lucky day. The cast lands about twenty-five feet out; now begins the age old dance.

What people don’t understand is the catching a fish doesn’t measure success. The hopefulness of a chance to catch “The Big One” just to release it for another day is what makes fishing. I reel the lure in…nothing but seaweed; there’s always next week.





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