Hebrews 11:1 tell us this; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (KJ Version) I started thinking…way too much the other day, as I was kicking backwards upon one of my favorite lakes in Greene-Sullivan State Forest. Fishing is a lot about having faith; for a fly fisherman…you cast and cast and your hope is that there is really something down there willing to eat and that your fly and presentation might hopefully match what the fish of choice is in the mood to eat.
It’s funny how much time you can have on your hands when you aren’t catching many fish and this past weekend was very slow. I can never really gripe because to be out there, on still water, on my float tube is special. It is different than being in a boat because you are literally half in the water itself. However, on those days when the fishing is slow my mind starts to wonder, to drift off and on this day I kept thinking about how much faith we have to drive to a destination, sit on or nearby water for a long time…and repeatedly cast, with high hopes, into the abyss.
On this day the sun was shining, it was indeed a ‘blue-bird’ day. As I’ve said before, not exactly an awesome day for fishing because the sun actually tends to keep the fish lower in the water column which means as a fly-guy I have to be patient and wait for my line to sink; not always my best trait. It was impossible to not be impressed with nature as the water was gin clear and there was a myriad of ‘critters’ flying and swimming by me. At one point a teal was very interested in a meal, she continued to dive, surface, dive, surface…on and on. She was so intent on her meal that at one point she surfaced right beside me and my tube before coming to the conclusion that I wasn’t a part of her natural world.
Fishing is different than hunting. Well…sort of. When I bird hunt I usually know that there are birds in the cover. Often while driving around a piece of grass I see pheasants and then it becomes a matter of them holding for the dogs and me being in the right place. In fact…often while pheasant hunting we ‘bump’ birds, meaning we flush birds without wanting to. This leads you down a different road and faith isn’t involved.
In today’s world of technology, the game-cams actually give deer hunter’s photos of the game they are in pursuit of. Some hunters target specific deer and know its patterns. I am impressed by this…to be able to sit for long hours waiting for the one special deer is very admirable.
As I continued to circle the perimeter of the lake another thought popped into my head; most of Jesus’ disciples who were also fisherman from the Sea of Galilee. Once again, probably a good thing that they started as fisherman because no group in the history of man has had to have more faith and been punished more severely for such faith. I might be straying too far but I wonder if it would have worked as well if the disciples had been a bunch of temperamental pheasant hunters?
As the day progressed I decided to try my luck at another lake that was within a few miles. I enjoy fishing this lake because I don’t need as much faith…I have on many occasions readily caught a wide variety of species from bass to carp. As I pulled into the parking area it was evident that there weren’t too many others with any levels of faith today…I was the only one at this lake.
I hadn’t been on the lake for more than a few minutes when I heard the clanking of a boat and trailer pulling in the area, while they were hidden from my line of sight due to the trees I assumed that shortly a boat would be ‘coming round the corner’. Sure enough…I watched and it was a single and he was fishing for crappie as he had two rods protruding from the front of his boat and was guiding them through some weedy areas that on occasion has produced some nice bass.
I continued around the edge and noticed that he was quickly reaching forward and grabbing one of the rods…over and over he pulled in what appeared to be some nice crappie. As I neared we talked and he told me that the middle part of the lake had loads of crappie on his fish-finder. While we talked, this gent grabbed an orange buoy and chucked into a spot. He told me that he was going to try another part of the lake and I was welcome to fish his marker for crappie. I quickly tied on a size 6 silver streamer and took him up on his offer; a few casts later and I was hooked up with a chunky 12 inch crappie. We continued to talk a bit later and the topic of being a Christian came up, we both were; I could tell he was before I knew it…there was just something kind and caring about him.
My entire life I have clung to a few verses from the bible, first and foremost has been Galatians 6:9; it says, “Let us not get tired in doing what is right for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessings, if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Sounds like a fishing verse if I have ever heard one. Keep fishing, keep casting and if you’re doing it right (right fly line, right leader and tippet, right fly) you will at some point catch a good fish…but hey, just don’t give up. OK, got it.
The next time you’re out fishing, hunting, or almost anything in nature…keep on keeping on. Take a minute to look around at all the beauty God has given us, I bet you can’t help but Enjoy the Great Outdoors.