“It’s too dang cold“, you grumble after a late start as you scramble to grab your breakfast, coffee and gear in one quick pass through the house – you just know you’re going to forget something on this chilly Monday morning.
“It rained last night, the bite is going to suck after all that thunder and I bet the water temps cooled, too. Look at all the fog out there! None of my poles are rigged up properly, gas is super expensive, I don’t want to pay for live bait but I’ll need it, the ramp is going to be too crowded, and I bet that moron that likes to ride his jet ski at the butt-crack of dawn is already out ruining the weedline bite… maybe I’d be better off just staying home…“
Meanwhile, across town…
“I don’t think I can pay my bills this month“, he grumbles after a late start as he scrambles to grab breakfast, coffee and all of his work files in one quick pass through the house. Seems fine, but he knows he forgot something and it’s going to ruin the week.
“I already missed the deadline for Tom, so we might lose him as a client. My boss is going to be super cheesed off about that – probably fire me – at the very least rip me a new one, and Megan isn’t even talking to me lately because of all the family stuff I’ve missed. The kids are mad at me too, obviously, and I feel like there is a massive wedge being pounded between us – but what the heck am I even supposed to do about it?! God, help me… maybe I’d be better off just staying home…“
Two different worlds. Similar feelings of despair.
As I was driving to the lake this morning, I was grumbling, similar to the first example above.
It’s Monday. I was headed to fish for largemouth bass. Planned to throw a Z-Man Pop Frog, then a little finesse Tokyo rig I’ve been playing with as a delivery method for some Strike King Super Finesse Worms.
When I hopped on the interstate, I was stuck behind a little white SUV.
My pity-party continued. WOE IS ME! Everything is working against me this morning even though I’m headed out to fish! They won’t bite! The storm was huge! Everything is messed up!
Then I realized something…
The fella in the SUV actually lives down the street. He was headed to work. He has 5 kids, the youngest plays baseball with my oldest, and he has a beautiful wife.
She has breast cancer.
They’ve been taking trips to Texas for treatment, and it seems like things are looking up, but I don’t know. I’m too terrified to ask.
He was driving in front of me, as I was complaining about all the awful, catastrophic things that were wrecking my morning of fishing…
I felt silly, then ashamed. I was disgusted with myself. Why had I allowed my outlook on the morning to become so negative? I was going fishing – not going to work while my wife was resting at home fighting cancer!
In that moment, I made a note to share this story, and decided to immediately adjust how I was reacting to everything around me.
This week, consider this:
We all have our battles.
Battles that change constantly. Battles that are important to us (no matter how small).
Not all battles are as intense as breast cancer, thankfully, and it’s worth keeping this in mind as we go through our day. If we’re able to sneak out to the lake – even if it’s terrible – that is a simple blessing. It’s better than running a business, going to work, taking a child to the emergency room… it’s better than any number of things.
All of the inconveniences that pop up on any given morning allow us to grow as anglers. They help us get better. They toughen us up. If they are so resilient that we can’t overcome them, if they cause us to stumble – GOOD – we fail, but failure is not an ending, just an obstacle.
Regroup. Come back, and defeat whatever was holding you back. Be thankful for the opportunity to do so.
As fishermen, we are surrounded by simple blessings and vivid reminders of the Almighty. Pause for a second this week, and see how many you can identify. I promise you this simple act will improve your mood, your relationships – and yes – even your fishing.
Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.