So another Saturday of not being able to fish has come and gone. Oh I could have gone fishing, but the gas expense of loading up the boat, heading to the river, around 45 minutes one way, driving all the way back can be a bit of a strain on the wallet these days, especially with gas prices so high. Two of my fishing buddies were not interested in going, my dad was gone in Louisiana for a ballgame, my wife would rather snooze in bed all day, my brother lives too far away and is now raising a family, and my best fishin partner is recovering from Prostate cancer surgery. So needless to say, I didn’t go fishing this weekend.
I love to fish. Anyone who has been around me long enough knows that. I have a lot of things in life I am passionate about, but one of my favorite things in life is to fish. Now I know what you are thinking. “Any dummy can fish!” Well, you may be right, but not all people can fully enjoy the experience the way I like to. This is just a sample of a typical Saturday morning of fishing.
Yes, when the alarm goes off at 5:15 on my day off of work, I sometimes think, “What an idiot I am! The one day of the week I can sleep in for as long as I want, and I am getting up even earlier than I have to during the week!” But after getting washed up a bit and heading to the kitchen, the smell of coffee engulfs me. My face turns from an expression of crusty eye boogers, bad hair, and squinting my eyes to find the light switch, to one of those cheesy foldgers commercials when the person is taking a whiff of the coffee and their face lights up. There is just sometime about the quiet sound of clocks ticking in the background at 5:30 in the morning on Saturday taking in the fragrant smell of the first cup of coffee before a wonderful day of fishing. The taste and warmth of the coffee was better than the warm covers I was so comfortably nestled under just moments ago.
With Coffee mug, thermos, and fishing gear in hand, I head out the door to my favorite fishin partners house. There, I am greeted by the sounds of early birds chirping, the rattling of fishing poles, and the pitter patter of little toy poodle feet running to greet me. As I meet my friend with a handshake, and sometime a hug, I can feel myself getting excited. When we have all the gear loaded up and the cooler ready, we head out in search of God’s most beautiful places on earth…the Trout stream.
On the way, we usually start of by asking each other which part of the river we are going to fish that day, usually telling each other about stories from the previous week, quoting the AGFC river report, and telling each other about what we have heard through the grape vine, where the fish are bittin. Usually, the topic turns to religion, politics, economy, health, retirement, food, TV, etc… Once we arrive at our destination, the anticipation mounts as we prepare the boat and supplies for launching. Once launched and ready, we start the motor and are off to “our spot”. The smoking of the cold motor drifts down the already foggy river and fades into the fog. As we start to give it gas, the most wonderful and pure smell awakens my senses to fully awaken my yawning face; cold, clean, pure air. I wish I could breathe the oxygen that has been lingering over a foggy river in the middle of the Natural state every day. This air doesn’t have smells, smog, carbon monoxide, or a “city smell”. Once on the river, you don’t hear traffic. You don’t hear people. You don’t hear TV. You don’t hear cell phones. The only thing you hear is Nature... the sound of rapids going over rocks, streams flowing through forks in the river, bird chirping, otters running along the riverbed, fish jumping for bugs on top of the water, leaves and twigs falling. All of these things make up one of the most peaceful place in the world. As I light my pipe or even a stogy, and puff on the sweet aroma of aromatic tobacco, I am at my full extent of relation. That is until…my line jerks and I catch one of the most stunningly beautiful animals in the river. This fish with its hunter green, silver, gray, and bright pink colors highlighted by black freckles, are one of the most colorful fish you will ever see. Once we observe, reflect, and release the species back to its home in the river, we usually say a couple of our “sayings”. “Well, fish, keep your mouth shut and you’ll stay outta trouble” or “That was fun, I think I’ll go and do that again”.
The only problem we have with keeping ourselves totally relaxed is hunger pains that usually come around the 3rd or 4th hour on the river. At this time, we usually break out the cokes and snacks to hold us over until lunch. Once we have “had enough" of the fishin, and have caught pleny of fish and are out of coffee, we start to head on back to go get some lunch. On the way back to the boat dock, the cool breeze that was originally on the water that morning has been replaced by warm sunlight baking on our faces and necks. Once loaded up and strapped down, we head over to our most favorite eatin place after fishin, The Café. We always order sweet Ice tea, big ole juicy burger, and a big order of waffle fries. Once satisfied, we head back to Searcy. The conversation this time turns to our hard day’s work, what football games will be on, and how good the word “nap” sounds…