What fishing and the outdoors means to me?
This subject for me runs much deeper than just my line in the water, watching that forever exciting moment of my bobber making ripples, beginning its dips and dives that end in it submerging below the water line and bending my fishing rod.
I grew up on the bank of a slough that led to a 15,000-acre swamp just beyond our back yard. Through most of my youth my only transportation throughout this maze of cypress trees and water, was a blue canoe and a paddle. From the very moment my father introduced me to the mystical ecosystem, expanding what seemed like never-ending, I was forever attached. As I grew up year after year spending nearly every moment possible fishing, hunting, and exploring this beautiful marsh, it became one of the most important pieces of my life. This connection grew and grew until the point of high school graduation and moving miles away. I spent 10 years away going to college and developing a career and eventually moved back to the area and started Blessed Bayou.
After a small amount of time back, my father passed and went to be with the Good Lord. The entire time I lived back in the area I had neglected a single trip into the waters that were once so important to my life, until the day after my Father’s passing. That day my Mother and I went to her house after meeting with folks to make the arrangements. Wonderful friends and family began coming by Moms to give their condolences and I found the opportunity to step out for a moment and get some fresh air.
I walked around for a bit then struck after the trail I had not walked in many years, that led to the slough I had traveled so many times as a kid. The trail was grossly overgrown, but with every step I felt the wonderful memories, that I had neglected for so long, begin to revisit. I was able to make my way down that path to a point the slough met one of the main rivers.
Low and behold, there lay the blue canoe I had once used so many times as a child and with my Father. I had not been in this canoe in over 15 years. I honestly did not know it still existed. It was a breath of fresh air and to my luck under the canoe was a shovel. I thought immediately there was nothing to do but drag the canoe to the water’s edge, get in, and begin paddling with the shovel.
I spent that entire day paddling through all of the old waterways I had spent so much time fishing and exploring when I was younger. As I eased through the sloughs working my way through the cypress trees and tributaries, I will never forget the overwhelming feeling that this place was forever faithful. I felt that after all of the years I neglected this place and all of the changes in myself, this beautiful piece of Texas did not change one bit, it gave me freely all of the wonderful memories from my youth and many with my father and closest friends.
The amount of life that depended on it was as prevalent as when I left. Alligators traveled down the sloughs, hogs and deer still present along the banks, wood ducks scattering with their warning whistle as I turn a curve, and fish still scattering in the back waters. That was October 7th 2010, to this day myself, my family, and some of my closest friends still never miss an opportunity to unite with this location. In fact, the best day of my life was March 23, 2019, my beautiful and loving wife and I got married in one of our favorite locations in this swamp, with our family and friends attending the ceremony via boat. So for me, it is difficult to place into words the effect the outdoors and fishing has had on my life and my career.
“But ask the animals what they think – let them teach you; let the birds tell you what’s going on. Put your ear to the earth – learn the basics. Listen – the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories. Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand?” – Job 12:7-12