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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Don’t let time/distance stop you from fishing

In case you haven’t noticed, the weather in Southeast Texas has been absolutely gorgeous for the past week. The rain has finally slowed down, and spring is upon us. The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and the grass is growing. Pollen is everywhere!

When I see this pollen, I immediately think about fishing. I love to bass fish in the spring time. In my mind, there is a lunker lurking in the shallows just waiting to gobble my bait. My favorite place to chase these giant bass is in Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Unfortunately, it is two hours away. If you are like me, sometimes it is hard to find the time to make the trek. I love to fish but don’t always have two or three days to make a trip to the lake. The next best option is to fish local. This past weekend I fished at a friend’s place and had a ball. What follows are a few observations from my trip.

First, I learned that I have a great friend. He gave me an open invitation to fish the lake behind his house and said that the boat would be on the bank waiting whenever I was ready. When I arrived, the boat was there just as he promised with a fully charged battery. Sometimes when we go fishing, it can be hard to find the fish. In life it is even harder to find great friends. I immediately thought about how blessed I was to have a great friend.

Next I realized that I needed to change my gear. All of my fishing reels were spooled with 65-pound braid for fishing the heavy cover at Rayburn. While this is necessary for getting fish out of the thick jungle, it doesn’t work as well in the crystal clear waters of many smaller lakes and ponds. I respooled with 12-pound monofilament and tied on a wacky worm hook. As I fished this smaller, fitness bait, it was obvious that this technique was more effective than my traditional approach.

Thirdly, I discovered that I needed to adapt to where I fished. The two-man bass boat was no match for the strong winds. I decided to spend my time on the banks that were calm where my boat wouldn’t drift as much. Since the lake was relatively small, I made my way back and forth over the protected waters and changed the color of my bait as well as my presentation. Sometimes I fished it slow and other times more quickly. I even managed to catch 3 bass by working my bait up and down over a limb that I had casted over. In fishing, as in life, we need to be willing to adapt to the ever changing circumstances.

Finally, I found contentment in simply being there. For so much of my life, success has been measured by the score of my deer or the weight of my fish. On this particular day, I simply relished the opportunity to get away from my routine and enjoy God’s great outdoors. I ended up catching 16 bass from 8 inches to 2 pounds. While the fish weren’t huge, the success was. I was thrilled each time I felt a tap at the end of the line. I fished a few hours and had a ball. Best of all, it was only a short 30-minute drive back home.

If you don’t have the time to take an out-of-town trip, I encourage you to simply enjoy the outdoors close to home. The more time I spend in God’s beautiful creation, the more I appreciated Him as creator.


Brian Johnson, originally of Winnie, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for the News.