The day started out the way you can only dream of for a fall fishing trip. It was an early morning with temperatures in the mid 30s, steam just pouring off Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota and we knew we are coming home with limits of fish. After getting to our spot we drop the jigs in the water, bang had a fish right away. For the better part of an hour or so we caught fish, hooted and hollered and just plain old had a good time. And that's when it happened, another boat came to the “community hole” we were fishing at and they could have changed everything.
The new boat was way nicer than ours, the rods were way more expensive than ours and from the looks of it the two gentlemen had way more time to fish than we did. But we definitely had something in our boat they did not have in theirs. And that was fun. What's interesting is that these two guys were catching just as many fish as we were, they just weren’t catching the fish they wanted to catch. In fact, if we weren't careful these two could've easily ruined our day of fishing. Because instead of laughing and having a great time together on the water they were complaining and swearing about how bad every fish they caught was, how stupid every fish that took one of the lures was. For us it probably wouldn’t have been so bad, in fact, I probably wouldn't even be writing this story if these two gentlemen wouldn't have been so close that they could probably have grabbed jigs out of our tackle box. Which made it almost impossible to not hear every complaint about every fish that they encountered.
I'll admit that my initial reaction was to look at my buddy Mike and whisper “I'm writing a blog about these two”. I couldn't wait to get home and start talking about how these two guys could be out fishing on a beautiful fall day and literally do nothing but complain. However it's not because I want to make fun of these two guys. They just happened be great examples of what we all end up doing as part of our day-to-day lives. We love to make things more important than they really are and lose track of what is important. When it comes to fishing, one of the most important things is to have fun. Now that doesn't mean we don't encounter hard times you know like the nasty rainstorm on the one day you get to go fishing or the boat breaks down at the most inopportune time. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't still have fun.
When I look back on life, it’s amazing all the lessons I've learned and all the people I've met because things didn't go the way I thought they should. That's the trouble with great expectations, we miss out on not only a lot of fun, but also a lot of great people and even more life lessons. That's why I love taking my kids fishing. It's the perfect way to have fun together while enjoying nature's beauty and most importantly not having a clue what’s in store for the trip. Fishing gives you the opportunity to head out with a plan and still have fun regardless of how things go. Like great stories you get to hear when you sit in a small café with a bunch old timers when you get rained out. Or all of the new places you get to find when your fishing spot is taken by somebody else or the ice is too soft to go pike fishing in the spring. Or as Mike and I learned, it’s not worth getting grumpy because somebody was fishing to close or complaining the entire time they were too close.
That's why it's important to keep your perspective. We go fishing to see what we can accomplish to see if we can outsmart the fish and most importantly have a new story to tell later. And regardless if you're a weekend warrior or a professional angler working hard to earn a living, we're out there to enjoy life. So next time you're on the water, remember why you're there, share some time in the boat with your friends, enjoy the company of the boats next to you, appreciate the fact that every fish you catch is more than the one the guy sitting at the office or at home is catching. At the end of the day, Mike and I didn’t catch the limits of fish that we knew we were going to catch when we started out but we sure did have fun trying.