Monday, February 21, 2011

Knowin' vs. Guessin'

A quick check of current bass fishing lures at a major retailer lists 937 types. With each type, there are size and color variations on the average of 22 per type. Multiply those together and you need a tackle box that can hold 20,614 items.

What's a fisherman to do? Unless he is on speaking terms with a largemouth bass (and I know a few people who ARE), he is forced to guess. There are, however, different levels of guessing.

Take Homer and his wife, Etta, for example. Being the romantic husband that he is, Homer decided to take Etta fishing on Valentine's Day. Actually, he had planned on taking her to the Dairy Queen but it wasn't his fault the bass began their pre-spawn activity on Valentine's Day!

So the two lovebirds hopped into the john boat and headed to the north end of the lake. Being the generous and loving husband that he is, Homer rigged Etta's pink and purple female-type fishing pole with a Texas-rigged, super killin', hog smashin' craw-worm. He told her to chunk it on out there, let it hit bottom, and then slowly crank it in, giving the rod an occasional pop. Even though Etta never said, "Huh?" - Homer knew the look. Being the patient husband that he is, he chunked it out there for her and demonstrated his prior instructions.

After a long ten minutes of fishing and catching nothing, Etta went to fiddling around in Homer's tackle boxes.

"What are you doing, sugar muffin?" asked Homer.

"I'm looking for something else to fish with. Something with a little bling to it," answered Etta. She looked up at him with her one good eye and grinned that gorgeous, albeit toothless, grin that always melted his heart. He returned the grin with a nod and a half smile, then turned where she couldn't see him smirk.

Homer thought to himself, "Bling? Did she say bling? It's a tackle box, not a jewelry box. She ain't gonna catch nothin. And when I catch me a hawg on this here craw-worm, she'll be sorry she didn't listen to the master!"

Homer prided himself on knowing exactly what the fish were biting. He even bragged to his buddies that God blessed him with a fish's brain and he "knowed what they were thinkin'."

Etta pulled a ten-inch worm out of the bottom of Homer's tackle box and held it up. "Can I try this one?" she asked.

Homer had no idea how such a worm ever made it's way into his tackle box. That worm was a sight! It looked like a mardi gras parade puked all over it. It had every bright-colored, glittery speck you could imagine imbedded into it's black and motor-oil colored body.

Homer spit. Then he spoke. "Apparently, that old worm has set too long on the bottom of my tackle box," he said. "And all the glitters and sparkles from other baits melted into it. That's the ugliest thing I ever saw! The fish ain't gonna hit that thing. In fact, it'll probably scare 'em all away...honey pie."

She batted her eye, squared her jaw, and tried to stand up in the boat so she could put her hands on her hips (a posture Homer knew all too well). "But, but, but, if my four-leaf clover darlin' wants to fish with that," Homer corrected himself. "Then, by golly, she's gonna fish with it."

Etta sat back down and grinned like a giddy school girl. Homer took the bling mardi gras puke worm from her hand and put it on her hook. It went against every fiber of his being and he hoped no one could see him. Etta cast the worm about two feet, making an awful splash as that big worm hit the water right next to the boat.

While Homer was shaking his head and whispering his good-byes to all the bass in a two-mile radius, Etta's pole went to bending and Etta went to screaming, "I got one!"

"No way!" Homer shouted before he could stop himself.

"Yes, way!" Etta yelled back. "Stop standin' there gawkin'. Get the net!"

"You sure it ain't a stump or a gar or a trot line?" Homer asked and instantly regretted asking it. Before that sentence got to "trot line," Homer knew the answer. A bass so big it would be a wallhanger in Jimmy Houston's house (pause for a moment of silence at the mention of his name) jumped straight up out of the water, did a hula dance in mid-air with five inches of puke worm hanging out of her mouth, and headed straight back down.

"Hang on, Etta! I'm gettin' the net. Give her some slack or she'll break your line," Homer shouted.

Etta leered at him and said, "I got this! You just get the net."

Homer did the husband hunker that all men are familiar with. The one that says, "Yes ma'am" without the words.

The fish was longer than the mouth of the net, but they managed to get her into the boat. After a dozen high fives, a thousand hoops and hollers, and a couple of pictures with the polaroid, Etta turned to the crowd that had gathered at the bank and held her lunker hawg big momma bass up like Jay Yelas at the Bassmasters (another pause). She could hear the folks whistling and shouting.

When she turned back around, Homer, being the humble husband that he is, was digging in the bottom of his tackle box for a ten-inch black and motor-oil worm with some bling on it.

The lesson of Homer and Etta is three-fold: 1) Take your dog - NEVER your wife - fishing on Valentine's Day. 2) If you DO take her fishing and she catches a bigger fish than you, DON'T go to the Dairy Queen right after that. 3) No matter how good a guesser you are when it comes to fishing -- everyone occasionally guesses wrong, and anyone can occasionally guess right.

Fishing is guesswork. But you can improve your chances of guessing right by learning patterns, studying the seasonal behavior of fish, discovering what is and is not working from other experienced fishermen (and knowing whether they are lying to you or not), and by following the three P's: practice, practice, practice.

However, even a first-time fisherman can crawl into a boat or stand on a bank and be in the right place at the right time with the right bait. The guesswork factor in fishing is what makes it fun.

Unless you're fishing for answers to life's questions.

Life was never meant to be a guessing game. The Creator of life did not create haphazardly. He created with purpose, design, and compassion. He not only planned YOU, He has a plan FOR you. You don't have to guess. You just have to search.

Where do you begin searching? The first place to search for God's plan for your life is in the Bible. It is God's instruction manual for man. In it, you will find truth. Truth is the guide of life that we all need. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).

The truth of the Bible also tells us that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). That's not a guess. That's a guarantee from the Manufacturer.

A second place to search is in prayer. Prayer is simply opening your heart to God and talking to Him. You can tell Him how you feel. You can ask Him to show you what He wants you to know. You can ask Him anything. He longs to hear from you. A third place to search is in a healthy church. Being around other followers of Christ gives you people just like you to talk to, lean on, and learn from.

This life and the one following is too important to leave it all up to chance. God wants you to know. He hasn't put 20,614 options in front of you. Just one. His Son. I pray you will accept Jesus as, not only the Savior of the world who died for the sins of the world, but as YOUR personal Savior who loves you and died for you.

Googling Really Large Tackle Boxes,
Perry Crisp

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