The Art of Successful Fishing

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The Art of Successful Fishing

  1. Spend hours online looking at how the pro’s set up their line
  2. Do something totally different because I can’t figure out the knots
  3. Place bait on hook and cast line
  4. Recast line because it only went three feet
  5. Hope that bait stayed on hook
  6. Sit down and expect fish to already be biting
  7. After a few minutes wonder if bait is still on hook
  8. A few minutes later, realize I have to pee, but can’t leave because once I do the fish will bite
  9. Sprint someplace to pee
  10. Walk back out of breath
  11. Wonder if the bait is still on the hook
  12. Resist the urge to bring in the line to check the bait
  13. Try to find cell service to find out how to tie the proper knot
  14. Pray
  15. Get mad at the person who drove their boat on the other side of the lake causing a small wake because it scares all the fish
  16. Pray
  17. Check my line to make sure it isn’t snagged
  18. Look at the directions on the bait
  19. Look at my watch to see it’s already been 20 minutes
  20. Act happy for the guy that just showed up and caught a fish
  21. Bait must have fallen off
  22. Reel in the line
  23. Find the bait is still on the hook
  24. Hook the camping chair
  25. Hook my pants
  26. Hook my shirt
  27. Cast the line out
  28. Watch the bait fly 10 yards further than the hook
  29. Reel in the line to put on new bait
  30. Get the hook snagged in the weeds
  31. Break line
  32. Set up new line using the new knot
  33. Forget the new knot after trying three times
  34. Recast to the exact same spot no bites were happening
  35. Tell someone who just asked that you haven’t caught anything, but you’ve gotten a ton of bites
  36. Pray
  37. Decide the fish aren’t biting, time to go home
  38. See fish jump right where your bait is
  39. Wait five minutes with no bite
  40. Bring in line because bait obviously fell off
  41. Notice bait is still on
  42. Recast to same spot
  43. Miss bite while sitting back down
  44. Rebait and recast
  45. Catch fish

After four hours of fishing, consider it a good day.

Reflecting on the “what ifs” in life

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After a week in Washington DC, and then a week in Dallas, I decided to take back-to-back four day weekends.

It was VERY needed.

Too many after-hours “get togethers”, hot temps, high humidity, and airports.

One thing that I completely enjoy living here in Montana is the ability to go fishing for some massive trout.

Fishing is an interesting activity, especially when doing it by myself. Each day I spent at least four hours out on the water with nothing to do but think…and recharge.

After the mandatory thoughts about if my bait is still on after casting, do I have enough leader, is it the right bait, and if I should put on bug spray, my mind started wandering to more reflective thoughts.

Mostly I spent many hours thinking about “what if”.

Having just recently turned 42 and dealing with depression, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my life, and how it would have been different with some of the decisions I made through the years.

Probably the most important decision I made early on was to join the Army. I joined the summer of my senior year in high school, mostly because I really didn’t have any plans for when I graduated. I wasn’t the best student, and honestly I never really considered what was going to happen when I was no longer in school. College wasn’t an interest, but neither was working in fast food.

It’s hard for me to imagine my life had I not joined. The Army allowed me to travel the world. It allowed me to see how my life growing up was really sheltered to the struggles people in other nations suffered. This was way before the Internet age, so the only real knowledge I had about poverty and suffering was the commercials about the drought and starvation happening in Ethiopia. That was basically it.

I knew nothing about Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, or any other war-torn country. Terrorism was something that was happening in Ireland. Racism and gangs were newspaper articles.

But much of my time reflecting on the “what if” goes back to the day I decided not to reenlist. Where would I be in life had I decided to stay in? As much as I struggled in High School, once I was out I became a sponge for knowledge. I re-took my ASVAB and scored very high. In fact, when it was time to reenlist the recruiter told me that I could have nearly any job I wanted in the Army and could choose whatever base I wanted.

I was seriously considering becoming a combat photographer. But I was too young and dumb and figured I could just get out and become successful wherever I landed.

It was a major wake-up when I landed here in Montana with no skills, no job, and no money.

That was 20 years ago.

A lifetime ago.

Where would I be had I stayed in?

We have been in war forever. People I served with have died in battle. Would that have been me too?

Would I be married? Would I have children?

I know that I wouldn’t have the son I have now. Wyatt is the most important thing in my life. Yes, he even rates above my wife. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. I think she would say the same about me.

That’s one thing that I always thought about in the movie “The Family Man” with Nick Cage. He ends up with the woman he should have, but the children are not there. Yes, they will probably have them, but would they be the same?

I always think back to that time in life when I made that big decision. Many times I think my life may have been better, but a major piece would be missing.

I think I made the right choice.

Those exhausting social events

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The past two weeks were exhausting for me. Too much output, not enough recharge.

First I had a trip to DC to work on a project with a group of people who have never met each other before. The weather was in the upper 90’s with high humidity. Keeping in mind I live in Montana, it sucked.

I was the only person who was familiar with DC, so I became the appointed travel guide.

Awesome.

The week wasn’t actually too bad since the rain kept people somewhat close to the airport. Plus I used the “jet lag” excuse to get back early.

Saturday we went to a wedding so we didn’t get home until late, and then Monday morning I was back on a plane. This time heading to Dallas.

More heat.

A lot more energy.

This was with our region. Except for management, most of the people haven’t met each other in person, so this was a big deal.

So big that every single night after our meetings there were social events planned.

EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

And being management, I was expected to be there.

Sometimes in life you just have to bite the bullet and do things that are not comfortable.

The first night we all got in was a get together at the hotel bar.

I’m not much of a drinker. Especially when it involves work. Not only was my boss there, but so were my employees. Just not an environment I like to put myself in.

Unfortunately within minutes I had three beers sitting in front of me.

Great.

The next night’s event was a Texas Rangers game. I am a big baseball fan, but I was not looking forward to being in a group in the 100 degree heat. When I go to a baseball game, I am there to watch the game.

I was the only one wanting to watch the game apparently.

The next night was dinner at a fancy steakhouse. Me traveling to another state for steak is like me traveling to another state to look at the mountains. Just doesn’t make much sense…but I sucked it up and had an overpriced steak which I could have cooked better on one of my grills.

Oh well. Only one night left.

This was the worst.

For one, I was on my last leg. I didn’t feel very well and was totally exhausted from not having been able to recharge at all.

The last night was bar food and karaoke.

Yeah, karaoke.

No, I didn’t participate.

Yes, I was asked…and asked…and asked.

Anyway, I am finally back home. I got some fishing in over the weekend which helped refresh myself a bit. I am taking two four day weekends off…so that should help too. My son had his first pitch baseball game last night and got his first hit of the season. That was awesome.

Aerosmith still hasn’t contacted me.

Odd.