One of my favorite places to fish the past 15 or so years has been Lake Fork, Texas. It’s chocked full of fish – especially huge bass. A friend and I had been catching and releasing loads of fish for a couple of spring days a few years back. The lake has a slot limit – at that time it was anything between 16 and 21 inches long that had to be thrown back. We had caught bunches of “slot” fish and smaller, but no real huge ones. By the way, it’s not uncommon at Lake Fork to catch an 8 pounder that is only 20 inches long and has to go back!
On this particular trip, the last morning we decided to keep a good mess of fish since we were heading home and we had been such good sports the past two days. We kept a limit of 10 chunky fish that were just under the 16-inch minimum length, a good 18-20 pounds of bass. We were loading the boat at a campground ramp and, as we swapped the fish from livewell to ice chest, several people were “oohing and aaahing” about our catch. They called others over to look. We were pretty proud of ourselves.
About that time a guy comes motoring up to the ramp with only one fish.
He pulled it out of his livewelland walked up a big pair of scales at the ramp. It weighed 13 and one-half pounds! Everyone left us and went to him. “Just caught one, huh?” I asked. I got no response. The attention that was making us so proud disappeared pretty quickly. Later we laughed because, truth be told, we would have traded ALL the fish we had caught during the whole trip for that once-in-a-lifetime monster trophy bass. Here’s the deal. Fishing can make us proud and full of ourselves. It can also humble us in a split second. Just like life. Lesson learned.
“When pride comes, then comes shame,
but with humility comes wisdom.” — Proverbs 11:2