I Want to Go to There

5 07 2009

Do you know what it’s like in a boat on a lake on a sunny day?

(As asked in a radio jingle for the apparently now-defunct Duco Marine somewhere in Illinois.)

The last time I sat in a boat on a lake on a sunny day, I was in a rented metal rowboat with my sister out on Lake Tampier in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. I swear one oar was shorter than the other, making for lots of adjustments in order to row something of a straight line, and as we weren’t fishing, it was plain hot with nothing to show for the trek.

At least we got out in the good old outdoors, eh?

I don’t know why and how this happened, but as of Wednesday this past week, I have been absolutely glued to the World Fishing Network (in high definition, of course). I had been using HGTV as my default channel if all else failed, but really, the bubble world of interior decorating is nifty in small doses. When decorators show a homeowner a $7000 bathroom vanity as an “economy” selection for their renovation, it’s time to change the channel.

So I did.

In a few short hours, I went from watching with passive interest mainly for the scenery (they fish a lot in Canada, eh), then for the fish themselves, and finally for the advice. 24 hours later, I’m convinced I could hop on a boat out on Lake Texoma and haul in a 10-pound something.

But here’s the thing:

I don’t fish.

Okay, scratch that. How about, “it has been decades since I fished.” I had the good ole Zebco® rod with the push-button reel, the nylon line, and ye olde hook/bobber/sinker rig. I learned how to thread worms on to the hook (actual, live worms) and feel the tugging action as whatever swims around in Lake Muskegon nipped away at the bait, leaving me with a bald hook.

Or, by happy accident, I’d catch something, and it would pull away and snap the line. My gear wasn’t exactly top-flight.

I did score some fish, once. I caught bullheads (catfish) closer to home and my parents cleaned the fish and made me eat them. Considering the brackish waters from whence they came, I’m amazed I order catfish, ever. Bullheads ain’t good eatin’, son. (And yes, at that age I transitioned quickly from expert bullhead fisherman to Greenpeace charter member. “What do you mean, eat them? I want to keep them as pets!”)

I don’t remember exactly what put me off of fishing forever, but I used to have a full tackle box, Zebco® rod, and time to stand around fishing. I suppose my departure from the Boy Scouts might have had something to do with it. In any case, fishing hasn’t been “top of mind,” as they say in the business world.

Enter a show called Outdoor Passion. Normally, watching other people fish is like being 8 years old and having to be a guest as some other kid’s birthday party. It’s fun for somebody.

However, this show’s particular charm is the “destination of the week” as told by a narrator with a calm, reassuring voice. He could narrate a serial killing and you’d want to go to that alley after midnight to try to be next.

I had seen the show before and was suitably wowed by the chosen locale, but the most recent show I saw featured a fly-in resort somewhere in Canada (argh, can’t remember which place!!) that had, well, duh, amazing fishing, but as the narrator intoned, “incredible wildlife.”

Now, listen (read?): I’ve been to Yellowstone, man. I’ve seen bull moose. I’ve seen buffalo up close. I’ve seen elk with racks so huge your head would explode. And I’ve been to the Beartooths, man, and still can visualize a placid lake surrounded by mountains, with the air completely still except for the interruption of the buzz of horseflies.


HOLY CRAP, this place had wildlife that wouldn’t quit. Moose galore. Wolves. Bears. Whatever was wild and Canucky, they had it.

And as I said when I first really began to experience Maine, “my soul hurts.”

And I think that’s the point of my WFN addiction. It’s not the fishing, it’s the purpose.

I lack purpose.

And as I darkly surmised as I numbly walked out of the latest FC Dallas game at halftime (they were winning, even), my life is without passion.

Now: I don’t think I’m going to magically find that with a fishing rod in one hand and a tackle box in the other.

But when I saw that lodge, on that lake, and all that surrounded it, I knew instantly that I Want to Go to There.

As the psychologist that contributes to “Bass Edge” every week said on a recent episode, “focus on what you want, not on what you don’t.”

It’s going to take a lot of work, but I have my orders. I’m to focus on what I want.

I want to go to there.




One response

13 07 2009

World Fishing Network? Have you lost your mind? Next thing, it will be competitive fishing and the Bassmasters Tournament. Then it’s complicated equipment, and finally fishing for marlin off powerboats in the Carribean, with the mist of the water in your eyes and clear blue sea and all directions and….

…hmm. Actually, sounds good.

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