Growing up in Tullahoma, TN we were able to take advantage of several area lakes that were really close and easy to take in. My dad was fond of fishing at night. His fish of choice: the big ‘ole bottom dwelling catfish. Yes indeed, he would love to load up the cooler with belly washers (soda of choice) can of spam, saltines and sack full of night crawlers and livers to lure the big beast off the bottom. The lake of choice was typically woods reservoir, just a beautiful scene as the sun would set for the evening the moonlight was just enough to see if your pole that was “baited” up properly with crawlers, livers and for good luck, daddy liked to spit some of his chewing tobaccer juice on the mixture of oooze. The excitement would start and the heart pumping when you would see the tip of your fishing pole bend down towards the water, alerting you that something was nibbling at the bait, then WHAMO….
You would jerk that pole up, set the hook and reel that beast in! You knew it was a good ‘un when you would feel the fish almost wrestle the pole out of your hands as you would reel him to the surface. The mighty fish is wrestling with all his might to get off the hook. The fish just knew he had been had, and now the fight was on to get that baby in the live well, or on the stringer (a series of hooks on a chain that would hold the fish in the water until it was time to go home.) Daddy would watch and could tell by the tug on the pole whether or not the net was needed to help capture the prized catch. Ahhhh cool memories and for us growing up as a middle class family with one income, the fish we caught were going home to be eaten. We didn’t practice catch and release.
I hear this term, catch and release, more when the discussion in the room turns to bass fishing. There are certain lengths the fish must be before you can place the catch in the live well, the holding tank. Most within the bass fishing family seem to observe catch and release unless it’s a prized fish, meaning its a big ‘un…..bigger than the last one that was a big ‘un……What we mean by catch and release is just that. When the angler has lured the fish onto the hook, set the aforementioned hook in the jaw of the fish, then reels that baby in. AND If the fish reeled in is not one deemed a big un’ then the fish must be released…sometimes the catch and release is observed even if the fish that is reeled in the boat is legal, meaning it meets the requirements to place in the live well. For these the release is based on whether or not he is deemed a big un’ or prize if not then released back to it’s natural habitat to teach others to be wary of “those fancy hooks”
BUT when the prize is caught, the big ‘un, well these are gently taken off the hook, then placed in a live well. Then the prize the big ‘un is taken to a guy that makes ’em look as they did when they were alive. Yea it’s called stuffing (I think). The fish will be placed and shaped on a board in such a way with it’s mouth wide open and body curved to give the appearance of swimming or flying out of the water. Sometimes the lure that was used to lure the prize, the big ‘un is placed in it’s mouth kinda dangling out for the world to see and marvel at. Then the board with the stuffed fish nailed or glued to it will placed on a wall next to other big ‘uns ……
Jesus told his boys, that they would be fishers of men. (Luke 5) Jesus purchased our freedom (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). We are his prize-we are his big ‘un-yet He has released us. YES your yes to HIM doesn’t get you stuffed and placed on a wall next to the other big ‘uns. Our yes sets us free to swim for HIM. Our swallowing the bait of Jesus equips us with HIM to navigate the waters of the “world” and not swallow the ‘lures” of the world that would place us in a “living well” just circling in the same waters day in and day out. So where are you?
Are you on the wall with the date of your yes on a plaque? Or are you beLIeVING WIDE OPEN in the waters of freedom purchased for you as THE fishermen, Jesus, has released you to beLIeVE out your uniqueness and help others off the wall. Need a safe place to learn? Come on in gang, the water is fine.
love em up!