I don’t know what it is about bodies of water but I love them. I especially love rivers, bay and oceans. Saltwater being my favorite locale of all. It started off just being a place for fishing but it is also a place I talk to God every opportunity I get.
The Atlantic ocean off of Virginia Beach was probably the first place where the water was overwhelming. It is said you can drown in less than a foot of water but I am not afraid of drowning. My father and his brother in law, took me out when I was young on a rented 15-foot boat and a outboard motor to fish in Virginia Beach. Now that I am an adult I would never do that. That boat was too small. The fishing however was spectacular. It left an indelible mark on me where I wanted to fish ever since. I used to ride my bike to any creek or stream in the area that looked like it might have fish in it. I never caught anything during my high school era fishing this way. After I got a car I would drive fifty plus miles to reservoirs and rivers with the same bad luck. But I loved fishing still. After I got my first “good government job” I met some retirees that had been fishing together for twenty years with a charter boat captain our of Solomon’s Island, Maryland named Robbie. It changed my fishing status instantly. On this old 60 foot converted crabbing trolley we fished the Patuxent river and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay with ridiculous success. After years of hitting and missing with fishing, for the first time I was catching fish by the buckets full. We were bottom fishing for spot, croaker, perch, flounder and the occasional sport fishes like trout, striped bass, bluefish and mackerel.
I was a supernumerary on the fishing party and became a full time member after the death of one of the regulars. The fishing crew consisted of five retired African Americans that worked in the intelligence fields during the early years. They had stories of surviving Jim Crow, the Civil Rights era and filled me in on parts of history that escaped most books. I used the time onboard to learn, listen and pray. I found a peace onboard the boat that was unlike anything I had had before except maybe on my motorcycle. On back of the boat, or aft, with my back to the conversations about jazz music, the blues, and current events I faced the shore or open water. There I saw where the horizon touched the sky. Where clouds hung so low you could touch them in your mind. I watched sea birds like the osprey and eagle hunt and effortless sail across the clear blue canvas of sky.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
It is easy to pray here. There is a droning sound of a diesel as the boat moves from position to position. The charter captain spoiled us with knowing from data points favorite feeding grounds of the fish we are after. On more than one occasion he admonished me to get my hook in the water while I was marveling at Gods handiwork.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1
In 2014, I lost the last of my five fishing partners. The original member that invited me went home to be with the Lord. The captain himself is fighting illness. Now I am the old guy, and I hope to keep the traditional alive by getting some new anglers to go with me regularly, once a month from June till September to fish, pray and enjoy the beauty of God.
One of the few reasons I don’t move away from this high traffic and taxing, cosmopolitan area is that not too far away are places like this where I can pray, praise and fish.
Now I prefer saltwater fishing to freshwater. I prefer being on a beach surfcasting, or on a boat in waters too deep to reach from casting from shore. I plan to get some video footage and preach from these spots this year, Lord willing. I am hoping you will join me. If you like fishing, I would love to get the invite to fish with you. Jesus likes fisherman, you know?
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-22