A long hard day of work, followed by a simple but lengthy drive, finds me parked in front of the gate to the deer lease. Frantically searching for the key that will allow access to my own personal heaven on earth. Finally locating the errant little copper colored freedom key, I open the gate so I can drive on through. Seemingly all the stress and fatigue of the day falls from my thoughts and is replaced by a simple, serene calm.
Puling up in front of the campers, I park the truck and we start to unload the basics needed for the night. Overnight bags, a few groceries, and of course some good quality brew. The warmest part of the day, yet somehow the most relaxing. Digging out the fishing rods and tackle, we eagerly load up to drive around to one of the five stock tanks on the property. I take the trail through the back country, driving past an old barn, and a small herd of cattle. Entering the quarry, I see a something in the road. It’s a short distance away, and resembles a stick, but just does not seem right. looking closer, and watching as we close the distance, I finally realize it’s a snake. A slithering 3 foot reptilian interloper in my space, the hair on the back of my neck stands on end, and a chill travels slowly down my spine. Perhaps I am the interloper!
Now I am not a big fan of snakes, and would prefer not to become to acquainted with them. This particular snake, a Western Diamondback Rattler, is high on my don’t mess around with list. I mentally scold myself for not getting the guns loaded and ready before leaving camp. Stopping the truck, I walk around to the back, watching the snake to be sure it does not decide I am it’s next victim. I get the rifle, a small military version 30 caliber carbine out of the case and insert the clip, charging the weapon. One carefully placed shot renders the threat to my personal peace of mind irrelevant. There was a time in my youth when this would have been a nice addition to my dinner. Today, JJ Jr. wants to keep it and have it mounted for display. An impressive animal indeed, 13 rattles and just a little chubby. It would be the first of two snakes we manage to dispose of, one of them right where we are fishing.
As we pull up to the area we are going to fish, we spot two or three swirls in the water, adding to our anticipation. After only a few moments of preparation we have lines in the water, temping the fish with a plethora of tasty looking lures. I choose one that looked just like a small perch, and cast it out beside a grouping of rocks. I get a bite, seemingly as soon as the lure hits the water. A simple twitch on the line, then a quick tug from the fish, letting me know he’s there, teasing me just a little. The evening is starting off to be very good indeed. I manage to catch a fish just about every other cast, many of them to small, and some too big. We’re fishing for our diner and have no desire to be wasteful of the fish.
I catch a nice four and a half pound bass, a strong tug on the line, and then I can feel the fight and wiggle of the fish through the line. The fight is on, and the tip of my pole is bent over with the force of the bass as he struggles to swim away. Finally reeling him in close to the rock I’m standing on, I reach down and grab the beautiful fighting monster who had darn near swallowed my lure whole. Careful not to hurt him, I remove the hook, holding him up for JJ Jr. and Skylor to see, then let him swim off to rejoin his brethren. The next up is an impressive 2 pound croppy, that is destined for the prying pan. He puts up less fight at first, as a matter of fact, I had thought he got off the hook until I brought him up close to the rock. Then he seemingly wakes up and off he goes, taking my line for a spin. The whir of my fishing reel as he swims for all he’s worth, catches JJ Jr.s attention and he comes running over. I fight with him for a short time, bringing him in close, then letting him run hard again, finally bringing him right up to JJ Jr. The fight over for the time being, but truly appreciated for it’s excitement.
After catching enough fish for a nice meal, I sat back and enjoyed the sunset while JJ Jr. and Skylor fished on. Their idea of heaven being the fight of a fish on the line. My idea of heaven being the sunset with its bright flaming colors lighting the sky to the west. The sun slowly becoming an orange ball of fire as it falls slowly to the horizon. It’s light giving color to the low clouds, turning them orange, lavender, and crimson. Watching as the sun descends, ending yet another day, and starting a fresh new night. The beauty presented to me, breathtaking in its originality.
Such a wonderful way to put an end to a hard stressful day of work. A little fishing, a little beauty and magic from the sunset, and some delicious food shared among friends.