As many of you know, I went to Alaska in early August where I met my dad and my brother and his son and sons-in-law. We had a great time together. Each day began with breakfast together and ended with dinner together. In between, we went on two different boats and went fishing.
The captains of the boats we were on knew the waters and understood the migration routes of the various fish we were seeking. So, all we had to do was get on the boat and put the bait in the water when Bobbie told us to start fishing. It many ways it was simple.
Our primary target was salmon – either King or Coho. And we all had fun catching some of each. But we also caught other fish because other fish are drawn to the same bait and swim in the same ocean. Most often, we found ourselves catching halibut in an area where we were not allowed to keep halibut; so we returned lots of fish to the sea. It was “catch and release” even though we were not intending to catch them. I think I returned at least seven nice size halibut.
One our third day out, we met our legal limit of salmon. So, we went to an area where we could keep the halibut. And we couldn’t catch any. The irony was not lost on any of us.
But that day I caught three skate. (For those who don’t know, skate is a fish that looks like a sting ray.) No one else caught them.
We also caught a yelloweye rockfish. But those fish are on the endangered species list. So we had to send them back. The problem is that once brought to the surface, their internal organs bloat and they often die at the surface. I watched with sadness when the other boats around us caught them and saw these yelloweye rockfish floating on the surface of the water.
So, it was especially fascinating to watch Bobbie find a way to put a weight on a line and “pull” the fish back down to the appropriate depth (about 250 feet). When the fish began to put up a fight, he let it go.
After our second accidental catch of yelloweye, we moved to another location, rather than taking a risk of harming any more fish.
I left the boat every day with a deep appreciation for the knowledge base of the captain of our boat, Bobbie. He was able to remember what the limitations are on the fishing in various places we went, as well as how to operate the boat and navigate the seas, and how to find and care for fish. And it’s why I will probably ask to be on his boat again the next time I go fishing in Alaska!
And I came home wondering how often I have changed my approach to my job, knowing that different people respond to different aspects of God’s grace. I don’t know the waters in Wichita very well, yet. But I’m learning! Thanks for being patient with me as I learn!