My home lake kicked me in the teeth the other day. I went in with a solid game plan and came out with a big, heaping slice of nasty humble pie. It happens to me more than I’d care to admit, but this particular evening I got to thinking about something on the short drive back to my house.
What’s it going to be like when a fisherman gets to Heaven?
It’s a pretty loaded question, I know. But these are the things a busy-minded, red-bearded, God-fearing redneck thinks about.
Will we still get skunked, even when we think we’re on the juice?
Are we going to have to dodge kamikaze jetskis driven by 13-year-olds jacked up on caffeine and adrenaline?
Will our crankbait hooks still get tangled at the end of a long cast?
Are we still going to get enormous backlashes when we try to make that tricky skip cast underneath the best-looking boat dock on the lake? And spend 30 minutes trying to pick it out, only to find our brand-new line now feels like overcooked bacon?
Will there still be that one…freaking…loop at the bottom of our spool that requires us to strip off 600 yards of line off our reels to fix?
When we try to reel said line back onto our spool, are we still going to have to untangle the slack from every…freaking…reel handle on our front deck?
Are we going to nearly somersault backwards into the lake when we set the hook on what we think is a giant bass, but it’s really only a three-finger bluegill?
When schoolers starting breaking the surface and we rush to throw our favorite topwater lure at ‘em, will the treble hooks still get snagged on our line guides, electronics mounts, carpet, rub rail, seats, pants, shoelaces or other lures?
Will there still be hidden chicken wire under boat docks to snag our favorite jigs?
Are those big bass going to keep doing backflips over our topwater frogs and still—somehow—never even get close to the hooks?
Is our knot going to break mid-cast and send our favorite 10-year-old lure soaring into the next dimension, never to be found again?
Are our fishing buddies going to keep kicking our butts from the back deck of our own boats?
Will we still get slapped in the head with a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait and almost pass out after our buddy makes a crazy sidearmed cast?
Am I still going to fall off my boat trailer in front of hundreds of people at the launch in 35-degree weather and come up gasping for air—looking like a waterlogged rodent—coughing and gagging on lake water?
Will my fingers still get pinned together by a brand-new treble hook while trying to unhook a 12-inch bass?
Are our co-anglers still going to cast lipless crankbaits onto the highway above the bridge we’re fishing and actually hook a chicken truck while it snaps their rod in half?
Are we finally going to learn why these dang post-frontal bass won’t eat anything—and I mean anything—we throw at ‘em?
Will we still inexplicably hook an occasional 10-inch bass in the butt and fight it like a 10-pounder?
Will we still forget to strap our rods down, hit a rogue wave and watch our $300 combo skip across our front deck like a river rock and fall into 60-foot deep water?
Will we still slam our jig into a dock and make a horrifically loud sound and feel like we’ve scared every bass in the entire lake?
When we post a big fish photo on Facebook, will people still accuse it of being Photoshopped?
It’d sure be nice to catch big ones every cast in Heaven, but to be honest, I kind of hope the frustrating things still happen. They’re where the best stories come from, they’re what make the laughs with our buddies and most importantly, they keep us humble and coming back for more.