Before I was married with kids, I went deep sea fishing from time to time. Charter boats leave the sponge docks of Tarpon Springs daily, and like my dad always says, even if you don't catch anything, it's still a nice day out on the water.
This one time I went with my dad and uncle and we bought regular bait fish--the good kind that catch the keepers. I'm no expert fisherman, but I grew up on a lake that we fished in all the time, so I was no stranger to baiting a hook either.
Still, deep sea fishing is quite a bit different than bass fishing in a lake. But the basics are there. So there I was--around 25 years old and one of very few females on the boat--and started baiting my hook with the frozen sardine. The first mate was walking by and he stopped and watched me, which I ignored.
Finally, he said, "Here, let me do that for you." And he reached for my bait and hook.
Now, I knew this guy was a pro--an expert fisherman for sure. This guy went out on the water daily, and probably caught more fish than my dad and me combined in our entire lives. So the easier, smarter thing to do was let this guy bait my hook for me.
Ah, but I'm such a rebel. I wanted to do it myself. I've never been the kind of female that needed guys to do things for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a feminist don't-you-dare-open-the-door-for-me kind of girl either. But I really enjoy figuring things out and doing them on my own. It's gratifying.
I might add, that so far, no one on the boat had caught anything worth keeping that day, except this first mate. I knew, because there's always a pool for the biggest fish caught of the day, and so far, this guy was the only contender. So if I let him bait my hook, maybe I'd catch the biggest fish and win the pool.
I turned away from the guy and told him no. He insisted he should at least show me how to bait it right, and again I told him no.
"I can do it," I said. "My way."
He looked at me like I was crazy. Of course my dad and uncle just laughed because they already knew this guy would never win.
So I baited my hook like I wanted it, and cast my line in that deep blue water. Within minutes I had something. Something big. After ten minutes of struggling and fighting, of which I accepted no help with, I pulled up a huge red grouper. Oh man, what a great feeling that was. It ended up being the second largest catch of the day, beaten out only by that same first mate.
My dad and I still talk about that day and how great it was that I caught that fish on my own. As an indie author, I'm feeling a lot like that. I didn't go with the pros, I chose to try it on my own, and maybe I'll catch something awesome, or maybe not, but trusting my instincts and making my own choices feels great. Overwhelming, and scary, but great. Just like pulling in my own fish.
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