I went fishing on Good Friday with my wife and my good friend Steve, and we ended up hooking a crevalle jack, also known as a Jack Fish. I volunteered to bring it in. Without knowing what I was in for, I figured, “How hard can this be?” I didn’t know it would be the fight of my life.
I’ve fished all my life. I started fishing with my father and grandfather when I was a baby, and have fished ever since. I’m no master angler, but I know my way around a rod and reel. I’ve mostly fished rivers or piers, but I have gone on dozens of off-shore fishing expeditions. This time, it was my second time fishing the Intercoastal Highway, a waterway that extends along the entire length of the Gulf Coast, through Florida, and up the East Coast.
I’ve fought lots of fish, and to date, my most fierce battle was against a Bull Red Drum that I caught about 15 years ago on the Sea Wolf Park Pier. It was about 34″, and legal length at the time. It took me about 15-20 minutes to bring it in, and it was a good fight.
The fight I had with this crevalle jack lasted over an hour, and there was no resting except for one time when the skipper of the boat had to adjust the tension on the reel. I took that opportunity to take off my jacket as I was drenched with sweat.
I felt every pulse of the fish as it swam, and it would allow me to pull it closer and then take off, fighting me the entire time. Only after the hour mark did it finally get tired and allowed me to guide it into a net where we pulled it aboard the boat for photos. After we took a few shots, we let it go. It definitely earned it’s right to live. I was exhausted, and I’m sure it was, too.
While I was fighting the fish, all I could think about was getting it in. I was careful with every move I made, never to give any line and I had to pay attention to every nuance of his direction, speed, and even depth. A few times, the fish tried to get the line caught in the motor to cut the line. Fish are a lot smarter than people give them credit for. I had to push the rod deep into the water to keep the line from tangling or cutting. No matter what that fish did, I had to do something else to make sure I was the victor.
There were times I thought about handing the rod off to someone else on the boat to finish pulling it in. I was exhausted, my arms were burning, and my fingers could barely move the handle on the reel, but I decided that I wanted to finish what I started and that I wouldn’t allow something like soreness or muscle pain keep me from pulling this great fish in.
I thought about it later, and that fight with the mighty crevalle jack was much like my fight with sugar. It was long and difficult, but as the fight wore on, sugar held less and less of a sway over me, it’s attraction and pull weakening. I persevered and kept myself focused, and eventually I defeated the sugar dragon, regained control of my appetite and health, and now I’m no longer tempted or controlled by sugar.
The fight of my life. I’ve had a few. This past Good Friday, it was with a crevalle jack, but two and a half years ago, it was against a sugar dragon. I’m proud to say I’ve won both times through single-minded perseverance and having set my mind to not accepting defeat. We can do anything we set our mind to, whether it’s catching a 40 lbs fish or cutting sugar out of our lives. It just takes a strong desire to succeed.