Spiritual Lessons Learned From Fishing

(Originally posted to ReverendDrRed.com)

I started commercial fishing to help pay the bills. I began going out with a fisherman whose family has been in it for decades. Days I wasn’t working with him, I was working with other fisherman. I believed I was only going to learn how to fish and make some money. But I’ve learned so much more and witnessed a lot of nonsense. I now have my own commercial license so I no longer need to go out with another to fish legally.

Many believed I was switching careers by going into commercial fishing. That is not the case. I was called into ministry by Jesus. The calling is a lifetime. Other jobs are not. Regardless what job I am doing at any given point, ministry is my career. The job is simply to supplement income of my career.

I still have alot to learn about the habits of fish, best ways to catch them, etc. So I will be posting more about fishing in the future.

When I began, I was a bit nervous being on the water. Alligators, rough water, etc. I was nervous the boat would dump in one area of the water known as the “Danger Zone”. I was nervous of the alligators. Not long into it, I became confortable. I enjoyed the boat ride, I enjoyed being on the water, and I even saw a manatee swimming not far from us.

A bit into it, we were wading the water. Yes, we actually got into the water. The first time I was nervous. But I grew calm quickly. I noticed gators swimming all around us, but as we stayed calm and just went about our business, the gators we came close to would drop under the water and take off.

Fishing began as a very calming and relaxing experience. What helped me calm down is I believe I was able to connect to the spirits of the Utica. The Utica are the natives that used to live in my area. I kept noticing them on the shoreline (known as “the hill” to local fisherman). Seeing them weirded me out at first. I tried brushing them off as employees of the FWC walking the management areas. But when I realized their style of clothing and hair length, there was no way they were FWC. Nor were they locals, as the picnic areas of the management area was closed. (For your reference, the waters I was in and the management area are in the Ocala National Forest / Welaka National Park.)

One day fishing, we were discussing the different types of bass. I had mentioned I had never seen a red bass. The Utica were on the shoreline. The fisherman I was with then catches a red bass. A decent size as well. Due to laws here, we had to let him go, but I got to see a red bass. On another occasion we were fishing Tilapia. Couldn’t find one. The Utica appeared and directed me where to go, and I directed the fisherman. When we got close, the fisherman decided to stop where we first came upon a grass line. A mother gator started flailing around warning us we’re getting too close to her babies. We went down the grass line a good stretch and found our tilapia.

I realize this all may sound weird or farfetched to some. But those who have been reading my material and/or know me personally, know my beliefs and my faith. I’m very open-minded. Each time I went out on the water I prayed to Jesus for protection and a quick catch so I can get back on land.

The first fisherman I was working with, we had a trying experience. We almost attacked each other one day on the water. He was frustrated because he was losing fish out of the net. I was frustrated because I was just learning how to do all this and I was getting yelled at. We came close to hitting each other before I sat down and he decided he’s letting his nerves get to him and we’d just head back and call it quits for the day.

Aside from the day of frustration, the first month, maybe month and a half, of fishing was calming and relaxing. And I felt I was connecting with nature. Even managed to talk the one fisherman into throwing fish I felt were too small back into the water. I was learning a lot about fish, their habits, etc.

Fishing is almost like evangelizing and preaching. Just as people will not join with an individual, group, or faith they don’t agree with, the same goes for fish. They commune together. But at certain points of the day, they scatter from incoming predators. All types of fish seemingly get along in the shallow grass lines, while others prefer the deeper waters. If you are calm, you will catch the fish. If you are angry, frustrated, or in any way riled up, the fish will scatter. They can sense us long before we even see them. Similarly, people will only join a group of people that are calm and share similar moral values. People will not join something willingly that they fear.

Part 2

In recent weeks, I began to see the ugly side of fishing. I would like to hope big scale commercial fishing is different, as I am only a local commercial fisherman supplying local customers. I started getting told by one fisherman not to take another I was working with to an area of the water (as if he owns the water). Most waters I fish is state owned waters open to the public, no private waters. I was also told not to take the other two fisherman I was working with to “his” customers. Even went as far as threatening me.

We’re not the only four fisherman in the area, and we’re not the only ones supplying the very same customers he’s claiming or fishing the waters he’s claiming as his. The customers in our county have been supplied for decades by the first fisherman’s family, therefore if these customers are anyones, they are fisherman 1’s, not fisherman 2’s. The customers in the other county I don’t want to touch (even if I remembered how to get to them) and won’t tell anyone where they are as fisherman 2 used to live their, so if he wants to claim customers he can claim them and keep them to himself (though I am sure other fisherman are supplying them as well).

A few days ago I went fishing with fisherman 3, who fisherman 2 doesn’t want in “his” waters or near his customers. We didn’t catch much at all that day. Fisherman 2 had a heart attack and threatened he was going to hit me over it. Meanwhile we did not go to “his” customers. As a matter of fact, fisherman 3 still had our rediculously small catch at his house because he couldn’t sell them.

Fishing is a source of food and income for many who live on the water. For thousands of years various cultures fished for food and worked in cooperation with neighboring tribes. Maybe trading fish for other foods or supplies they needed. Who is any man to decide that any body of water is strictly theres? Or any area of customers is strictly theres? What happened to open market capitalism? And why should you feel betrayed that I took another to a particular spot and now know nothing is there so we don’t waste our time going down there to find nothing?

This is a lot like religion as well. Whether it’s Christianity vs Islam vs Buddhism vs Atheism etc. Or it be within a faith, for ex: Pentecostal vs Baptist vs Catholic vs Methodist or Sunni vs Shia vs Wahabi in Islam. Each group acts territorial over their followers and doesn’t allow said followers to ask questions, think for themselves, or leave and join another that makes more sense to them. Each group also feels they are superior to every other, yet go against their own beliefs and morals to prove alleged superiority.

When you realize that religion is of man and spirituality is of God, only then will people willingly join you without fearing you. When you realize you don’t own a group of people, for we are all equal, we are all one, only then will you achieve what you desire. Only when you act out your beliefs, live your faith, will you truly be superior to others, for now you are the example for others to follow.

We are all one. We must act like it. To keep fish away from a fisherman, therefore preventing him from being able to support his family, you are not only hurting him, but you are hurting yourself as well. You are him and he is you. How can anyone honestly expect to see peace and prosperity worldwide when neighbor is against neighbor? If a single neighborhood cannot get along peacefully, do tell how it is expected the entire world is to do so?

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About Rev. Dr. Red
Minister, Public Speaker, Founder/Sr. Pastor of Spiritual Messiah Ministries, Founder of Spiritual Truth Movement & Coalition, Fisherman, Independent Marketer.

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