Short Casts & Pocket-waters

This is Daniel. One of the best men I’ve ever known. I’ve been friends’ with this guy for the past 25 years, longer than I’ve even known my wife. He’s passionate, messy, cries hard, laughs loud, loves Jesus and has loved me like very few ever have.

And Daniel LOVES to fish. He spends more time thinking about fishing than … well

… lets just say he spends way too much time thinking about fishing.

Researching fishing. Reading about fishing. Surfing the web about fishing. And actually fishing. He fishes off of docks, banks and boats. But when he comes to Colorado to visit yours truly we put on our boots and waders and hike long trails and river banks to climb ankle, knee, waist and sometimes chest deep into the rivers of Colorado. And we fly-fish. Daniel is by far the better fisherman of the two of us. He is a therapist by trade and heart (and an abnormally good one), but when he’s not sitting down loving his kids, family, friends or clients he’s probably somewhere fishing.

So when we fish together I listen to him.

I like the big waters. The Colorado or Arkansas River. Where the water is really wide and really deep. I love casting far and wide – I love the feeling of casting. But I also tend to fish a bit randomly. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and that works. Yet what used to always baffle me a bit is how we could both fish the same river on the same day and Daniel would catch 7 or 8 and I might land 1 or 2.

What he would always tell me is, “man I know you love those long casts but you’ve gotta shorten it up, and find those pockets where the fish are swimming. Short casts and pocket waters man, short casts and pocket waters.” Because trout aren’t typically just swimming in random places. They are hiding in slower pockets or behind boulders or rocks where the current isn’t flowing quite so fast. They are conserving energy so that they can wait and eat flys and bugs as the current pushes them over the rocks.

So Daniel hunts. He fishes intentionally. Constantly moving, he reads the river. Fly-fishing is a work of art. It isn’t randomly throwing your line here and there hoping that maybe someday, some-thing will bite.

I’ve realized that I tend to live like I fish. Or maybe I fish like I live. I have gifts and big dreams. I just want to get into the water, throw my line far and wide and catch big fish. But the truth is that these gifts aren’t fully realized. And the dreams won’t come to fruition. Not without the deep intentionality of breaking it all down into a bunch of smaller pieces in the various arenas that I am called to step into. One moment at a time. And doing it over and over again as I keep moving forward. “Life (as well) is a work of art. Never stop working on this work of art that is your life.” – Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel

So that is the premise of this blog. One short cast at a time. Into pockets of ideas, thoughts, experiences and likely some theology. But most of all into stories that have caught my heart … and I hope that a few of them will land on yours.

14 Replies to “Short Casts & Pocket-waters”

  1. Nice work. It took me 2 minutes of reading before I wanted to jump in my van from Fort Collins, waders on of course, and pick you up to fish. It’s game on.

    Steve Dale says:
    1. Another old friend… heck yeah man! 2019 let’s do it.

      jonathandenhartog says:
  2. So, you don’t know me but you know my husband, Chuck Roberts. I also know Daniel, although probably not quite like you do! That being said, this blog made me smile! Having been hiking and camping in the mountains of Colorado with Daniel, your narrative painted a picture of fond memories. Even more though, your words reminded me that in our crazy life, I need to slow down, breathe, and listen to the One who is softly speaking to me!

    Susanne Roberts says:
  3. Can’t tell you how excited I am to see this blog move forward. You have a ton of insight to share with the world, and I’m grateful for the short time we were able to spend together!

    Dan Bartol says:
  4. Hello my old friend. We were in Colorado in the summer picking up my son from Timberline. I got to experience fly fishing for the first time. What a blast we had! Excited to read your new blog. Call us the next time you make the trip to Texas. Would love to see you.

    Russ Schubert says:
    1. That’s awesome Russ. And I definitely will!

      jonathandenhartog says:
  5. I love this content. Can’t wait till the next post!

    Matt Johnson says:
  6. Some days it’s all in the intentional hunting and proper technique. But as a fisher woman, sometimes it’s a gambled backwards cast on a hunch while floating down the swift river – landing the biggest fish of the day. Or just not catching a blasted thing, but loving the time spent in pursuit.

    Genevieve Nation says:
  7. Jonathan I am honestly giddy with excitement over this blog!!! Your words are a true gift that I hold dear…that I cherish…that I will always be forever grateful for.

    Rebecca Gonsalves says:
  8. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post!
    It’s the little changes which will make the greatest changes.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

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