Maria Elisabeth Dominguez
Content provided by Pam Corwin
We received Pam’s story as part of our Women’s History Month campaign. Check out more fishing stories!
The felt-bottomed shoes grabbed the slippery rocks that lined the river as I made my way to what I thought was the best spot for black bass. I could hear the gray herons calling as I startled them from their feeding grounds. The slow, rhythmic sound of the water falling through the gates came closer and I even closed my eyes for a moment to imagine a waterfall that would make the hydrodam disappear. The landscape was beautiful, the leaves turned bright reds and oranges and the sky an open blue.
The colors reminded me of the desert, a place I came here to forget. After capturing the moment, I realized that my main concern was crossing the deep pools without water entering my waders. I’m barely over five feet. Besides, the river water was cold. With the idea that bonfire water would ruin my morning, I slowly made my way across the river, selecting each foot very carefully. After getting to my spot, I prepared my rod for fishing and hopefully catching the day.
The crisp, cool autumn morning was perfect for small-mouth fishing; a break from the chaotic familiarity. It was a weekday so having the river all to myself was a nice addition, although the dam operators kept sounding the alarm and terrifying me every time. You would think being in the army would have clouded my senses to loud noises, but the terrifying sound disturbed my sense of peace; but I wouldn’t let the inconvenience of an alarm discourage my attempts to find what I was looking for.
The flow was perfect for driving my senko worm, and with every drift there was an opportunity to get that initial sense of excitement. Do you know the feeling of a fish nibbling at the bait and the tip of your rod bouncing unnaturally? Well, the first couple of casts didn’t evoke any of those feelings. Not even a nip. And I was okay with that. I knew there was pimple in the area; I’ve caught her before. before, when the world was simple and life floated like leaves in water. I knew I could catch her, but today was different. Today was about finding the inner peace that real fishermen (and fisher women!) Achieve by not necessarily catching a fish, but the action involved. I was glad to have a fishing rod in hand and water around me.
After wading from rocky spots to shallow waves, I returned to the original spot from the morning venture. I threw out my line and watched it drift and the most exciting feeling overcame me. I felt the gentle pull of a fish on the other end of the line. I slowly stumbled all the way down until I felt a fish start fighting. Then I did the “Bill Dance” and waxed the bar hard. Oh! I had one. I fought it for a few seconds and ended up with what I wanted: a small bass. Now you can look at this picture and ask yourself why I took a picture of myself with such a small fish. Fishing is not about catching a trophy fish. it is about getting lost in a larger connection with the living world; it gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a form of meditation that all true fishermen seek. My little fish was that connection.
This was a story I wrote from the perspective of how peaceful and therapeutic fishing can be. Not even catching, but striving for happiness if you will. Fish has become my whole world. I work full time as a wildlife and fisheries biologist at SCDNR and after serving 6 years in the army I was ready to get involved in nature conservation. Although my job is stressful at times, it gives an inner understanding of what I’m about, what I’ve been through, and what I can provide for our future generations. I encourage everyone to go outside and experience what nature has to offer.
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Maria Elisabeth Dominguez
Maria Elisabeth Dominguez is a bilingual writer with international experience in journalism, corporate communications, social media, public relations and radio production. Emotional connection and creative solutions are the key words of this enthusiastic Venezuelan social communicator with 12 years of background experience.