Thursday, December 22, 2022

Sanctuary

 

 And He will become a sanctuary  (Isaiah 8:13–14 ESV)

"The fish and I were both stunned and disbelieving to find ourselves connected by a line."
-William Humphrey in "The Armchair Angler"

I first came to Lake Caroline on December 26, 2015. It was during the historic flood of the pea river and I still laugh that Jared Turnbloom and I made the trip. A one day, down and back, only to see the place for the very first time a chocolate river with water almost over the banks. And we did catch fish that day, which is also typical of Lake Caroline. 

This most recent trip was my 29th visit.

I don't know how I can capture in words what the total experience has been.

And how a few days in a weather beaten cabin in the middle of a lake touches something deep within me.

It is so much more than fishing... though I spend most of the daylight hours chasing the little green fish with thousands of casts. 

The more I have come, the more I remember... and soon I begin to know the Lake and the features both visible and invisible. Underwater, the surface lake looks like a distant plan with large stretches of electronic desert and wasteland. It is primarily a lake of contours- humps, ditches, holes that depending on the time of year hold schools of baitfish and bass in a never ending cycle of chase and kill to survive.

The lake features two old roadbeds, that I got to see a portion of when the dam was damaged in 2019/2020.

These roadbeds outline the main part of the lake that has the deepest water near the dam. And though you find occasional timber and brush, it is mostly a barren bottom.


When you first come on the property, you will think the small lake you see at the entrance is what you have made the 3 hour drive to see... but soon after you realize HOW BIG the lake and property is as soon as you crest the hill.

Often, I am greeted by numerous deer and they run free throughout the manicured natural pine and beautiful green fields.

When you first glimpse the water through the trees, it has a unique blue/green hue that gives a sight hint to the depth and clarity of the 130 plus acres of venerable woods and water.

The wildlife there is a constant testament to God's glory. Bald eagles, flying turkeys, wood ducks, and the clarion call of quails often pierce the majestic silence that brings a healing balm to my soul. Again, I can't find the words to express what to me has become a rather mystical experience.

Yes, fishing is the main activity on Lake Caroline... but the constant enjoyment of the senses for the entire property is the lasting memory and benefit.

Let's recount the fishing in 29 trips. Likely, it represents over 3,000 catches on every fishing technique ever invented. It is at Lake Caroline where I first caught a bass on a jerk bait (I still remember the exact spot), my first catch on a drop shot, on a ned rig, on a spoon, on a glide bait, on a Carolina rig... in fact, the reason Lake Caroline develops anglers is that we know the fish are there, so it allows us to fish and experience a new technique with excited expectation.

And we also learn to fight and land BIG fish. I have netted a 12 lb largemouth, hand grabbed a 12.6 out of the water, and helped net many, may 5, 6, and 7 lbs fish.

Personally I have caught an 8.0, 7.13, 6.2, and many 4 and 5 lb fish. I caught a 5 lb bass on a whopper plopper and saw him come and explode on the lure as it sat still on the top of the water.

And every catch is a memory and an experience.... I have been able to drill down on aspects, habits, and effective techniques that match the conditions needed to get these fish to bite.

The quote I use often is, "A kid can get a year's worth of catching experience in just 3 days of fishing!".

Often in our numbers each trip, we don't count 50 to 100 fish caught off the dock at night around the green light that also stands as a great educator to the size and shape of the Lake Caroline baitfish.

I am as awestruck by the sunrises coming up to the right as I look to the dam as I am by the unreal sunsets going down in the west casting the least bits of daylight on the road bed waypoints where we are eager to hook a biggun' right at dusk.

At night, the stars are majestic as no big city lights hide their luster. I look up and know that God is alive and feel a depth of gratitude for the day He has given me.

We hear the calls and whines of coyotes at times, desperate to find a way in to scar paradise. I'm sure it is the battle cry of demons as the howl in a way that is laugher, without smiles or good intent.

"Be patient and calm - for no one can catch fish in anger."
-Herbert Hoover
When I am at Lake Caroline, I feel the peace that God intends when we retreat from our anxious toils and employments. Jesus had the mountains and the Gethsemenean garden.... I find respite in the nature of Lake Caroline.

I'm praying the Lord allows me a 30th trip in the near future.... and selfishly I want a 40th, and 50th as well.

These are tastes of what God has in store for eternity. And if this place is any hint of how good it is... I'm looking forward to being there with the Lord.















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