Bold as a 4 inch small mouth bass. Lessons learned fishing (but not catching) in the Boundary Waters.

I wasn’t having a fun when my line started to wiggle.

Day 4 of our Boundary Waters trip had started auspiciously for everyone else. Devon Davoux and Jeremy Montgomery are great friends from college. We’ve stayed close over the years and now, every 5 years or so, we reconnect over a short trip to the BWCA. Our 4th man was another friend, Paul White. If you’ve never heard of this canoe only, no cell phone service series of interconnected lakes on the border of Canada, I strongly suggest you check it out.

Day 1 had been intense canoeing to go deep into the Boundary Waters. We had portaged (read carry all your stuff) over 5 lakes to reach Jordan Lake. Jordan Lake was beautiful, but after all 4 of us combining for 1 tiny fish during an all day fishing spree, we decided to retrace our steps to Disappointment Lake, where we had been informed that the fish were hitting.

(Check out this time lapse of tearing down our camp and moving back to Disappointment Lake.

The evening of day 3 saw everyone catching fish except for me. One little small mouth bass had hooked himself on my jig and leech combo. All that evening and half the next day, I sat in frustration as my three friends landed fish after fish!

Don’t get me wrong. The scenery was amazing.

My view for the last 3 days #BWCA

A photo posted by Charles Porter (@lifecartographer) on

The friendship great. But when everyone else is catching fish and you aren’t, well, your frustration meter starts spiking.

Day 4 saw us back on the lake.

I had changed to a 4 inch tiger lure. Rumor from previous years had concluded that tiger lures were either gold or lead, win or loss. But since all I was going was losing, why not, right?

My line went out, and I began my retrieval when the lure began to act strange. Wiggle, wiggle.

“Got one,” I told Devon.

I then proceeded to land a small mouth bass who was literally the same size as my 4 inch lure. The SAME size.

I threw him back and had to laugh. The lure was a tiger lure, but that little bass was a Tiger, with a capital T, if he thought he could swallow another fish as big as he was.

Later that day, my fishing woes began to wane and completely dissipate as we found a great hole for walleye and bass. In my mind though, I kept coming back to the tiny little bass.

Bold. What if I were as bold as that little bass. Willing to take on challenges as big as myself.

I’ve seen in my own life the progression from big goals to small wins. In basketball terms, it’s a layup versus a slam dunk. It’s a manageable goal versus an impossible goal.

In my youth, I wanted to attempt great things. I wanted to go after the 4 inch tiger lures.

Now that I’m older, wiser, more mature, am I still chasing 4 inch lures or 200 pounders in my own weight category? (mixing my metaphors I know.) What used to be impossible is now routine.

-driving a car

-speaking multiple languages

-traveling the world alone

-taking care of a disabled child

My list of 4 inch lures could go on.

The scriptures tell us “the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Fearless. Where has that fearlessness gone? On sabbatical while I parent? Pay bills? Or taking on a challenge with the fierceness of that little 4 inch bass?








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