My fishing rod was in the holder of the boat. I saw it quivered. Suddenly it bent. Fish on!
I lifted the rod. Gave it a yank to make sure the hooks set properly. The fish took off. I let it. Because in a tug of war with a big one, the fish always wins.
The fish put up a fight. The reel screamed as the line spooled out. When the pulling slowed I pumped as fast as I could to reel in the line taken out. But for every ten meters of line I reeled in, the fish pulled out ten more.
This fish was a real fighter. It swam with speed left and then right. I had to move from one side of the boat to another three times. You have to follow the fish or you might lose it. The boatman lifted up the propellers at the back of the boat in case my line got caught in them.
The fish refused to give up. I am told Tengiri are smart. This one is not only smart but also very strong. It dived under the boat. It would easily cut my line. I could have lost the fish if not for the timely advice from my experienced fishing buddies. I quickly dipped my rod tip into the water. I managed to get it to swim out again. By now everyone in the boat could see that I was pretty worn out.
A fishing buddy offered to take over. I was glad to let him. He was after all, a very experienced fisherman. He recently went on a 4-day 3-night fishing trip at the Spratly Islands. He caught giant Barracouta, 6kg Snapper and 30kg Dog Tooth Tuna.
One would have thought that he could easily land this big Tengiri. But it was not to be.
We could see the color of the fish near the surface. It was really huge. No fisherman’s exaggeration here. Easily 10kg.
The fish made a last desperate spurt out, which forcefully yanked the hooks off its mouth. The line went limp.
I could hear the audible gasps of shock, disbelief and disappointment – “What? It got away? How come? What a waste!”
Every fisherman knows the feeling of losing a big one. But nothing is worse than losing the fish your buddy caught with his rod handed to you.
As I reflected I can picture the many that got away after they were caught.
A powerful evangelist came. Many lives were saved. But they soon left the Church. The statistics show the attrition is high. We couldn’t land the fishes. They too escaped.
Most of us are recipients of God’s saving grace through someone who shared the Gospel with us. It is therefore incumbent upon us to share the Good News.
They have passed that fishing rod to us. Paul did that when he said:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3).
Our Lord Jesus has called us to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). He passed the fishing rod to us.
We have the fishing rod in our hands. The fight is on. The struggle begins when you try to bring in the fish. To land a big one is hard.
Nothing is more agonizing than losing the fish you caught.
Nothing is more gratifying than the joy of landing the fish, especially the big ones.
And even then, you know it is by God’s grace, you land the fish.