This time of year, with spring springing everywhere you look, the grass comes alive with a vengeance. In our yard, it grows about nine feet a day, so it is occasionally necessary for me to cut the grass.  

I hate cutting grass.

Why? Because other weekend activities are at least as important as waging war on weeds.

Just this weekend, I had the opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite alternatives to yard work, which is (I’ll bet you already knew where this is going) fishing.

More specifically, last weekend, I had the opportunity to lead a “Fly Fishing 101” class. This particular class was part of the Fishers of Men fishing fellowship program at Alpharetta First United Methodist Church, and it was fun! 

We started on Friday evening with some classroom time (choosing flies, tying knots, and so on) as well as some outdoor time (learning the basics of casting a fly rod). 

The next day, the plan was to venture into the great outdoors to put those newfound skills to the test on actual water and actual fish. 

But there was uncertainty! Would we be able to go? Dire pronouncements from every weather forecaster in the land assured one and all that Saturday’s weather was going to be somewhere just this side of The End of the World As We Know It.

And yet fisherfolk are optimistic folk. Maybe — just maybe — there’d be a window in there for us to squeeze in at least a little water time.

And as it turned out, that’s exactly what happened. 

We got to the water about 9 a.m. under skies that were clear and sunny. How about that! It stayed that way until about 1 p.m., when rain moved in and we moved out to eat some barbecue for lunch. But lo and behold, about the time we finished, the rain faded away. So back to the water we went, and we fished until the rain started again as we were leaving about 6. Dire forecasts notwithstanding, it turned out to be a great day. And it was a whole lot more fun than pulling weeds.

Yes, God looks out for fisherfolk.

He really does. I remember a fishing trip a few years back with my friend Bob, a Baptist minister, and his friend Joey, another Baptist minister. I was showing Bob the nuances of fishing for white bass, and we were having a really good day. 

At the end of the day, Bob said, “Steve, this was a great day of fishing!” 

“Of course it was,” I replied. “But that’s no surprise,” I added, not missing a beat. “After all, you were fishing with a Methodist.”

Bob paused a second, then said, “No, that’s not it. It’s because YOU were fishing with TWO Baptist ministers!”

Denominational considerations notwithstanding, it’s always satisfying to share the fun of fishing. 

I especially enjoy sharing fishing with young people, and there’s nothing better than introducing kids to fishing as a great way to enjoy the out-of doors.

In fact, I’ll be doing just that on Saturday, May 18 at an “Introduction to Fishing” clinic presented through Alpharetta’s Recreation and Parks Department. This fun-filled workshop (you’ll need to sign up in advance through Alpharetta Rec) is designed to help young people discover the fun of fishing, something they can enjoy for years to come. 

We’ll start about 9 a.m. with a hands-on look at the basics — floats, hooks, lures, bait, and so on. We’ll learn how to cast a spinning rod, how to think like a fish, and even how to tie the basic Fisherman’s Knot. 

We’ll even talk about the Ultimate Secret Bait (I’d tell you what it is, but it’s a secret). 

And then it’ll be time for some actual fishing! We’ll gather up rods and bait and sunscreen and bug spray and head down the hill to the nearby lake. A few minutes later, we’ll make our first casts. The red-and-white floats will land in the water with gentle splashes. And then we’ll wait — but I’m betting we won’t have to wait too long.

Shouts of “I got one!” will soon be floating across the water. For some, it will be their very first fish, an occasion marked by much picture taking and high-fiving and usually followed by the words “I want to catch another one!”

Officially, we’ll be done about 11:30. But if the fishing is good, odds are some of the crew will stay beyond the official ending time. That’s fine, because that’s just the way it is with fishing — you don’t want to stop! It will be a great day. Everyone, kids and parents alike, will have fun — and they’ll be having that fun together. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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