Reeling from Joy in the Texas Bay

Fishing with my dad lends itself to all kinds of spiritual metaphors and benefits. But that’s not what keeps me casting. /

In my parents’ home there’s a welded copper sculpture showing three fish of different species, winding and weaving together in a circular shape. Each represents a fish commonly sought for game on the Gulf Coast: speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. The artist called the piece “The Texas Trinity.”

While the title is intended playfully, it is true that my father, a lifelong avid fisherman, pursues this marine triad with a religious fervor. In fact, my dad often goes to the water to worship. His faith in the actual Christian Trinity, mind you, is firm. Though I can’t parse his theology, I can tell you that he feels nearer to God wading in the Texas bay than he necessarily does at church. You’re more likely to find him seeking Sabbath out on the water than in a church pew on a Sunday morning. My ecclesiology doesn’t make much room for that idea, but there’s really no reason to argue about it—this is how it is with him.

Fly fishing, from what I understand, is meditative—a continual, repetitive movement. It makes for beautiful cinema, with men scattering along winding blue streams, gracefully whipping their rods back and forth. The type of fishing my family does is less elegant. The Roeders are bay fisherman. We are German Texan ranchers, after all. Bay fishing is not glamorous: you sit and throw your line, and mostly wait. The bay water is not blue—on a good day, it’s a murky green. I would hesitate to swim in it, considering the number of chemical plants that spot the shoreline. While fly fishing makes cameos in movies, bay fishing is the subject of some incredibly boring, low-budget TV shows.

And yet, for the captivated, there is a magic to it. Dad says ...

Follow The Behemoth on Twitter and Facebook.

Also in this Issue

Issue 29 / August 20, 2015
  1. Editors’ Note

    Issue 29: Fishing with fathers, what we go out into the wilderness to see, and how Joy began to find Jesus. /

  2. Call of the Wilderness

    The Desert Fathers saw it as faith’s testing ground. The Transcendentalists saw it as sanctuary. The Gospel writers had their own views. /

  3. The World’s Most Astonished Atheist

    The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed Joy Davidman’s worldview, too. /

  4. Lines Cast

    ‘So this is the face of the ocean.’ /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Issue 29: Links to amazing stuff /

Issue Archives