“…embrace your pole.”

I wish I had more life lessons about fishing. There are tons of parables about fishing and if you like boring movies, “A River Runs Through It,” has life lessons. Nonetheless, I like fishing.

My Dad took us fishing as kids, but it was mostly my Uncle Paul who brought me to the urban water holes. My God brother and I honed most our skills fishing in the canal off Dunlap and 7th Avenue. I remember the cops almost always pulling over and talking with my Uncle. The Phoenix PD were always baffled that we were fishing in the canal, especially in Sunny Slope.

The murky, likely parasitic, water held catfish and we used a homemade stink bait to lure them. Alongside my God Brother, I remember watching my Uncle put the bait together. It was a mixture of sardines, saltine mcrackers and death. It was nasty, but it always brought us a haul of catfish, and every time I didn’t use the bait I caught much fewer fish.

We never dared to test fate and eat the fish, but we did put them in an old white paint bucket. Once we finished showing my Auntie we would take them back to the canal and let them go.

But occasionally we went to other city watering holes at the parks. Once we fished encanto Park. That was the time I threw the pole into the water…. never to see it again. Or I could see it in the shallow water but I didn’t have the proper clothes or tools to retrieve it. It was my uncle Paul’s pole and I sat the rest of the time in disappointment.

If there were a life lessons about fishing, your bait doesn’t matter if you drop your pole, and you won’t ever catch any fish if you don’t grab it. So embrace your pole, embrace your life. And if the pole slips from your hand a little, go pick it back up, or you just may be sitting disappointed for awhile.

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