After saying our "good byes" and thanking each other following lunch .. I began my trip coming home. As I was crossing Lake Palestine .. a thought entered my mind! Why am I so alert and thinking about what had took place earlier? Normally after a day's fishing ... if anything I would think about things such as : boy, fishing was good/bad today ... I caught/not caught my limit today ... the fish were really biting today/or not ... what could I have done to make things different ... what if I used this color lure instead of that one ... I caught too many "dinks" instead of keepers ... etc., etc. Normally on a good day of fishing we would all answer "yes" to most of these questions and we are somewhat alert before drifting on to another subject.
But if on the other hand we answered "No" to most of the questions then it makes for a very long trip home.
But today .. it was much more different than anything I had ever thought about or felt before !!
This morning on the way to meet Keyboard for today's outing ... my thoughts drifted back to all of the people that he had taken on their trip thus far and all of the positive reports that were being posted after each trip on here. And then I mis-understood the post on Wednesday's trip on how they fished the brush piles and concrete and did "very" little dock shooting!
Also, to make matters even worse ... there were posts about the lake level had risen and dock shooting were becoming rare to find a dock to shoot under ... didn't help things either.
So I sent Keyboard an email and asked him what should I be bringing with me and what time was we to meet and where Friday morning. In email I kinda of hinted that I preferred to be dock shooting but was open to any suggestions he made. His reply was the time and bring your favorite rod.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed but very patiently waiting to meet up at the marina ... Keyboard was a few minutes late and I was really wondering if I was at the correct place or not??
But then there he was with the boat and color he told me to look for!
I introduced myself to him and we loaded up and off we went!
Idling out of the marina area towards the main lake, we chatted for a bit and Keyboard mainly talked about where we were headed for the dock locations that he fishes. When we arrived at the first dock ... everything that I had thought about before that moment ... quickly disappeared when I saw the configuration of the dock's structure! I mentioned to Keyboard at this time that I had practiced very hard and diligently and even got to the point where I could put a jig into the 5 gallon bucket 9 out of 10 times as he had instructed me to early on when I told him I had never went dock shooting before! But what I saw before me was nothing like what I had practiced!
The dock opening was only about 9-10 inches high. Then Keyboard said in a quiet and calm tone how to shoot it correctly under the opening and the pit falls that most people encounter when they try for the first time. It only took me about 10 minutes after I had calmed and settled my nerves down ... that I was now very "Envious" of Keyboard.
Things that made me envious ..... his knowledge of the lake ... his adaptation to fish whatever way one wanted ... his willingness to help and answer anything that was asked of him ... his way of making someone feel relaxed and not intimidated by his skills and knowledge ... his way of making one feel important and letting them have the "hot spot" when one is found ... providing all of the lures, jigs, etc. without you asking what to use with (to me became his favorite saying
) you already paid for it!!
... how to fish each individual dock as he had a name and story for most of them ... his calmness and demeanor about anything that I did wrong ... like hanging up on brush under the dock, shooting a jig off a pontoon and glancing up on the dock and hear him say ... there ain't no fish up there!
the fact that he is on many pro staff of lure makers, rod and reel companies, etc.! There are a few more that doesn't come to mind but I think one gets the point.
What does all of this leads to??? It certainly was not about how many fish we caught as it was not the point ... that was the least thing on my mind throughout the day. It wasn't about how I finally learned to improve my newly found dock shooting techniques and skills and could get under the dock with little or no problems at all towards the end of the day's trip ... however, it does get you to the point of loving dock shooting for crappies. Nor was it anything I have mentioned thus far in this post.
The answer to the title of my post is given with this example of what happened while fishing one of the docks! As we approached the dock, Keyboard told me that this was one of his most favorite docks to fish and also that the people that owned it was as nice as could be to him. He sees a lady and her daughter on the dock and they were fishing the middle of the dock and calls out to them and says ... is my girl catching all of my fish?
She replies back with ... the fish are biting good! So we try one side and nothing is happening as the daughter is catching a fish.
We move around the front of the dock to get to the other side of the dock and also have a better and plainer view of the lady and daughter as they catch another fish. After the fourth quickly caught fish they catch, Keyboard says to get the camera out for the pictures as she strings up the fish. Meanwhile Keyboard catches two quick crappies and then puts his rod up and tells me to keep on fishing.
On my next shooting of the jig under the dock, I catch a solid keeper and then on the next shot, another one is landed and Keyboard says to me ... OK, that's it for this dock as the husband comes down the hill onto the dock and carries on a conversation with Keyboard.
I didn't question Keyboard on his decision as to why we were leaving this successful dock when we just caught 4 fish rather quickly nor even wonder to myself WHY! Telling the husband bye and on to our next dock we went. After arriving at our next dock, Keyboard says to me ... that is one dock when I see that the owners are there fishing ... I will only catch three or four fish and off I go.
The example that I just mentioned above made my whole day and the trip a very successful one. It was worth paying the admission to witness and experience the whole scenario as I have typed it for you. RESPECT - as defined by the dictionary ... a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something "elicited" by their "ABILITIES", "QUALITIES" or "ACHIEVEMENTS" .... they say that "Respect" is something that is earned and never given out lightly. I can truly tell you that Keyboard most certainly earned my RESPECT through the example above. I tip my hat and salute you Keyboard for the lessons I learned today from our outing together.