Today is Free Fishing Day in Texas and any man, woman or child who wants to reel something in can do so from any public body of water without a license, but only until the day’s end.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hosts the event on the first Saturday in June each year as a way to help kick off the larger National Fishing and Boating Week, which begins on Sunday. It should be noted that bag and weight limits still apply during the free day of fishing, meaning all anglers still need to follow the rules for their chosen location.
While I’m a big fan of being outside, I haven’t devoted a whole lot of my time or my outdoor fun to fishing. Over the years, I’ve been fishing a handful of times and the result is almost always the same: I either catch nothing at all or catch something that I didn’t at all intend.
Somewhere around first grade, I remember going on a camping trip with a bunch of my friends and their fathers. My haul that day was a turtle who took a liking to my bait, but thankfully the adults stepped in after I hauled him onshore and made sure he was unhooked, healthy and able to go home.
By the time college rolled around, I occasionally found myself fishing in the Hill Country rivers with some friends, but all I ever landed was a wild story that involved an old metal boat, a single paddle and a sudden lightning storm.
Someday — when I have some more free time and live in a location better suited for it — I plan to try my hand at fly fishing. It’s ambitious, I know, but I think what I’ll enjoy most about it is that proximity to nature and all its elements. Feeling the full weight of the water as it moves past, searching for the perfect place to cast, and the rush of holding a fish in my hands, before letting it slip away back into the water.
I encourage everyone, regardless of their skill level, to go out and safely enjoy this Free Fishing Day. It only comes once a year, but you never know what you might find.
Happy birthday to JoAnn Ecker, Brenda Moore and Tammie Mayberry, all of Sherman; Mary Whitehead and Crystal Washington, both of Denison.
Happy anniversary to James E. Smith and Barbara Kinney-Smith of Denison, 54 years.