Rodeo at the Jetty by Randy Rowley 8/10/22 ©


On a Thursday morning in late July, six friends, my wife, Chris, and I headed to Port O’Connor (POC) for an FCS bay fishing trip.

On Thursday afternoon, Chris and I fished with live shrimp at the south jetty from our bay boat.  We caught a few undersized redfish and trout, and non-game fish.  I also put a medium-sized crab on a 13/0 hook out in the channel, away from the rocks.

After 1 ½ hours, we decided to try another spot.  After reeling in my shrimp and securing the hook and rod & reel combo, I turned around to reel in my crab.  But something didn’t look right, and I quickly discovered the problem – most of the 120 yards of line on my baitcasting reel had been spooled, and all that remained was the initial loop knot holding the line onto the reel!  Fortunately, the line went at a 45-degree angle away from the jetties.

I figured I’d hooked a rock.  I turned our bow-mounted trolling motor off spot lock, and Chris used our main motor at idle speed to get me to the end of my line while I reeled in my line, matching her speed.

In a few seconds, we reached the end of my line.  But instead of finding a taunt line from a stuck hook, I saw a fish’s tail!

I yelled at Chris to cut the main motor and get the net while I put the trolling motor on spot lock.  The fish didn’t have much fight left in it.  Chris netted it and brought the black drum inside our boat.  I got it out of the net.  Then I got a fish measuring board out of a storage compartment.  It was 27 inches long, my personal best (PB) black drum, and PB inshore saltwater fish.

I asked Chris to take some pictures, but when she went back to the captain’s chair to get her phone, she hooked her shorts on the top treble hook of a Whopper Plopper 130 that was tied to a baitcasting rod and reel combo sitting vertically in one of the center console’s rod holders.  The hook went completely through her shorts and undershorts, so she was stuck to the center console.

Then things got much worse.

We knew the “Lone Star Shootout” billfish tournament was about to start, as the tournament’s headquarters were right next to The Inn at Clark’s (where we were staying).  But we didn’t know it would start at 5:00 PM.  Around 5:15 PM, approximately fifty 25+-foot-long offshore yachts sped by in a line around 100 yards apart and around 100 yards from us.  To say the wakes those yachts put out were large is an understatement.

I tried steering our boat into the wakes with the trolling motor, but both proved inadequate and dangerous as I bobbed up and down on the bow (front) like a kernel of corn in a popcorn machine.  So, I went to the captain’s chair from the port (left) side, as Chris was still stuck to the center console’s starboard (right) side.

I started the main motor and, between yacht wakes, turned around and headed closer to the jetties further away from the wakes.  There we rode out the most impressive rodeo of wakes we’ve ever experienced.  Between wakes, I cut the hook out of Chris’ shorts and put the drum in our fish box.

Finally, in what seemed like forever, it was over.  By then, neither of us wanted to try another spot, plus I had to fillet my drum, so we headed to port.

We’d never ridden a bucking bronco or a bull, and hopefully, the rodeo we experienced at that jetty will be as close as we’ll get!

Following his ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (see Matthew 4:25 – 7:29), Matthew recounted how large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside.  He healed a man with leprosy, a Roman officer’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and everyone else who was sick, and cast the evil spirits out of many demon-possessed people (see Matthew 8:1-16).

Matthew further recounted, “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.”  (The “lake” is the Sea of Galilee).  “Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.  Suddenly a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, shouting, “Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!”  Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid?  You have so little faith!”  Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.  The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked.  “Even the winds and waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:18 and 23-27 (NLT).)

The storm in Matthew 8 is the first one Jesus calmed on the Sea of Galilee.  The second and more famous storm that he calmed on the Sea of Galilee was recounted in Matthew 14:22–30, Mark 4:35-39, Luke 8:22–25, and John 6:16-21, after Jesus’ ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’ miracle.  Matthew and John also recounted that Jesus walked on the sea before calming it, and John recounted that Jesus instantly transported the boat onto the shore.

Storms come into the lives of Christians, usually in the form of unexpected catastrophes or difficulties (what Jesus called “trials” (see John 16:33 NLT).  Examples include financial, health, legal, and relationship trials (with our spouse, kids, neighbors, schoolteachers, customers, co-workers, boss, etc.).  Regardless of the trial, Christians can face three kinds of storms.

Some storms are for protection, which the disciples experienced on the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 8 and Matthew 14.  As the crowd was following Jesus everywhere he went, Jesus said to his disciples (paraphrased), “Get in the boat and get out of here.”  During those voyages, he saved his disciples from the temptation to make him the Jewish king and from drowning.

Some storms are for teaching.  God allows us to experience trials to teach us truths and make us stronger spiritually if we respond with the right attitude.  James 1:2-4 NASB says, “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Trials don’t make us perfect – choosing to respond to them with joy (inner contentment and satisfaction) produces endurance and, eventually, perfection.

Two people whom God used trials to teach them truths are Job and Paul.

In the book of Job, Satan destroyed everything Job had, including his family (see Job chapter 1).  Job then challenged God’s justice.  God responded that Job had insufficient knowledge of him to make that claim.  Job requested more explanation.  God responded that Job must trust in his (God’s) character and wisdom.  Job responded by repenting – turning from the direction he was heading and turning to God (see Job chapters 2 – 42.)

The apostle Paul’s famous trial was his ‘thorn in the flesh.’  Many scholars believe Paul had developed an eye problem, as he wrote in Galatians 4:15b, “I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible.”

God’s response to Paul’s three requests to remove Paul’s thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:9a (NLT) was, “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.”  In 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 (NLT), Paul said, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Some storms are for correction.   We bring these storms upon ourselves and reap the consequences of our actions.  We’re at fault.

In Jonah 1:2, God commanded Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and preach against it because of its wickedness.  But Jonah wanted the Ninevites to perish and ran from God’s commission by boarding a ship at Joppa bound for Tarshish.

God responded by creating a great storm on the sea.  Jonah commanded the sailors to throw him overboard, as he knew his rebellion had caused God to create the storm.  They reluctantly complied, but he was swallowed by a giant fish instead of drowning!  He spent three days and nights in the fish’s belly before repenting.  After the fish vomited him onto dry land, he preached to Nineveh’s people.  The Ninevites also repented, and God had compassion and withheld his judgment.  (See the book of Jonah.)

Wherever we go and whatever we face, God is with us and is causing everything to work together for the good (see Hebrews 13:5b and Romans 8:28 (NLT)).

Perhaps being in a storm for a long time has distressed you but consider that it might be near its end.  If you’re in a storm, don’t fear as the disciples did.  Instead, have hope.  HOPE is said to stand for “Holding On with Patient Expectation.”

If you’re experiencing a rodeo (like Chris and I did on that hot summer day), remember that all storms eventually end, and the God who rescued Jonah and Jesus’ disciples can rescue you too.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible Verse of the Day

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”