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 go try another spot.  After reeling in my shrimp and securing the hook and rod and reel combo, I turned around so I could reel in my crab.  But something didn’t look right and I quickly discovered the problem – most of the 100 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.

As I didn’t hear drag stripping quickly from my reel, I figured I’d hooked a rock.  I turned our 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 the end of the line, 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 our net and then got our fish measuring board out of a storage compartment.  It was a 27-incher, my personal best (PB) black drum and PB inshore saltwater fish.

I asked Chris to take a couple of pictures, but there was a problem – when she went back to the captain’s chair she hooked herself on a lure’s top treble hook attached to one of my baitcasting rod and reel combos sitting vertically in a center console rod holder.  The treble hook went completely through her shorts, so she was stuck to the 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 the tournament started at 5:00 PM.  At around 5:15 PM, approximately 50 25+-foot-long offshore boats sped by in a line around 100 yards apart and around 100 yards from us.  To say the wakes those boats put out were large is an understatement.

I tried to steer our bay boat with its trolling motor into their wakes but that both proved to be inadequate and dangerous as I was bobbing up and down 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 big motor and, between big boat wakes, made a U-turn and headed closer to the jetties and further from the boats’ wakes.  There we rode out the most impressive rodeo of wakes we’ve ever experienced.  Between wakes, I cut the hook out of Chris’ pants and put the drum in our fish box.

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

We’ve never ridden a bucking bronco or a bull, and hopefully the rodeo we experienced on those waves will be as close as we’ll get!

On Friday morning, I caught my PB redfish (a 27-incher, tying the length of the black drum I’d caught the evening before), with Captain Marty’s “Fish of a Lifetime” guide service.  One of the trout I caught was my PB – around 19-inches-long, and one of the trout Chris caught was her PB – around 18-inches-long.

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, cast the evil spirits out of many demon-possessed people, and healed all the sick (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 he calmed on the Sea of Galilee, recounted in Matthew 14:22–30, Mark 4:35-39, Luke 8:22–25, and John 6:16-21, was after Jesus’s ‘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 (with our spouse, kids, neighbors, school teachers, customers, co-workers, boss, etc.) trials.  Regardless of the trial, there are three kinds of storms Christians can face.

First, there are protection storms.  Those are the kind of storms the disciples experienced on the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 8 and Matthew 14.  As the crowd was following Jesus everywhere he went, Jesus basically said to his disciples, “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.

Second, there are teaching storms.  God allows us to experience trials to teach us a truth(s) and make us stronger spiritually.  Two people who 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 responses to Paul’s three different 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.”  Paul responded in 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 (NLT), “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.”

Lastly there are correction storms.  We bring these storms upon ourselves and reap the consequences of our actions.  It was our fault – we brought the storm upon ourselves.

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 instead ran from God 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.  But instead of drowning he was swallowed by a giant fish!  He spent three days and nights in the fish’s belly before repenting.  After the fish vomited him onto dry land, we went to Nineveh and preached.  The Ninevites also repented, and God had compassion and withheld his judgment.  (See the book of Jonah.)

Wherever we go or 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 you’ve been in your storm for a long time, but you might be near its end.  If you’re in a storm, don’t fear as the disciples did.  Instead have hope.  HOPE has been 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 near POC), remember that the God who rescued Jonah and Jesus’s disciples can rescue you too, and all storms eventually end.

Categories : Devotionals

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