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Luck or Hard Work?

By Joey Havens

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Buckle up if you are interested in a tale that will reel you in hook line and sinker. As many of you know, I love to crappie fish and my favorite time is March and April each year when I can wade and fish for the crappie as they spawn. 

Today, I am at Eagle Lake and the bite has been awesome. I have 20 keepers on my stringer as I finish wading in one of my favorite spots.  It’s time to move and I crank the boat, slip across the lake to the north side and pull in another group of cypress trees where I caught fish last week. 

My fishing line has become twisted and worn, and my jig is in bad shape after the first three hours of catching fish.  As I pull the boat into water that is five feet from shore and about a foot deep. I anchor the boat. I lay my 11-foot jig pole along the boat, and pull new line off the reel. Cutting the old line and throwing away my jig, I re-rig with a new jig. I’m ready to roll. 

To keep from getting the line tangled or hooked on something in the boat, I throw the loose line behind the boat into the water. I walk to the front of the boat to close the live well. I pick up my jig pole to reel in some excess line before I slip out of the boat and into the water for my next wade. 

I immediately notice the line is tight and the tip is bent towards the water. That’s crazy! I guess I have it hung up on one of the cypress knees. As I lift the pole, I feel the tugging and realize, there’s a fish on here!!!  Incredibly, I reeled in the largest crappie of the day as he had obviously seen my loose line and jig and decided it would be a good meal. Now that’s pretty lucky when they are practically jumping in the boat as you are jumping out. Ha!

But here’s the kicker, my friends — while it was a moment of unexpected luck, it’s not entirely a wild fluke. In my four decades of fishing, what I thought was serendipity was actually the universe tipping its hat to my relentless dedication. You see, it’s my countless hours of wading, being meticulous with lure colors, and mastering the hotspots that painted my luck that day.

This fishy fable isn’t just about the one that didn’t get away — it’s a metaphor for life and work. We often envy others, mistaking their success for sheer luck. Yet, behind every “lucky break” is a saga of hard work, persistence, and preparation. It’s about setting the bait right, choosing your spots, and sometimes, just sometimes, throwing your line out in faith.

Remember, the biggest catches, whether in fishing or life, come from the prep work we do out of sight, laying the groundwork for when opportunity strikes. And just like in fishing, in our careers and personal endeavors, being prepared means when luck swims by, we’re ready to hook it big time.

Back to the water and the home front:

Text message from me to my angel CeCe at 530 p.m.: I’m going to be late tonight, fish just started biting and I’m staying late.

CeCe (replying with the patience of a saint): What’s new?! HAHA! Just be careful. See you when you get home.

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