Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

April 24, 2015

Cast Netting

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Fishing, hunting, and camping were always a big part of my early life.  There was a hiatus during some of the years as a young adult, but it was strongly renewed when I married into an “old Florida” family.    Judy’s dad was an avid fisherman and hunter.  He was an outdoorsman from the old school.  His methods exhibited a discipline of many years, and  his techniques proved his skills.

My confirmation of these disciplines in his life came when he introduced me to cast netting for mullet.  He was the best ever at frying mullet.  His recipe for mullet and hushpuppies remain in the family.  Even before we married, I always looked forward to mullet dinners at their home.  Of course, the only mullet he would fry would be those he had caught and prepared himself.

Catching the mullet was with a cast net.  At some point, I wanted to learn the art of cast netting.  He was more than willing to become my instructor.  In fact, I believe it helped in his accepting the “preacher” into the family.

My lessons began easy enough.  In the driveway, he demonstrated the art of throwing the cast net.  Kindly, he showed his patience as I began to practice.  I never knew until years later than some people throw a cast net differently from him.  But I, the novice, had no doubt that this was the best and only way to throw a cast net.  The most interesting part was when I had to hold an edge of the net in my teeth, and release the net at the exact moment.  After some practice, he decided we were ready for a trip to the water.

I wondered about this first trip . . . what a good opportunity to save his daughter from me.  But I knew he loved his daughter, and he would not have wanted to return and tell her, “I don’t know what happened, he just went under!”  I believe he did pick the most difficult place for my first experience.

Remember, he was “old school” with his defined methods.  We went after dark.  We did not go to a pier, or out in a boat.  Oh, no, we waded into the intracoastal waterway among mangroves  and debris.  We could not see a thing.  I began to wonder what was swimming around my legs.  But this was my father-in-law, and I must be strong and confident! You soon learn the sound of the mullet and the moving of the water even when you cannot see anything.

As I began to lift the net above the water, I realized this was not the same as the driveway, or being on a pier.  We were in chest-deep water, and I had to hold the net high.  But after a couple of throws, I realized I could do it.  Yet, the weight of the net became a factor.  This was a cotton net, not like the synthetic fibers of today, mainly nylon and monofilament that are much lighter.  A wet cotton net that will spread some ten or twelve feet can become very heavy.  In fact, it can be exhausting.  And you get a fresh taste of salt water everytime you grip part of that net in your mouth!

As we began to catch some mullet, he then gave me more instructions.  “Before emptying the net, grab them one by one and break their necks.”  This would cause the blood-letting that would take away a strong taste when cooked.  Again, this was his discipline and a method that not all practiced.  But I know now that is why his mullet were always better than any others that I might eat!

After this first trip, cast netting became an exciting adventure for me.  But I must confess, I found that I could catch mullet in the  daytime, and in much easier places to wade!

Cast netting has been around for thousands of years.  For those Bible students, recall Matthew 4:18.  Jesus saw Peter and Andrew “casting a net.”  The original language is for a type net that is thrown from over the shoulder.  Lest someone questions that this is the cast net to which I have referred, verse 21 in that chapter records Jesus saw James and John in the boat preparing their nets.  The original language for nets in this verse is to describe a net of any kind.  Probably the reference here is to a drag net from a boat.  My point is simply that cast netting has been an art from early times.

Jesus called these men to leave their nets and become fishermen of men.  That is a task to which every believer is called.  Much like my learning to cast net, we must all be instructed and taught.  Our methods may vary.  Our techniques may differ from each other.  Yet, we must be “fishermen” of men.

There are many opportunities for training and learning.  All methods can strengthen our efforts, but it is not required that you have any formal training through memorization, lectures, demonstrations, and seminars.  If you have had an experience of salvation, all you have to do to be a fisherman is to simply tell your experience and what Christ has done in your life.

Your confidence in sharing your faith should be sufficient when you know that your instructor is Jesus Christ.  He will give you the words and approach if you trust Him to do so.  He promised to be the One that would teach us be a fisherman!

“Jesus said, ‘Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”  (Matthew 4:19)

Lawson

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