When I was six, I remember fishing with my uncle in a chilly Colorado River. I was growing impatient because the fish were feasting on my uncle’s bait while they treated mine like the green bean casserole at our family’s holiday dinner table. My uncle, three years younger than my dad, lives with lots of love and is the reason I love to fish. He’s an avid fisherman so when his rod tip dipped he made quick work of the small rainbow trout that must have heard the rave reviews about his’s bait. When he turned to show off his catch, I shot him a glance colder than the autumn water that was home to the hungry fish. He pulled down the bandana warming his scruffy beard and between his red cheeks, flashed a wide smile as he bent down and told me to repeat after him. Then he chanted, “Come fish, come. Come fish, come. Come to the master JD.” Up until now, I didn’t have an understanding or faith in magic or luck, but I nodded and repeated the mantra anyway, all the while thinking the idea that the fish would respond to my calls was absurd. After reciting the chant dozens of times I was certainly no fishing master and I thought my uncle had lost it. He told me again to be patient but an hour in the icy wind chill had exhausted what little patience I had. Then, suddenly, something happened and this time it wasn’t Uncle’s fishing rod that bent. It was mine! I reeled enthusiastically and soon I landed a beautiful rainbow trout; which was one more than I knew what to do with. Uncle offered his help, gently gripped the fish and removed the small hook. He praised me for my patience and said “I told you so” without actually saying anything.
Because of my love for Uncle and his mantra, I believe in the power of superstition. In every fishing experience, shared with him or not, I use the mantra with an astounding success rate and the fisherman’s stories to prove it. About 10 years later in 2009, when I caught my biggest fish to date he was with me. I recited those words in the warm, salty Costa Rican air while navigating the crystal clear waters as the anticipation came over me, but also with a sense of calm and patience. With Uncle's help my patience was rewarded and our superstitious chant composed itself and transformed into an almost raw energy. I eagerly took my seat in the fighting chair as the captain yelled, “Fish on!” With a deep breath I started the incantation before I even started reeling, “Come fish, come. Come fish, come. Come to