Why We Catfish: A Guest Editorial by Matthew Miles

We are like the fish we seek

Matthew is shown here with his daughter Sophie. The 70-pound blue was caught on the James River using a BCF rod.

Matthew is shown here with his daughter Sophie. The 70-pound blue was caught on the James River using a BCF rod.

What is it about fishing that draws us in?

Simply put, I think it is a divine activity, ordained by God to give us a glimpse into his purpose for us.  Fishing has a number of parallels that I believe represents God’s intent.

Is it imaginable that we can derive the meaning of life from fishing?

Is it just a coincidence that that when Jesus walked down to the Sea of Galilee he saw two men emptying their nets and he said unto them “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men?”

Shortly after that, he saw two more men on their boat and he called them and they followed him.

Four of Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen!  Have you ever wondered why he chose fishermen to be his disciples?

My eyes were opened to what my heart had always sensed about fishing after I stumbled across a series of sermons by Andy Stanley called “Go Fish.”  His sermons were so powerful that they strengthened my relationship with God and encouraged me to lead a men’s fishing ministry in South Carolina.

 

But what about Catfishing?

Why do we catfish? As alluded to above, we fish to seek out the meaning of life without even knowing it. We voyage onto waters where what lurks beneath is generally unknown.

These waters can easily swallow us up, much like the world can. Yet we devote our lives to searching beyond (and below) what we can see; we search for thrill and peace at the same time.

We seek to conquer major feats as we voyage into the depths of the world, much like we seek to conquer the monster blues, flatheads, and channels in the deep waters.

We build deep and meaningful relationships with other fishermen along the way, sharing a common bond in our endeavors and understanding each other without realizing it.  How amazing this is!

Matthew posed for a Whisker Whackers photo op while he was in Memphis for the Mississippi River Monsters tournament.

Matthew posed for a Whisker Whackers photo op while he was in Memphis for the Mississippi River Monsters tournament.

Catfish, though, are uniquely symbolic of this endeavor.

People often ask me, “Why did you create an apparel brand called ‘Katfish?’” And they also ask, “Why catfishing?”

I love this question, because it gives me the opportunity to explain to them that fishermen are very much like the fish they seek.

“Really,” they ask. “So what does this mean?”

The symbolism is profound. If you look at the qualities of catfishermen and the qualities of these fish we seek, your eyes will be opened! Catfishermen in general represent “Middle America.” We are largely blue-collar hard workers with a grit and toughness about us that provides strength for this great country.

We aren’t generally flashy, we aren’t always pretty, but we are resilient. We can survive, even when the environment is tough. We quietly lurk in the deep of the world, in places most wouldn’t travel. We are often looked down upon as trash, fat, or ugly, but we are the apex predators in our environment.

We span from coast to coast, in rivers, lakes, ponds, and even the salty ocean.  And we are a threat to those who don’t understand us. Some people aren’t comfortable with us in their surroundings so they seek ways to delegitimize us in our endeavors.

Does this sound familiar? Does it sound like the battle we face in taking our place upon the throne of sport fishing in America? Let that settle in for just a few moments.  We are like the fish we seek.

 

Here lies the challenge.

In all of the turmoil surrounding our sport, we need to remember that God’s plan for us is bigger than the earthly endeavor of catching big catfish.

God gave us this activity to find deeper meaning in our lives.  He gave us fishing to build deeper relationships with others.  God gave us fishing to help us understand that sometimes, even with the best tools and tackle, and prime conditions, the catfish just don’t bite.

Sometimes we do things perfectly in life, yet things just don’t work out how we want.  However, we have Faith that we’ll catch that monster next time, and believing without seeing is what gives us peace in the journey across troubled waters.

Friends, God gives us fishing to help us understand that the big, ugly, mean fish hiding under the log, in 60 feet of water, may be the friend or foe that needs to be brought to the light. It needs to be brought to the surface, through our constant efforts and faith that crossing the waters of life and fishing for him or her will one day result in the best trophy of our life.

 

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  Matthew 4:19

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