Hunters and fishermen will tell you: It’s not about the kill or the catch.
And those who don’t hunt or fish will never understand.
They ask how anyone could kill something as beautiful as a deer or how anyone can stand on the shore of the sea for hours with a fishing rod in hand. They are not looking at the complete picture.
They can’t see the orange glow of a sunrise on the beach or the brightness of hundreds of stars filling the night sky. They can’t hear the seabirds squeal or the waves crashing on the shore. They can’t smell the salt air or the burgers cooking on the grill. They can’t taste a cold beer after a long day in the sun. They can’t share in the camaraderie of friends and family enjoying a fire, and telling jokes and stories.
Each year for the past several, my two brothers — one older and one younger — have gotten together for a fishing trip. Sure, we like to catch fish. We will be the first ones to admit that.
But on our most recent excursion — a weekend trip to Cape Lookout National Seashore — as well as on others we’ve taken, the fishing became secondary.
With our work schedules, separate lives and different locations, we often don’t get the chance to hang out and be brothers.
Naturally as brothers, we joke each other and talk about who is Mom’s favorite, even though they both realize it’s me. We give each other a hard time, whether it’s about our age, our weight, our favorite sports teams, and of course, our fishing.
After all, we did go to Cape Lookout to catch fish, and we did do a little of that. We used to compete playing football and in other more athletic ventures. Now in our advancing age — we’re in our middle to late 40s — it’s come down to fishing.
Competition is in three categories — first fish, biggest fish and most fish. On this trip to Cape Lookout, my younger brother Rick caught the first fish (he cheated), the biggest fish (he cheated), and the most fish (he cheated again).
He hooked into a bluefish within the first 15 minutes of our arrival. I followed shortly thereafter with a gray trout and then a blue of my own. My older brother Mike then hooked one, and we seemingly thought we were in store for a major run of fish.
But the fishing shut down, and we decided we would ride some of Lookout’s 5-foot, curling waves instead.
That evening, we did a little more fishing, but most of it was spent discussing the pheasant we had seen while driving on Lookout’s sandy shores, eating burgers and other assorted items, drinking a few beers and telling jokes. Basically, being brothers.
That night, the mosquitoes and gnats in our Cape Lookout cabin were a bit more than I could take. I woke up early after about four hours of sleep, grabbed my beach chair and walked about 30 yards down to the shore. I watched as the sun poked its head over the horizon and then decided the time was right to appear in full.
Cape Lookout came alive with various birds flying through the air on soft, cool breezes that caused the sea grass to sway.
We had another day of fishing in store for us, but honestly at that point in time, I could care less about fishing. I had the opportunity to share quality time with my brothers in a beautiful setting that we are so lucky to be near.
It took just 45 minutes to get to Davis to catch the ferry over to Lookout. We spent more than $200 on the ferry and for the overnight stay at the cabin. We spent more money on supplies for the trip and gasoline for the four-wheel drive truck, a must if you’re going to drive on the island.
The three of us caught 10 fish over two days. Some might say we had made a lousy investment.
And they would be wrong.
They didn’t see the orange glow of a sunrise on the beach or the brightness of hundreds of stars filling the night sky. They didn’t hear the seabirds squeal or the waves crashing on the shore. They didn’t smell the salt air or the burgers cooking on the grill. They didn’t taste a cold beer after a long day in the sun. They didn’t share in the camaraderie of friends and family enjoying a fire, and telling jokes and stories.
They don’t understand it’s not about the kill or the catch. It’s about so much more than that. It’s about three guys who grew up together creating one more memory to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.