Lessons From a Tarpon

I recently had the good fortune of being invited to a friend's beautiful vacation home in Boca Grande, Florida. This island is stunningly tropical with beautiful clear aqua water and known for tarpon fishing. It is truly a place to check out and feel like you are a million miles away. I was a guest for two days on a private charter to tarpon fish. I have spent most of my life on and around boats, but have never had this particular fishing experience, even though I attended high school just 45 minutes away from Boca Grande. I had heard from a friend who is an avid fisherman that Tarpons usually don't live after they are caught and released. He said that the strain of the long fight (the fight is why people love sport fishing) damages their heart or it leaves them too weak to get away from their enemies. The first tarpon I hooked brought a huge adrenaline rush, followed by excitement with a tough and long fight to reel him in. For the first time, I tapped into why guys like the "hunt". It's exhilarating, it's a feeling of conquest.

Right before I got him to the boat, a big bull shark bit into him and took him right out of the water. I felt so sad and guilty. I had interfered with the natural circle of life and prematurely ended the life of this beautiful fish by making him easy prey. There were several sharks under the boat during this time, these sharks are getting smart, as they now know to follow the tarpon fishing boats for an easy meal. I wonder if we are actually changing the ecosystem with our love for sport fishing. How do we justify sport fishing and killing another living creature, when it's not for food, but for only our pleasure and entertainment? Don't get me wrong, I get it. I bought into it myself for a short time in my own adventure fighting and reeling in two tarpon. But, isn't it time to start out-thinking our outdated DNA and primal desire to hunt, if it is not done to provide food and with respect?

This whole experience also led me to the giant realization that most men are pretty simple and women try and make men more complicated than they are. When it comes right down to it, men care about sports, sex, and hunting - deer, ducks, fish, and women. In most cases, at least in my experience, it's all about the chase for men when it comes to women. A colleague just told me her story about meeting and being courted from her now live-in boyfriend. Jill said that when she met him, she decided to do exactly the opposite of what she had always done in the past with other prospects. She told me that though they are equals now in the relationship, when dating, she behaved in a way that was counter-intuitive for her. When she wanted to text or call, she didn't. She took a back seat and played a more passive role and let him take the lead. In short, she put her independent strength on the back burner and allowed him to hunt. I have to say this tactic really got me thinking! In my own dating life I have been told many times by men that I am too independent and they didn't feel needed. So, maybe I too will try this tactic the next time I meet someone I am interested in.

The moral of the story, if you really want to be pursued and caught, then make sure you are hard to catch and hope that you're a keeper and not just for sport. I would also like to see a little more conscious growth when it comes to hunting for sport. The true trophy comes when we provide food for ourselves and our families, anything else is just short term ego satisfaction. For now human evolution is still happening a little too slowly, which is exactly why the call for more women to lead is critical to speed things up. More kindness and humanitarianism and not winning for the sake of winning. ;)