A Big Catch

Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea

A Big Catch

BY PASTOR TONY REA | March 22, 2021

Almost to the day, 41 years ago (probably the first or second week in April of 1980), I experienced the fishing trip of a lifetime. As you well know, fishing stories are almost always exaggerated, but not this time. I am compelled to speak truthfully and not embellish the account one iota because my fishing buddy at the time was Pete Pappas—not only a member of CCC but also one of my blog readers. (He’s probably reading this episode right now.)

Pete and I used to go hunting and fishing together when we were teenagers. We hunted rabbits and pheasants and occasionally went after a few mallards. Every year in the spring, without fail, we would go smelt dipping. Smelt live along the coastline; when the weather warms up and the water temperature begins to rise, smelt come inland to spawn. The smelt run only lasts for a few days, so you had to be both diligent and fortunate enough to catch them.

We heard stories about the unbelievable smelt run so we were determined to get in on the action and catch a bunch of smelt for ourselves. Every year, several times during the early spring, Pete and I would go to the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. We would start dipping for smelt around dusk and stay till midnight. And if you knew Pete back then, he was the great outdoorsman. Pete always dressed in a flannel shirt, drove a pickup truck; and when fishing, he had his Coleman stove, frying pan, flour, salt and pepper ready to go. As soon as we caught a few fish, Pete would fire up the stove and fry them up right there in the truck cargo bed.

But usually after five or six hours in that cold water, we would end up with a half of bucket of smelt—if we were lucky. Then, when we decided to call it quits, Pete would divide the pitiful catch in half. He would pull the smelt out of the bucket one at a time and say, “One for you, and one for me.” Trust me, it was embarrassing. We barely had enough smelt for one good meal between the two of us.

After many disappointing smelt seasons under the Blue Water Bridge, we decided to try our luck at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. At Point Pelee, instead of a hand net, we were allowed to use what's called a seine net. We purchased a very expensive 30-foot net; and I must admit, Point Pelee was extremely impressive. Along the beach line as far as the eye could see, there was an endless string of bright lanterns every few feet. Each lantern represented a group of hopeful fishermen who anticipated (like we did) the big smelt run. Unfortunately, it never came for us. Just like Port Huron, the Canadian side of Lake Erie yielded very few smelt. Year after year, following hours of hard work, frustration, and nothing but a half bucket of fish, we would make the long, torturous drive home, in dead silence.

But then, on one occasion, just after dark, we were at Point Pelee, standing in the water about 20 feet offshore, dragging our expensive, 30-foot net across the water. All of a sudden, I felt something hitting my waders. We completed the sweep and brought the net to land, and both Pete and I could not believe our eyes. The net was loaded with fish—I mean a ton of smelt!

Immediately we both fell to our knees, right there on the beach, and started laughing hysterically. We had heard stories; but, like I mentioned, we had fished unsuccessfully countless times. This time around we hit a massive smelt run. We fished for a couple of hours that night and took home 8 to 10 garbage bags full of smelt. I'm not kidding (ask Pete). We filled the back of the pickup truck with thousands of smelt. We gave smelt away to everyone we knew and still had plenty left over. We ate smelt until it was coming out of our ears, and we ended up freezing enough smelt that lasted an entire year. On that occasion, we encountered our “big catch.”

Can I speak prophetically and say, “There is a big catch on the horizon for you!” That’s right—for you. God’s abundant supply is NOT just for everyone else, He has you in mind as well.

The Bible tell us that God knows what we need, and in our time of lack, “He will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Please see Philippians 4:19.) The Bible also says God can do “exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20)

Please allow me to encourage you, don’t pack it in or fold away your net just yet. Jehovah Jireh is our provider! He is not the God of a few or the God of a little. He’s the Creator God, the Mighty God—the God who is more than enough!

Please allow me to pray this scripture blessing over you:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray favor, abundance, and divine direction over your people. Grant my friends, these special brothers and sisters in Christ, the desire of their heart and make all their plans succeed. May each one experience the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of life and power that only comes from God. I pray Your love would abound more and more in each family—showering Your people with provision, protection, divine health, and favor.

May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.