Monty Ingram

20 years later

I recall casting off the port of the canoe while my dad paddled us through a swift stretch of the Brazos River during an overnight trip when I was just a kid. My lure, most likely a worn-out hook and a kernel of corn, got snagged on a rock below the surface and quickly and unexpectedly began to tighten the slack on the line. In a panic, I yelled back to my dad “I’m stuck! I’m stuck!” to which he calmly responded, “just let go, son”…….so I did. I let go. Of the entire rod and reel. Over the side of the boat and down to the bottom of the Brazos went my dad’s old Zebco 33. For a split moment in time, I thought he was going to throw me in after it. There was a mixture of confusion and anger across his face as we both watched it quickly sink in silence. Admittingly, the exact moment the rod left my hand, something did not feel right. After what felt like an eternity of collecting his thoughts and choosing his words carefully (and fighting the current upstream multiple times to search), he explained to me that when he said “just let go”, he really meant to let the LINE go and release the tension. It was an honest-childlike mistake, a combination of innocence and ignorance on my part. Around the campfire that evening, we were both able to share a good laugh at the thought of the final resting place of his prized rod and reel, and my direct obedience of letting go. My father and I recently returned to the Brazos River for the first time together in over twenty years – a long overdue trip back to where my passion for the outdoors took flight. Would you believe me if I told you we uncovered an old Zebco 33, broken and rusted, half exposed and lodged into some river rock as we rounded Fortune Bend?