I loved to go fishing at Bonita, the Yankeeetown, Florida fishing club my father belonged to. My friend Bill Moore and I would gather our gear, pack a lunch and head to the Gulf for a day of fishing. Sadly, for us it was usually a day of fishing but not catching. However, the “not catching” changed one day under unusual circumstances.
That day Bill and I decided to fish in Bonita Creek rather than heading out to the Gulf. Being 17 years old and not inclined to pay attention to details, we had not checked the tides. We had only been fishing for a short time when we realized the tide was receding and water was getting shallower. Despite our efforts to pole and push the boat to deeper water, we were stranded; literally, up the creek with no water to paddle in. Fortunately, the causeway from the mainland was nearby, so we left the stranded boat and walked to the club.
When the tide began to come back in, after we had spent a couple of hours spent playing gin rummy and fishing off the dock, we trekked back to the creek. When we got to the boat, we realized that the water was still way too low to float the boat; so, on a whim we decided to try casting into a deeper pool of water about 50 yards further up the creek. On my first try, I hooked a bull red fish that bent my rod almost in two and Bill caught one of equal size. There, just a short distance from the boat was the greatest fishing hole ever; but by the time we landed our catch and lugged them to the boat, the tide was in and the pool was gone. We had been so wrapped up in dealing with the stranded boat that we didn’t recognize the opportunity right in front of us.
Many of the great fortunes that have been made in Florida were made during the Great Depression. Then, even with unemployment in some areas exceeding 20% and bank financing not an option, people recognized and reacted to possibilities. Like the chance missed fishing years ago, there are opportunities in the midst of these tough economic times. It’s important to step back from the daily struggle to survive and take time to survey what is happening in your industry and community. Like the fishing hole that disappeared with the incoming tide, there are opportunities that will disappear with the improving economy.
“Opportunities? They are all around us…There is power lying latent everywhere waiting for the observant eye to discover it.” -Orison Swett Marden
“Opportunity has hair in front, behind she is bald; if you seize her by the forelock, you may hold her, but, if suffered to escape, not Jupiter himself can catch her again.” – Latin proverb