This past weekend proved to be as close to perfect as I could hope and that doesn't even take into account the weather although that was an added bonus.
It was near perfect because for the first time in what seemed, and in actuality was, months, I spent time outdoors doing the things I love while at the same time spending a great deal of quality time with the people I love. In short, I found the balance we all seek.
Saturday morning I took our daughter Jane to my parents' house ahead of a family dinner for my brother's birthday. My mom and dad began a two week long camping trip today and I wanted them to have time with Jane before they left. After dropping her off I headed to the rifle range near their house to sight in my rifle for deer season.
That's something I wanted to get done weeks ago, but the opportunity didn't present itself earlier. My first shot ended up being the proper height but so far left as to be almost off the paper. After 45 minutes, four more groupings, and countless turns on the windage dial I put my final three shots within the 9 and 10 ring on the target. I still need to do a bit more fine tuning, but I left the range pleased with the improvement and headed to the family dinner.
Sunday found Stef and I doing chores around the house and spending plenty of time playing with Jane. About mid-afternoon, with the housework done and Jane down for a nap, Stef turned to me and said, "Why don't you go fishing?"
That was all I needed to grab my gear and go. Based on the weather radar it wasn't going to be a long trip but there was enough of a window to get down to the lake for about an hour. Besides, there was one side of the lake I still needed to photograph. With York Water Company drawing Redman down for construction of a new pump house, I've been taking photographs of the lake bed and finding tons of isolated cover that I didn't know existed and getting a better picture of the structure and cover I knew was there.
I hustled to the corner of the lake I had in mind, snapped off a few pictures and a couple casts and bang! I was hooked up. It wasn't the biggest bass I ever caught there, in fact it was so average I didn't even take a picture of the fish. But it did reinforce two things:
1) I have a pretty good idea of where bass should be this time of year.
2) A complete confidence in the spinnerbait I had tied on. Earlier in the month I hooked into a bigger fish (the one pictured above) on the same lure and this solidified it as a fish catcher in my mind.
(Really, when it comes to that spinnerbait ( Strike King Tour Grade ) I have to thank Casey Ashley for the one he gave me last year. I never fished them much and as a result had little confidence in them. But after using the one he gave me to catch a hog last fall, I keep two on hand at all times. By the way, the one Casey gave me now hangs on the wall of my workshop as a reminder of big fish and acts of kindness.)
As the storm rolled in, blotting the sun from the sky, I hustled back to the car and started the drive home. I got home shortly after Jane woke up from her nap and spent the remaining hours of the weekend with my family knowing a balance had been struck, an inner sense of peace we all seek had been found.
*Jeff Herman is the assistant news director at WMAR | ABC2. His main passion while not at work is fishing. This column is part of a series of columns he writes for our outdoors page . You can read more of his columns here . Follow him on Twitter @JeffABC2News and @TightLinesABC2