Sharp Hooks . . . and Tough-Mouthed Catfish

Arizona sunrise near Tucson July 2011

I’m just returning from a speaking engagement in southern Arizona.  It was simply great being with pastors and wives of Catalina Baptist Association.

Today’s quote:  “The shortest distance between truth and a human heart is a story.”   -Anthony deMello

Sharp hooks and tough-mouthed catfish…

I never knew Reas Weeks . . . but I’ll always remember the following story about this Dry Creek bachelor who lived along Bundick Creek near the deep hole that still bears his name.  Reas (pronounced “Reese”) never owned a vehicle and supported himself by fishing, hunting, and gardening.

Reas Weeks was a master creek fisherman.  His neighbor, Jay Miller, related as to how he was always amazed at the large catfish Reas hooked in Bundick Creek.  Mr. Jay, an excellent fisherman himself, marveled at why Reas could snag the big ones but he never did.

Mr. Jay finally asked Reas, “Why can you catch the big ones but I can’t?  We set lines in the same holes and use the same bait.”

Reas Weeks smiled and said, “Jay come with me to the barn.”  At the barn Reas got out a large bucket that had his hooks and lines carefully wrapped around it.  He took a whet rock out of his overalls and began sharpening a hook.  Then he stated, “Jay, if you’re gonna catch the big ones, you’ve got to keep your hooks sharp.  Those big catfish have tough mouths.  A dull hook won’t set but a sharp one will.”


I smile as I think of this story.  Then I always recall the spiritual message of this story.  Jesus has called us to be “fishers of men.”  If we are going to effectively reach others for Him, our hook had better be sharp.  In my life I’ve found that this is only done by spending time with Jesus.  As we study His word, the Bible, and fellowship with God in prayer, our lives will always be sharpened for His use.

I never knew Reas Weeks . . . He lived before my time in Dry Creek.  But all of my life he’ll remind me to keep my “hooks sharp.”

Another Reas Weeks snippet:   Mr. Frank Miller always told the story of once when Reas and another man became lost in Bundick swamp hunting.  They spent the night in the woods- cold, hungry, and miserable.  The next morning at daylight they finally stumbled up on Reas’ shack.  But Reas was confused, and still addled from being lost in the woods all night.  It seemed they had approached the cabin from the opposite side he thought they were on. He exclaimed, “I know that’s my cabin, but the chimneys on the wrong end.”

A final tale:   My dad told a childhood story of his school bus picking Reas up along the road.  When Reas boarded the bus he laid a 40-pound catfish on the bench by my dad.  Reas was going to the community store to sell this fish.

Follow border fence to right of Border Patrol vehicle's rear view mirror. Nogales, Arizona

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