Two days ago I was 24 and I bought my first fly rod but then I woke up this morning and I am 41 and the bag boy at the market called me Sir. I think I just caught that creek chub drifting a nymph through a stocked stream but two days ago I didn’t have a blog or even email so the hookset lives only in my head.
There must be scores of fish likewise undocumented. Or maybe not. Most of them are likely spun several stages down the carbon cycle by now, having met their fate via age, other fish or other anglers on the way.
Worse, there are tens of thousands that didn’t and still don’t swim past my fly and therefore didn’t, don’t and never will exist. Except for the fact that I see their faces on Instagram and in black and white photos, hanging from stringers.
The waters are confirmed. They are named and charted and photographed by satellite for inspection on Google Earth. The only way to prove they are living, though, is to wet a line.
This is a strange cult but we’re not making history here just ritual: Drive cast retrieve release. It’s as ingrained and as automatic as the liturgical responses of a Catholic mass. Maybe when we’re doing it we are grounded in place but existing outside time, which comes back around on us with a vengeance when we stop. It’s a fair trade.
I’m heading back to the place were two weeks ago I rowed over to the bay and caught my first pike on a push-button Zebco with a Heddon Midget River Runt. Try to tell me it’s not the most electric fish that’s ever been caught and if you call me Sir again I’m going to run you over in the parking lot.