This is a picture of the last peacock bass I caught last year.
I’d been shut out at Donuts, Fitness, and the Church Yard and I pulled into the lot behind the drug store. I’d hooked and lost the biggest largemouth bass of my life in the canal there the year prior.
The canal runs along the westbound side of a divided road. A construction crew, adding a third lane to accommodate congestion, stood on the opposite bank around a front loader. They all turned and stared at me when I cut through the the bushes and made my way along the sloped bank.
The canal cuts underneath a berm built for road access to the frontside of the strip mall that houses the drug store. The water funnels through a large concrete pipe. Being a lefty, I turned my back to the pipe and dropped a back cast towards its opening. When the fly landed, I gave a quick strip and the peacock hit with a loud and menacing splash.
The peacock jumped and the construction crew started to whoop and holler. The guy driving the loader jumped out of his seat and ran down to the bank. “What kind of fly is that?” he shouted at me across the canal. I didn’t even know its proper name.
“A little Puglisi fiber ditch thing,” I shouted back.
“They get bigger than that,” he shouted as I held up the fish. “They get real big.” He still raised two thumbs-up over his head.
I released the fish and they stood around watching me, waiting for me to cast again. Most of the time I walk these ditches by myself, with no accounting for anything unless I snap a picture and blog about it. Catching a fish is not even necessarily any real achievement if you think about it, but if you don’t, there’s no shame in the satisfaction should you walk away thinking, Damn it feels good to be a gangster.