I’d never seen a strike like it.
The turbid water was sluggish all afternoon, and the action slower still. Glide after riffle, run after pocket, pool after hole, each held its silence in turn. Top water? Zip. Dropper rig? Uh-uh. Deep drift? Nada. Strip a bugger? Swing a bugger? Bugger and a worm? Whiff, whiff and (shame on me) whiff. But then, just as I’d decided to take my skunk and go, from the skinny water, it exploded.
“NOOOO it’s NOT go home time!”
I’d not yet deciphered the half seen patterns – down-turned lip, sun glinting from snot stache – but my primal self already knew what my conscious mind couldn’t yet articulate… “Oh man, Big One!” There’d be no horsing this one into the net. I give him the silent treatment, let him work against the drag. He settles quickly into a defiant squat, refusing to spend himself on a futile run. Smart. He must get that from his father. I try some change of direction.
“Hey bud, haven’t we had a nice…”
“NO! Bad Dada!”
Ok, so plenty of fight left than. Play it cool. Hands high, now bring it around nice and easy.
“You being mean!”
The fish have defied me already. I won’t swallow being broken-off by a three year old. Not today. In a bold, dare I say brilliant, maneuver I break form and lower my rod tip.
“Spill it. What do you want?”
“I wanna catch a fish!”