Monday, May 11, 2009

All the Difference

You've made the two hour drive to the river, selected one of half a dozen ridiculously expensive rods, strung it up with a similarly expensive line, pulled on your breathable (breathable because they leak) waders, fought to wedge your foot into a pair of shrunken boots, and selected a fly to match the spinners in the air. Now you're left with a question. Which way to go? Left or right? East or west? Upstream or down?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.

Upstream is the safe bet. You know fish will be rising on the bend come dusk. Some of those fish top twenty inches, and they are gloriously and exceedingly stupid. You know this because you've caught some of them, and you're hardly a genius. Yup. Upstream is the safe bet.

Downstream is something of an enigma. You've heard there's big fish down there, enormous fish in fact. Mike lost a real bruiser on an eight-inch streamer five years ago. That sucker supposedly spooled his CFO, and snapped 12 pound Maxima like it was thread. What's-his-name took a 27 inch, kype-jawed male about eight years back. There's said to be a picture somewhere. You've heard the stories, and the water downstream looks just fishy enough for those stories to be true. Your luck, however, has never been worthy of a story.

Such was my dilemma this past Saturday. True to her magnanimous nature, Boss Lady granted me a pass to fish so I made the one hour drive to one of my favorite haunts. In short order I donned all my gear, and stood on the edge of a freshly plowed farmer's field wondering which way to go. Upstream or down? The certainty of big fish upstream or the fleeting hope of legendary fish on the downside? A thunderhead was threatening to crest the mountain and fill the valley. I had an hour, maybe two. Upstream or down? Upstream or down?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by.

Yes, I went downstream, but sadly I didn't catch any of those fish of legend. I did, however, hook and play one for ten or twenty seconds. He (and I say he because I saw his kype and it made me envious in the Freudian sense) would likely have measured an honest twenty-eight to thirty inches, and maybe nine or ten pounds. He was the largest stream-bred brown trout I've seen in years. It was the fish of a lifetime, and I lost him when he breached and bent the hook straight. My hands shook for 30 minutes. I swear he smiled, winked and blew me a kiss before we parted company.

My only solace is that I now know where he lives. I know the drift. I know the fly. Colossus and I are going to revisit our tango. Such is the birth of obsession.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that fish added extra miles before you sleep...