Friday, May 27, 2011

Just Another Day on the Water

I kicked off the Memorial Day weekend in style today. I decided to go fishing again.
It's been a long time since I've gone fishing twice in a week, but I finished up my writing early and I felt the urge.
The morning was cool, but when the sun came out, the day warmed up nicely. 
I figured that since it was a holiday weekend, there would be a crowd on the water, but when I pulled in, there were only two other cars, one of them with a three young kids. I knew they'd be fishing with worms off the bank.
I picked up my gear and walked a distance to my favorite fishing spot and made my way to the water.
I shot this self portait with my phone but then I left it on the bank. It can be cumbersome taking pictures with the iPhone, and I didn't want to drop it in the river.
I put on my waders and stepped into the icy waters of the Sipsey. I tied on a stone fly (I'm still learning about the names of the flies and other beginner stuff) and started casting away.
The stress of the last few weeks melted away like butter on a hot biscuit.
Soon I found my rhythm and I was lost in the moment. It's like the feeling I have when I do yoga or meditate. I've read that when you do tai chi, you sometimes experience the same sensation.
After a while, I felt a rainbow trout hit my stone fly (I'm learning the names of the flies), and soon I was wrestling with the largest rainbow that I've ever caught in the Sipsey. 
When the battle was over, I pulled him in close, wet my hand and then carefully removed the fly from his upper lip. 
I then held him under the water facing up stream to let him catch his breath. They fight with every once of energy they have and if you are careless, they can die before you release them. 
After about 30 seconds, this guy got his second wind and he shot out of my hand and off to freedom.  I could almost hear him cursing me as he sped off.
A wind came up out of the west and made casting a challenge.  About noon, I'd decided to head home and have lunch with Jilda. 
As I was reeling in my line, I heard a splash on the far bank. I thought at first it was a trout, but I soon saw a wake which told me it was a snake.
He was headed directly toward me. I splashed the water to give him notice, but he didn't turn. I'm not certain it was a cottonmouth moccasin or not, but he behaved like one. They are agressive and very poisonous.  
I kept slashing the water with my rod, but he never turned. When he got within a few feet of me, I hit him with the rod. 
I'm a live and let live kind of guy, but we came to a point in the confrontation where we both fell into some kind primal role. I couldn't be in his space, and he could not be in mine.
I wish there had been another choice, but for me in that moment, I did not see one.
Even though it was a great day on the water, I was sad that it ended that way.


  1. Anonymous9:26 PM

    Wow, I didn't know fishing could be so dangerous. Glad you had a good time, well up until the snake incident :D

    Have a great Holiday Weekend!

  2. I'm not a fishing woman. I'm a sit on the bank and read a book woman. Lenny loves fly fishing and does the catch and release too. I'm not clear if you're saying you killed the snake with your rod. I've never killed a snake but would if I thought I was going to get bitten.

  3. that would be neat to have caught the trout and hold it for a bit before it took off again. However, that snake encounter would have been out of there never to return.

    I have heard fishing is real relaxing, never did much myself (probably because of the potential snake issue)

    glad you were safe

    enjoy the weekend


  4. I have heard before that fly fishing is relaxing. Sorry about the snake. That would have had me jumping around screaming as I got bit.

  5. Enjoy your holiday weekend!!!

    I guess the snake was just doing as it's always done. Glad you are safe anyway!

    Take care

  6. Not meaning to be controversial Rick, but I have never understood the notion of hunting something that you are not going to eat/use. This type of catch and release sport fishing seems the worst kind of cruelty. I understand and respect your desire for the serenity and calm you describe with the rhythm of casting, but as you said, you can experience that in yoga and meditation...
    I just question the energy created when the poor fish has to fight so hard when it's life is such a difficult existence anyway, in the name of recreation.
    Just a different point of view...hope you don't mind me expressing it.

  7. Jacquelene, opposing views are welcome. I think the world would get off balance if everyone gathered on one side or the other.
    But I can think of a lot worse things to do for recreation than catch and release trout fishing.
    I don't have any scientific proof to back this up, but I suspect the trout become stronger and smarter as a result of our encounter.

  8. Just wanted to drop by and tell you that an award is waiting for you and Jilda on my blog :) Have a nice weekend!

  9. My hubby will agree with you..that's the way to start a holiday or any other weekend! Glad you enjoyed it and glad the snake met it's match. Have a fun weekend!

  10. I used to go trout fishing in streams and rivers in CT with my late hubby. I would rather catch a rainbow any day of the week. They give you a good workout and when jump up out of the water they are beautiful. And awful good eating too.


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