Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A river runs through it...

When I was a very little girl my Grandad took me fly fishing. He had taught me to cast using a piece of bean cane (I couldn't be trusted with a precious split cane rod) in his garden. I remember trying to be interested but waving a stick backwards and forwards while he counted metronome-style proved a bit trying for my 5 or 6 year old sensibilities. Days later, we took one rod (I still couldn't be trusted) and headed to the river with family in tow to watch him fish for real. 

He unhurriedly assembled the rod, cast and lo - a trout sprang, almost instantly, out of yonder river. I was impressed. Grandad doesn't hang around, I cried. 

The trout got wily and there weren't any more fish that day. 

And so it was when we went to the Great North Woods of Maine to battle landlocked salmon and brook trout with the great Rick Estes

Up at dawn for pancakes and bacon under the watchful eyes of generations of stuffed bucks. Ungainly fittings for waders (B looked really good, I really didn't). Bumpy drives along foggy tracks, past dewy cobwebs. And then ... 20 minutes in, just as I was beginning to hear my Grandad's counting and recall the mutinous urges of my littler self ... my first fish. A beautiful landlocked salmon caught at Little Boy Falls, a pool in which Eisenhower fished in 1955. 

In the log house that night, an old timer with a lot of whiskers told me, "that was an iconic first fish, young lady". I like everything about that sentence. Grandad, on his big river bank in the sky, just might have done a little smile.

But once that salmon had been caught and popped back, not another fish showed up all day. We just had to make do with the draw-joppingly beautiful world of A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT and Bosebuck Mountain

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