She says: He says

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Published on: Sep. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 27, 2010

the current drowning out all the rest of the world and, wherever you look, you see flowers or vines or tree-lined bluffs.

Folks in big cities would pay a bundle for the kind of tonic a river provides, but they can't buy it, thank Whomever for that.

As it turned out, though, we couldn't quite take advantage of the river's restorative until we addressed a few of what she called "issues."

I'd always considered worms as bait -- good bait -- but just as a hellgrammite grows into a dobson fly, our nightcrawlers shucked their skins to become our first issue.

Give her points for not puking at threading a hook through a worm, but trim her score for grossing out when I pinched the nightcrawler in half with my thumbnail.

You can't buy half crawlers and you'll hardly hook a trout if you put a whole one on the hook and just what the heck are thumbnails for anyway? What did she expect me to use, pruning shears? I finally offered her my plastic worm box so she could slice the crawlers in half with the lid. I suppose she thought that was more humane.

And get this: Everyone knows polarized sunglasses cut the glare from the water and let you see deep water, rocks, logs and, sometimes, fish. So, they're a pretty good thing to have while trout fishing. I mean it's either that or watch shiny water all day.

She chose shiny water. Seems my old sunglasses didn't flatter her enough -- as if a trout cares what she looks like.

After we'd spent a few hours in the current, things were placid again. The river has a way of making that happen. We worked downstream, mostly wading and using the canoe as a camel to carry sandwiches, gear and a cooler.

Fishing was good all day. I was nabbing them right and left and I saw that she caught a couple, too. Mostly though, I maintained some distance downstream of her. That was for her safety. I figured if she fell and came floating by, I likely would notice her and could pull her from the water before she drowned.

Several times during the day, I heard a faint whining sound over the gurgling water, but I told myself it was katydids and just kept fishing.

One time, though, there was no ignoring her. Seems she had a bit of a snarl in the reel and she threw a tantrum, right there on the gravel bar.

Words I'd never repeat spit over the water like spray from a canoe paddle. I had to do something, so I stayed away, figuring it would be better to just let the eruption happen, then come back and build on the lava, after it'd cooled.

It took a while, but after about a half hour, the tangled line was bunched into the bottom of the canoe, and she was oohing and aahing over a brown trout, which she thought was a stupid name, preferring "splendiferous trout" or something like that.

In the end, I guess it wasn't a bad day. Her waders leaked, but whose doesn't? She says she fell in the water, but all I've got is hearsay evidence for that. And she kept complaining that she couldn't get the fish smell off her hands.

But we did catch some nice trout.

I was surprised to learn that she'd landed 14 fish, which proves, I think, that trout fishing isn't hard. Except for a few basic fishing skills, she learned everything by herself through trial and error. You don't have to study for trout fishing; you don't need a tutor; and there is no final exam. It's just a matter of going out and enjoying it.

What I did try to impart to her was the spirit, the flavor and the culture of trout fishing, although she won't admit I taught her anything.

That's understandable, but as she fishes some more she will in time come to see the wisdom of both sunglasses and pinching worms. I guarantee it.

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