Reasoning with the river

Spent the night at my Aunt and Uncle’s place on the Sandy. It was a beautiful night, surprisingly warm in the tent, the sound of the river rushing past was soothing. Augie woke me up a bit early, and I joined my Uncle Corbett on a drive up to The Reel Tackle, a nice local tackle shop for some lures. Good thing, because I would soon be going through them quickly.

See, I’m not really the quintessential fisherman. I mean I’m not any good at it. I was feeling pretty good after my last visit despite the mishaps (two lost lures and a busted pole), as I’d been getting a feel for the river, and gaining confidence (coordination) in my knot-tying ability. And I pretty much cast all day with the aforementioned mishaps occuring pretty well-dispersed. Despite my only catch being a shoe, I was feeling pretty good.

Not so Sunday. UC gave me a shiny new fin chaser kit for an early birthday gift, and I was pretty darn excited to use it. Cast #1 went pretty well. The lure flew and I reeled it in. Just like fishing. But on my second cast something went awry. The lure sailed about 12 feet before about 30 yards of line miraculously leapt from the reel spontaneously and formed a tangle that would unsettle a third grade girl. A total mess. Scorched earth. I spent some time (foreshadowing how I would spend the majority of my day) attempting to tease the myriad knots out, but there was no angle. Snip. Snip. I didn’t lose the lure though.

I prepped another, made about four more casts, and lost the lure on a pretty minor snag. Like nothing. I’m sure that was a bad knot on my part. By this point I’d been fishing for a couple hours and had thrown my line maybe six times. I was beginning to remember why I don’t fish. But I got another lure strung to a leader and got back on the water. Cast. Snag. I tried to work the usual magic. Let some line out, whip it around, walk the shore up and down. To no avail. The lure was lost. At this point I was done. Totally freakin done.

I went inside and tied another lure, prepping for next year in case I decided to fish again. I watched some football and drank a beer. Looked up some knots on the internet and tried a more literal interpretation of the improved clinch knot. Got the lure tied on. Finished the beer (same one). Watched some football. Okay, let’s do this thing. The knots are tied. One more go.

I was feeling weird. Good, confident, but totally deflated at the same time. I’ve persevered. Three days now, countless Blue Foxes sacrificed to the kind deities beneath the surface of the Sandy. One cast. Felt good. I suspect a fish beneath the surface as I reel it in. So I cast above it. Well-placed. Snag. I dropped a few F’s and S’s and wtf’s and some other phrases I wouldn’t sully the internet with. Snagged pretty good. Up, down, right, left, release. Wow! I got it free. Breathe. Relax.

At this point, I had a few words with the river. I believe we came to an understanding. I thanked the river for letting me come out and earn a reason to swear. I asked the river, “Why is it that yo are doing this to me? I’ve been kind, and hope to continue to be kind to you. Have I angered you, I apologise for what actions I may have taken to upset you. I don’t even need to catch a fish, just allow me to keep flinging this piece of metal into your beautiful flow a few more times without taking it.” Or something like that. I think I mentioned that I hadn’t been urinating into it as well.

Cast some more. A few more minor snags. I notice the lure is scratched and bent from the abuse I am levelling on it. But I don’t let that phase me. I bend the barbs back in a manly way, to allow the spinning action to flourish. And I cast and I cast.

And the river gave me a salmon. And I said thanks and I ate it.

From Salmon catch!

It was probably like 3 feet and 40lbs…maybe more. But who’s counting?

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  • sherryhalley

    Ricky,

    You were born with this kind of determination. While reading your story, I was reminded of the time you sat on the floor of your bedroom for two hours until you had completed a two-sided puzzle with the Americas on one side and the world on the other. I didn't hear a peep out of you until you had finished. You were four years old.

    Very nice, and as usual, well written story and fun to read. You need to write a book!

    Love,
    mom