Do you become part of the landscape or does the landscape become part of you?
|Big Brown Trout
Rex Hamilton 2/23/2010
Do you become part of the landscape when you live next to the mountains and slip away in the truck whenever you want, or does the landscape become part of you? I don’t think it matters, what matters is nothing matters at all, when the fresh air is pristine, and there are many new shades of colors starting with newly discovered greens, the landscape slowly becomes alive right after you leave the city.
Camping gear, warm “camo” clothes, cans of beans, beer and fishing rods all ride along towards a destination. I notice the traffic changing as my son Brent drives; I goggle out the window taking smeared pictures of the foothills, trying to catch the perfect shot. We head to the anticipated camping location, up and over the sweeping black ribbon of road, first six then four and finally two lanes, the gravel road growls only a minute as we find the dirt road campsite. Here at last, this is the place, wow look at this, my heart is pounding with excitement; it’s going to be dusk soon and setting up camp needs to be done.
Brent quickly begins to assemble the olive green world war two vintage wall tent and cots; he has no patients for anything that is getting in the way of wetting his fly and the moving water. I try to help but I am in the way, It’s like being in between my dog and his dinner plate, he does not growl or show his teeth but expects me to get out and stay out of the way, so that's what I do. Brent’s fly fishing passion calls him to the stream; he is breathless after the struggle of pegging the tent, he knows the first big trout won’t wait long.
The tent is up in a flash, the waders laid out on the tailgate, the rods quickly separated and designated; then a quick meaningful apology for his gruffness, we scurry to meet the trout. Once on the bank all hurry disappears, I am reminded of the casting and the line peeling process that brings the fly back for the next cast. Brent explains how to read the water and soon I am left on my own to enjoy fishing and the scenery. The time seems motionless, the trees, boulders, and the fast river water delight my senses.
There is still some time to fish, if I don’t catch one there it is “no loss”, I take pictures and keep casting and peeling, I’m surrounded by the unspoiled wilderness and feeling more at home than being at home. Wishing I could get the hang of this fishing stuff so I could share a story around tonight’s fire. After about an hour we head back to camp and I have only a couple of bites to report, and no fish to brag about.
One last cast out into the quick water and I watch the fly drift downstream towards a deep dark hole under a two ton boulder. I know there are fish here, because I’m among Osprey, and they eye the trout then dive down for their dinner, catching trout seems easy for them.
I feel a strike, not a nibble; it's a real fish... my rod bends down toward the water as a big brown trout gulps the fly and pulls the line trying to get away. I am so excited I really don’t know what to do; all this fishing training consists of trying to hook a big one, not bringing in… the big one.
“Keep the tip of the rod high”, Brent shouts, I feel my heart beating in my throat; I stagger, slipping on the rocks, splashing towards him looking for help. I try to hand him the rod, but he quickly hands it right back, he stoops to grab the fish which is soon free to be caught again. It was a big brown trout, and it gets bigger each time I tell the story, I guess my imagination knows no limit, I now have the fly fishing passion... so don’t get in my way.