Sunday Morning

I wrote last May about taking up fly fishing (Basho and Brown Trout). After some comical attempts, I did catch my first trout this past summer in a little mountain lake in Colorado. Caught him on a Copper John 14. I held him in my hand for a moment or two and then watched him swim away. It was the highlight of my year. That is until yesterday. I have this ancient bamboo fly rod that belonged to my late uncle. He was more a bait fisherman, but for some reason he had this rod. I don't think he ever used it. My aunt gave it to my brother who eventually gave it to me. I cleaned it up and bought a new reel and some fly-line for it.

I brought it along this past weekend because the family and I were in trout country. My Sunday morning was spent lumbering about, spooking fish, untying wind knots and having no luck whatsoever. I was about to give up but decided to try one last cast to a dark pool lying just beside a run of fast water. They say trout like to lurk beside fast water and dart into the current when something tasty sweeps past. They also say it's harder for them to spot you through a quick-moving current. I hadn't had any luck creeping up on them, so I cast out to that pool. It was about a 20 foot cast and the line rolled out perfectly (that doesn't always happen for me). Two strips of the fly line and wham: I was fighting a spunky little foot-long rainbow. I got him to the bank, netted him and snapped his photo.

It was a perfect moment: cool, sunlit, the trees silently roaring in rust and gold. I held the fish back in the current long enough for him to revive with fresh oxygen rushing past his gills. Then I opened my hand and he swam away with an almost haughty indifference (as if these minor kerfuffles happened to him all the time). I knew there were other trout in the pool, but I was not about to throw another cast yesterday. That fish had preached a sermon: Grace is accepted, not earned.

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