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Bobby Bass

A Little Steelhead Fishing-story

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Time for a steelhead trip so a after a quick stop for sandwiches and hot coffee we made it to the river and found a parking space not to far from the water's edge. Still snow on the ground and the ice storm had left a lot of small branches broken and laying on the ground. Had to be careful walking with the waders on as you did not want to send a branch through. Thinking a head I had already brought along a tire patch kit and had it in my back pack. Trouble is the pack was back at the cabin sitting right on the counter were I left it. So I was extra careful on my trip to the water's edge. Already the shore was lined with other fishermen. Dressed in various states of cold weather head gear and vests of questionable age they were spread out along both sides of the shoreline. I slipped into the water alongside Chuck and watched as Elmer made his way down to a small rock that he considers his lucky spot. He once caught a fish off it and now it is his first place to make a drift. The sun was climbing higher in the sky and it was a Kodak picture scene laid out in front of us.

Cold water with an occasional chuck of ice flowed past us. Small boils where water bulged over submerged round rocks. Snow covered shore lines disturbed with the fresh tracks from fishermen walking along the river. Clean areas going into the water like otter trails where fishermen had either on purpose or by accident had entered the water. From time to time the sharp call of a fishermen announcing gleefully that there was "A Fish On" Lines retrieved and a path created for a rod held high and the arc of line out into the deep water as the fish took the angler downstream. After the fisherman passes the lines return into the current and the drift of colored yarn or a bag continues. Minutes later a fishermen returning to his place, A smile spoke of success and muttering under the breath spoke of a lost battle.

Settling into the rhythm of the river I make a toss up river and with pointed rod tip follow the line as it goes beneath the surface. Feeling for a tap or a bump that is out of place from the countless taps and bumps before it. I was surprised to lift my tip and find weight on my line, I think the fish on the other end was as surprised! Lifting rod up high I searched for the proper words and then Elmer at my side shouted out "Fish On" Looking around it took me a moment to see that others were looking at me. Mumbling something about a fish being on I followed the fish as it took me down the bank. Fishermen parted as I made my way, stumbling and rumbling down the shoreline. The Martin reel in my palm singing that happy sound of drag being worked and the tell tale zipping of line through ice covered guides. In a few minutes I was at the edge of the pool where the water went slack. Gaining with each turn of the handle I was making up line that I had lost. The rod throbbed in my hands through my gloves and my fingers were no longer cold. To my feet the fish came and turning on its side it waited for me to pluck it from the water.

So I did. A thing of beauty in my hands. I removed the hook with my thumb and finger and held her firmly in my hands. Elmer made a comment of a nice one their son and I turn her over to look at her. Just a tad over twenty-six inches she was released back into the river and with a quick flick of her tail she was gone from view. I made my way up the bank and walked along the trail back to where Chuck was still drifting, looking for his first fish. Pressure off now I had won the buck we always bet for first fish. Back in the water I went and for a while there every bump was treated like it was a fish and I raise my tip expecting to be reward with some weight. After a while the sound of chattering teeth got to be annoying and I was going to say something to Chuck when I realized it was my teeth doing the chattering. I turn to tell Elmer maybe we should call it a day and he was not at my side. Instead he was sitting on a stump, drinking steaming coffee and just finishing up one of Amy's loose meat sandwiches. I made my way back up the bank and took the offer of coffee. Standing looking at the flowing water I watched as an eagle and then another riding the wind soared above river. High riding and gliding they to I think were doing some spring fishing.

I looked back down to watch the river and saw the bend of a rod and a fishermen working his way down the bank. Another fishermen had taken my spot but I had gotten a fish so I was OK with that. We decide to call it a day and the three of us made our way back to the truck. Not walking as quick as we did when we came, might have something to do with standing in the river or maybe because we were a little older then when we came. Waders to the back and rods and vests to the side we climbed in the Dodge and adjusted the heat vents. Ride back was side tracked by a stop at a small tavern. There was a fire in the fireplace and a little warm brandy was just the ticket to finish off the trip. There would of course be tomorrow to do it again. From Lake Iwanttobethere

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