At the lake’s shore where we always set up camp, I was standing on the rear tire loosening the ratchet straps to take the canoe off, and Jake was reeling in the first fish of the day. We’d been out of the car for three minutes at most. I remembered doing the exact same thing as a kid when I’d come here with my grandfather.
Fishing is just fishing. That’s how I look at it. It’s the greatest thing in the world that you can do, but it’s still just fishing. If you try to make it more than that then you lose something in its simplicity as far as I’m concerned, trying to make it more than what it is. Which is me, a fly rod, a line with a hook, and hopefully a smart fish having a bad day or a stupid fish in the right place at the right time.
Now I know I’m a fisherman. I’m very aware that the word of a fisherman is to be taken lightly, or to be taken with a grain of salt, or to be completely disregarded in some instances, say, when hands are held out and the statement “It was this big” is uttered. But...
The creek out back. That’s how I refer to it most of the time. It’s got a name like most creeks, but to me it’s the creek out back. Why? Because that’s where it is. The name isn’t important on most days. Less and less becomes important to me all the time the older I get it seems. And what I hold onto as actually important likewise becomes more important the older I get. The creek is important. Its name, not so much as its location. Out back.
I had a 1955 Chevy hot rod once, with a hula pig on the dash. You know, just like the old hula dancers they used to stick on the dash in the ‘60s, except mine was a pig in a grass skirt. It just fit the car better. The streamers fit the Jeep and in the bigger scheme of things just as well today as that pig did twenty years ago. The pig was just there, goading me into another hard launch at a stop light to see if I could make it kiss it’s toes, while the streamers are there now tempting me to stop at the barge canal as I drive over the bridge above it, the rain hammering the surface like a million drum sticks trying to beat out a rhythm that ends up just being white noise.