As we walked the dirt road in the rain, felt soles beneath wading boots hushed our steps. We remarked about all the worms lying about on the road, joking about all the flies fly fisherman tried to force feed to trout. Someone said it and we all laughed. “Trout like worms. They like worms you know.” I laughed and we carried on comically about it, but I was thinking of something else in my mind.
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...
I stood at the Jeep, a fly box on the hood opened up displaying my tools to the fishing gods while I struggled to tie on a size 16 scud. A red squirrel sat on a rotten limb leaning against the base of a tree, watching me with indifference as it rolled something over and over in its paws, gnawing away feverishly and filling its cheeks. If the truth was told, we were probably both in the same frame of mind. Better get this done now while we still can. A forty-five degree day in December is nothing to take for granted. I rig up a fly rod. The squirrels search out and store away more food. We all have our priorities.
The same thing played out over and over for the next half hour or so. A good cast, a good drift, a rise and inspection, and a refusal by a dumb nine inch stocked brown trout. I looked closely at the small caddis imitation between my thumb and index finger several times. Each time I thought to myself that it looked real enough to me, that it should look even better to a dumb animal, and that neither one really mattered since it was the only one I had.