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...
Back at the camp site I started a little fire at the back of the Jeep, but I wasn’t really sure why. A granola bar for dinner didn’t actually require a fire, and while I did have a folding camp stool, the black flies were so bad that I didn’t see myself sitting out for more than a few minutes before going insane. I guess I was lighting a fire because that’s just what you do when you’re camping. It’s an expected routine thing. You’ve always done it, so whether you need one or not it just seems the thing to do. It passes time anyhow.
The stream’s last defense was the thick alders that lined it, so thick that I doubt thorn bushes could have done much better at all to keep us out. The Lost Boys had told me no waders, you’ll destroy them in there in two minutes. I left my waders behind but questioned it of course, but now I could see, I could confirm. Pushing though the undergrowth, I felt a stinging on the back of my left calf, and then the same on my right thigh as alder branches that were intertwined better than the fibers in a rope held me back as I tried to push through. They grabbed fly rods, slashed at faces, pulled hats from heads, but in the end the will of the fly fishermen was more than they could hold back, and we stood at the water’s edge.
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