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Those were the days ... A fishing tale PDF Print E-mail
Friday, November 01, 2013 8:13 PM

BY PASTOR DAN EATON

 

John Buchan said, “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

It was the hope of catching a large salmon that caused me to wake a couple of hours before daylight on Wednesday morning, Oct. 2. There was no time for morning coffee or breakfast. My fishing buddy, Bob, and I wanted to get to what we perceived as the best spot on the stream before anyone else.

After a quick double check of fishing tackle and accessories needed, followed by putting on chest waders, coat, hat with headlamp and grabbing a cold pop tart to go, we were off.

Several minutes later, we arrived at a place to park the car and were disappointed to find another car had already arrived. I quickly got my fishing gear out of the car. Bob asked me to go ahead and try to get to our favorite spot while he made sure he finished getting the net and his fishing tackle.

With headlamp on, I began to carefully descend the steep bank that led to the trail through the woods toward the stream. Although it was very dark, I found the path and continued the journey up and down the winding trail that had been formed from the steps of so many fishermen over a period of who knows how many years. I wondered if anyone had ever tripped over a root, fell and were injured. Or how many had broken their fishing rod on overhanging branches as they rushed to wet a line.

After several minutes, I arrived at the top of a ridge where I thought I wanted to be and looked in the direction of the water. The headlamp pierced through the darkness enough that I could see the stream and the fallen tree that confirmed I was at the “honey hole.” However, I was disappointed to also see what appeared to be the outline of a man next to the creek. “Excuse me sir. Are you the only person down there?” I asked. “Yeah, I’ve been here since 5 a.m.” I told him that I was going to come down the steep bank where he was standing, but that I, and my fishing buddy who would soon arrive, would fish upstream from him.

While cautiously making the descent, I heard the sound of a salmon splashing as it made its way upstream. With high hopes and heart racing I made it to a flat area of the bank, placed my fishing gear on the ground, sat down on the bank, and slid into the stream. It was still so dark that it was difficult to see where to make a cast without the danger of getting hung up on fallen trees and brush so I decided to wait until Bob arrived.

The dawn was just beginning to break as Bob got there. I couldn’t wait any longer! I started casting my lure toward the spot where I had heard the sound of another fish. The lure had just hit the water when WHAM – fish on! The strength of the salmon as it fought to get away made it obvious that it was a big one. With rod tip high and using as much leverage as I could without breaking the line, I tried to get it out of the current into calmer water. Every time I began to reel the fisher closer to me it would make another run, get back in the current and head downstream toward a tree that had fallen across the water. If it made it under the tree it would probably break off or get away.

After several minutes of battling the fish, and with my right arm aching from the fight, Bob tried to net the salmon. The sight of the net caused the salmon to make another run and the fight continued. I admired the determination of that fish to get away, but I was determined that this was one big one that wasn’t going to. Up and down the stream the salmon went with me carefully wading in whatever direction needed to keep my hope of catching it alive. Finally, I was able to wear the fish down and reeled/pulled it into the net.

If you’ve never fished, I suppose it’s difficult for you to understand the thrill and the great joy that can come from catching a huge fish as well as the bitter disappointment when the big one gets away. The Fisherman’s Prayer is “Lord, help me to catch a fish so large that even I in the telling of it never need to lie”… The definition of a FISH: an animal that grows the fastest between the time it’s caught and the time the fisherman describes it to his friends.

It’s been said, “Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley.” How big was the salmon I caught on that memorable morning? I don’t want to brag, but just ask me to show you the picture because “a picture is worth a thousand words!”

 

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