One last cast ...

Notes from the North Woods

"Finally, the big brookie was in the net."

"Finally, the big brookie was in the net."

The boys explained he couldn’t be out in the bright sun; nor could he spend much time on his feet. Due to troubles with balance, he couldn’t wade and it would tough to get him in a boat.

After reviewing the list of restrictions, it was evident he had few options short of sitting in a lawn chair along a riverbank.

I knew it would be difficult to cast from a sitting position, even in the best of circumstances. His frail condition would certainly compound the equation, and I knew his mobility would be limited.

Despite my reservations, I understood his boys needed to have one last outing with their Dad. It is a universal impulse, and I wanted to make it happen!

At the time, I stocked rainbow and brook trout in a few small, private ponds near Lake Placid. The fish were generally quite receptive to the fly.

When the boys arrived with their Dad, they walked him slowly down to the ponds, and it was obvious he could not stand.

Fortunately, I had some camp chairs set up along the pond and the flyrods were quickly rigged. The boys took to the ponds, just like the boys they once were.

Sitting in a comfortable chair, their father began to cast an old bamboo, flyrod. In his hands, the old cane rod appeared to be a natural extension of his arm, and the casts were fluid and graceful.

He retrieved line with a slow, careful stripping motion, and in short order, he had the first fish on. We knew immediately it was a rainbow, as it arched out of the water in a powerful leap.

Following several strong runs, and spectacular arching leaps, it finally came to the net. The boy posed with their Dad for photos with the fish, before releasing it, and over the course of the morning, they took several nice fish, including a few that topped four pounds or better.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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