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Seduced by a Stream

Notes from the North Woods

Recently, I was seduced by a small stream that continually calls me back to its banks for a final embrace, and just one last cast. There is no doubt the natural siren has my number, and she knows exactly what I need.

When I last visited, she provided me with a beautiful, sleek rainbow trout that was almost translucent in its all-natural, crimson and scarlet garb. Soon after the release, I was again contemplating an escape from the watery vixen, until my efforts were rewarded with another battle-worn veteran of the great piscatorial wars.

Although the old, brown trout was barely a nudge beyond 13 inches, it waged a battle worthy of a specimen far larger than his actual measure.

It possessed the punch of a heavyweight, and as it hunkered down in the swell of a small waterfall, it put up a fight far greater than his size would generally permit.

I battled him back and forth on his own terms, and he used the familiar environment to his advantage again and again. Eventually, after untangling my line from various streamside entanglements, I brought him to the shore.

Being careful not to mare his image in the handling, I gently twisted the hook upside down and shook him free.

Stunned for a moment, he soon swam slowly away before coming to rest in the shade of an overhanging rock ledge, which is when I believe I discerned a sly grin overtaking his wide, hooked chin.

I again attempted to depart the luxurious embrace of my steady and gentle streamside siren. In my mind, I had already shed my waders, and retired my vest to the riverbank.

In reality, my flyline was still on the water, and as my fly was sucked into a small eddy, a strong whirlpool pulled it under the surface.

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

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