Friday, January 30, 2009

At the Bottom of His Hole

Even during a hatch: Pale-Morning Duns, Blue-Winged Olives, Yellow-Tent Caddis, while the river boils to life where the feeding fish slurp down the drowning meal—he stays at the bottom.

Even when the pupae emerge, when they jettison the depths and scurry towards the surface as helpless sacrificial offerings, as wingless torsos—he remains at the bottom.

Even when the juicy morsel, the wriggling worm is skewered onto the hook, when it writhes in slimed esses, plummets to the depths, dangles delectable near the nose of the spotted monster—he is not fooled by the bait at the bottom.

To land such a big old venerable fish, to watch the silvery back breach the skin of water for just one moment before it snapped your line, would require too many things:

A cold winter’s morning, a sun not yet peeking over the mountains, a patient old man who knew how deep the fish would be, and a large cluster of apricoted eggs on the end of a number six hook.