Pulling Out the Savoy Truffle

Reflections on music, literature, politics, and pop culture from retired rock musician, writer, and college professor Jim Booth. Email comments to Jim at jim@jimbooth.org.

Location: Advance, North Carolina, United States

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Trout Fishing in America I

"Is that a real poncho, or a Sears poncho...?"
Frank Zappa

Been really busy lately doing the professor thing. It has its moments, but overall, Dylan was right: "Twenty years of schoolin'/And they put you on the day shift...."

I'm currently reading my pal Bob's novel in manuscript,. It's named House Calls. I'm taking a long time to get through it, but I'm putting a lot of time into feedback. Bob's the kind of guy who appreciates that sort of stuff.

I'm also reading poetry my friend Sam is sending me. He's going through a creative period right now, and I'm doing what I can to offer him sensible, useful feedback. You should read his Lullaby Pit blog if you don't already do.

There's a lot I could write about today - I have some strong words about President Bush and his administration's refusal to accept responsibility for the Iraq debacle, but too many pundits, would be pundits, and blowhards from the left and right are blathering about that already, so let's let it lie.

Let's talk fishing.

I had a really good day fly fishing on a trout stream in NW North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those days where everything comes together.

One of the reasons I like fly fishing is because it's metaphorical. It's philosophical. It's artistic. It encourages thinking without requiring it. Not much in life does all that satisfactorily.

When a trout takes your fly, it's the beginning of a relationship. As the guy said, there's a line with a life at either end.

I'd driven two hours to get there from my home in the suburbs of an NC city. The stream was fairly crowded, but I knew it well and decided to fish "in between" water - on stretches of water that most anglers would ignore because they seem less promising (and less obvious) than many others along that creek.

I put on the waders, strung up the rod and made a couple of casts to get the kinks out.

On the third I hooked a nice Brookie, about ten inches long. A few more casts, a few more trout, a mix of Rainbows, Brooks, and Browns, ranging in size from 5-15 inches. All from a section of the stream that 90% of the folks fishing would pass by because it's a little inconvenient to approach, a little difficult to cast along.

I caught 8 along that little appreciated stretch of the creek in all.

I moved up stream to another spot I know about. Again, this was a stretch of water a little inconvenient to get to with fishing a little harder than average.

I caught 9 more, this time with a couple of Browns well over 15 inches mixed into a lot of Brookies and Rainbows ranging from 7-11 inches.

Of course, I released all the trout I caught unharmed. You should, too.

I thought about fishing some more but the fishing I'd done had been a bit difficult and I was kind of tired and very satisfied, so I quit, packed up the gear and made my way back down the mountain.

All this in less than 3 hours. From two stretches of a stream most anglers would go right by.

There's a lesson here about the way we should live, I think.

It's like knowing the difference between a real poncho and a Sears poncho.



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