Fishing is what we do when seeking solace from an unfriendly and noisy world. It is a contemplative man’s sport and, hence, we savor our silence while on the water. The soft bouncy song of a trout stream is as soothing as momma’s lullaby.
And that’s all we need.One of my favorite spots, one of my go-to when I absolutely “must catch a trout before dark spots,” is near the fire station one mile from our cabin. I sneak down there almost every weekend for at least a couple of casts. I sometimes catch fish too.
Last week I became frustrated fishing the tiny creeks upstream. Nothing was happening. Trout were not feeding. Mayflies and stoneflies showed up sporadically but were few and far between. Mosquitoes nibbled at my exposed legs. I decided to move on to the fire station hole.
I was doing pretty well fishing with a light cahill, which was close enough to the prevalent hatch of the moment. Trout were busting water to get at ‘em. I was hauling in fish, flicking them off and casting for another.
All was right with the world.I was at one with my karma.Then, I heard some sticks breaking and bushes being brushed. When I turned around, there was this short, stubby fellow stumbling down the bank. I was under the bridge, in mid-cast, trying to catch another feisty rainbow.
He had a round face rimmed with a scraggly dark beard. At the other end were well-worn boots just below faded baggy jeans. I guess him to be about 45 going on 50. He has at least one grandson, who fishes for trout.
Buddy turned out to be one of my neighbors. That’s OK. I like my neighbors, though I have met precious few of the breed in the past six years.
Buddy, it turned out, likes to talk. He’s not much for contemplation.
He notices my car every time I fish at the bridge. He also told me he saw another neighbor’s teenaged boy toss a stick at me the previous week while I was fishing the same spot.
That was no stick, I corrected him.
Yeah it was, I saw him throw it at you, said Buddy.
It was a snake, Buddy.
The snake spooked a rising trout I was trying to catch, and I reeled in after that dead snake went ka-plunk into the water.
Tell him not to do that any more, I requested.
My new talking buddy could not stop. Would not. Did not see any reason to stop.I learned that the Willie Nelson music sifting softly (OK, not so softly) through the trees was not a CD or a radio … it was Buddy’s Daddy on the karaoke. Daddy was not bad, either; fooled me.
Buddy says Daddy performs all over, even as far as Seattle.The fish continued to rise all around. Buddy kept apologizing for the neighbor kid tossing a stick at me.
It was a snake, I said again.
Now, Buddy decided to talk about great-granddaddy, the one who bought all the land halfway up the mountain from the Cherokee back in the early 1900s.Those fish kept rising.
Buddy also told me about fishing for a huge brown trout under that same bridge years ago. His Daddy came out to see his son try to catch the fish, then left. When Daddy returned, he took careful aim with his deer rifle and blasted that brown trout … all 27 inches of him … right in the head.
The report from the gun, especially for the son fishing under the bridge, had to have been awesome. Perhaps that’s where Buddy got his disdain for contemplative fishing.
My trout did not stop rising.
Where’s all my peace and quiet? I need some contemplation, Buddy.
Now, Buddy proceeded to give me some more family history, with Willie (Daddy) wailing in the background from across the road.
He said he just put several hundred dollars worth of trout in his little stretch of the river – the portion with the No Tresspassing signs freshly nailed to the trees.
He even put some of those golden trout in for his momma. Buddy doesn’t care much for ‘em.Splash … another big fish rose.
Buddy was friendly enough, but was beginning to get on my nerves since he neither offered me a cold beer or invited me to dinner.
Buddy just made a lot of noise. He’s not exactly Mr. Rogers.
And that was not what I came for.