Saturday, June 20, 2009

Everything fell into place for fly fishing

There are moments in sports that athletes remember the rest of their lives, almost like their first kiss and the first time they fell in love. Years from the time of the event, the details stay crystallized in perfect memory. I remember playing baseball in the third grade with a team that went undefeated with an error-free third baseman, me, getting hits to right field at every at-bat, but the detail that really stands out is when I broke my 8-year-old throwing arm at the city park while vaulting over a rail in front of the swings. Ouch. Our team lost the next day.
Among the other special sports moments in my memory : hitting the sweet spot driving a golf ball straight down the middle of a Halifax County, Va., fairway; crushing a winning backhand down the line to win the set at Hilton Head Island; feeling the "runner’s high" after completing a 5K race for charity in South Carolina.
It is a feeling all athletes have at one time or another. You get to feel like you are "in the zone" and nothing can go wrong. Life is good. Duane Allman called it "hitting the note" when the band members all played perfectly in sync.
All is right in the universe.
Fishermen have such moments, too.
We even remember big fish that broke off years ago. Last weekend was full of such moments, times when it all fell into place with the weather, the water levels, the insect hatches, the feeding trout.
I nailed ’em one after another in one stretch, and it was almost too easy. I also nailed the tough trout, casting different flies to the same rising rainbow under the bridge and the brown trout near the fire station pool. I had spotted the brown trout out of the corner of my eye as he came up out of the water to flash his golden flanks. I knew it was the same one that I had broken off the weekend before.
I got that brown on the first cast.
Later, I kept three of the rainbows, which were obviously stocked trout, and cooked them over a stick fire next to a well-shaded Courthouse Creek. Charred on the outside, they were wonderful with a little salt. I ate them like ears of corn, holding the head with one hand and the tail with the other, and then washing my hands in the creek when I pulled out the cold bottle of beer.
Few restaurants can top that.
You might say the entire weekend was like hitting the sweet spot.
Another perfect memory to file away.

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