It’s a small stream, and the water is low. Everywhere parr dart amongst the streamer weed and shoals of fry waft forward and back in the current. Small fish water. A few early grannom buzz along upstream, tempting thoughts of a rise. The odd olive and clouds of gnats drift in the soft breeze. It’s spring and the warm sun and cool air soak deep.
A bigger pool. A bigger tree, half in half out of the water. Creeping up, little casts and slow breaths. A pause which lingers for a gaze into the deepest crease. Then you see him. A brown submarine drifting slowly, slowly up and into the very eye. Three, four, five, the weight matters not for he will not be landed today. The floppy four weight quivering in your right fist feels obsurd.
A shaky cast, too long and into the slack. You draw the line back across the pool tail like the gentlest of pencil strokes on a portrait. Two minutes. He’s gone but where? The branch two yards away winks at you as a better cast zips into the pool and plops the sedge neatly above the eye. The current feels suddenly slower as the fly drifts into the lie. The leader pulls too far left, but then the submarine is back and he’s looking, looking. He rolls over, casual as the sway in the branch and turns down. Tightening and he’s hooked and bolting. The rod buckles and flops like spagetti as you desperately try to control the line. Two seconds, maybe three and the leader pings back, the line cleanly cut by torpedo teeth. Totally numbed by adrenaline you blink slowly and wonder if it was real. The churning knot in your stomach answers all doubts and the feeling that a season might be defined by a moment creeps in.
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