Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Bridge

Many summers ago a young boy and his mother hiked through a pine forest on an old dirt path. They came to a dilapidated old bridge crossing a deep, clear pool on a freestone stream. The boy looked down into the gin clear water and saw fish. Large brook trout, dashing back and forth to eat the insects drifting downstream. He leaned over the stream, and the fish dashed for cover. Years later the boy's father gave him a fly rod and some flies. He learned to use them, but winter had arrived before he would see the bridge again.
On a snowy afternoon, the young man was hiking on his own when he came to the bridge. When he looked down he saw trout taking midges in the open water at the head of the pool. Ice glistened on the rocks, and the wispy insects hovered in clouds over fresh snow. Some time later the young man would return to the bridge, in spring now, and red quill spinners danced and laid their eggs. Amid small splashes from chubs and bluegills, a dimple signified the presence of a bigger fish. The young man tied on the matching fly and crawled into position. He cast twice, laying prone on a gravel bar, and chubs splashed at the spinner. Finally he saw the form of a good trout come to inspect the fly. The fish took and bore stubbornly into the rocks. With some coaxing, the rainbow came up. The young man landed and released the fish.
He would return to the bridge again several times over the summer, but it would be stubborn, unwilling to show what lived beneath it's surface. Fall came, and the young angler was back with new skills and flies. The bridge pool gave up beautiful native brook trout. The next time the angler found himself there he land warm water fish:  bluegill, bass, and crappie.
After being treated badly by two winters, the Angler returned to the bridge one Christmas Eve Day. once again he stood quietly and observed the pool. This time the water was high and dirty. Some dead leaves tumbled in the current. The angler was not discouraged. He tied on a fly he thought would beat the conditions, a bright red heavily weighted worm he tied specifically for such conditions. He crawled into his position on the gravel bar and began to cast. A strong fish took, and for several minutes the Angler fought to keep his ground. When the fish was landed, the angler rejoiced, for he had worked for several years to catch such a creation. The big wild brown was returned to his home, and the angler returned to his.

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