on fly fishing

pigeon river, western north carolina

i cast my line

not the force
of casting a rig
into the surf

more a caress
than a punch

weightless leader carries fly
onto the river
pure water flows chill over boots
around wader legs

fly floats on current
where brook trout gather

i mend line
aim tip of rod

wait for it
wait for it
wait for it

pull fly in
try again

quicksilver trout
takes fly

i set hook
and the fight begins

I play him

but to the trout it is no game
he fights for his life
finally tiring

net scoops him
hook removed
I dip hands
in river water
pick him up
gently as holding a newborn
wonder at his beauty
his bravery
his strength

he gazes at me
surrendering to what is

i know
who the stronger is in this fight

after a moment
i gently release him
into the river
whence we all came

trout before release

6 thoughts on “on fly fishing

Add yours

  1. Good for you!! And you released it. I could never keep a fish when I went with my Dad. Those were fond memories of much ‘kinder’ times. Sounds like you enjoyed your retreat! Love it.


    1. The retreat was excellent, and I went from a fly fishing newbie to casting and bringing in fish with confidence. Catch and release is mandatory this time of year on the river I fished, but I’d have released anyway. The pleasure is in the fishing, not the keeping!


  2. This solitary experience of you and the trout exemplifies the beautiful and sober photograph of the river. Thank you for including me the experience. Thank you very, very much. Just the thing I needed. One big satisfied, contented sigh. Peace.


  3. Thank you for your comment, Catherine. Trout fishing is a mindful experience, and I’m glad you felt like you were part of it.


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