Tis the season, as they say, to start lookin' ahead. Get all those new yearsâ resolutions written up, start the diet and since I donât do any of that stuff, Iâll knock that off right there. But what I do, do, is take a fond look back every year.
When I was five I caught my first brook trout. It was about five inches long and as close to a liquid rainbow of color in my hand as I could get. I never forget that first little brook trout, the spot I was standing, and my grampas face when I showed it to him. Itâs my best trout, my favorite trout, ever.
When I was twenty six years old I grabbed a model ninety-four, my favorite wool coat and headed north on a piece of property today I may just get lost on, but back then, I had almost every tree branch memorized. Just after lunch I cut a deer track. He led me a merry chase, but in the end, became the trophy buck of my deer hunting life. Iâve shot bigger and had more surprising deer hunting trips since then, but back in â26â as I call it. That was my deer day, of days.
This fall I was mired in a mental morass until the sky filled with triple curled mallards so deep into the Superior National Forest they could have only been the most lost ducks on earth. I was trying to get away from it all and I dang near did. Then with age in not only me, but the sweetest over/under money could buy, melded with some experience and the gifts that only the outdoors can provide, I hit upon a day in the duck marsh that I will never see again. It was feathers and duck calls. Mallards quacking in a squall of weather nobody but a duck hunter would really appreciate. It was not a duck day, it was THE duck day. It was my duckiest day ever, on planet earth.
I had quite a year, and one fourteen pound, six ounce lake trout from one hundred and six feet deep in Lake Superior reminds me that no matter how hard I try, how expensive the lure, sometimes they just come up on the old fashioned hand lines.
We may get fancy, can electronically see into the depths, but the old-timers took fish and big fish. Iâm not an old timer yet, I just hope to live long enough to become one, and one of my hopes for the coming years, is that you and yours do too.
The trout Whisperer
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