We had an above average day. A mother father daughter trio hit the tri-fecta on some fine looking sunfish. Twenty per is the limit and they kept forty two which is well shy, but plenty. Dad not only paid me, but tossed in a nice tip. Smiles all around. Now at my house it was time to finish the deal, so I said I would hop to it and clean their catch. Mom and dad took a chair on my deck. The little darlin wanted to watch. I sat her on a kitchen stool next to my sink and started filleting. Reminded me of my little one years ago. "What's that she asked"? "I said that's a fish scale honey". "Can I have one"? "Ah, you better ask your mom or dad". Off she went. Then she pops back up on the chair, "Mom said I could have all I want". I gave her a clear plastic sandwich bag. I must have handed her ten scales when she says "you can have these back". "Mr. I just want the orange and yellow ones". I tried to explain that the color was in –All- the scales and the fish skin but there was not enough color in one or two scales to really show off how brilliant they can be. "Give me –all- the scales Mr. and I don't need to ask my mom or dad". Now my daughter on occasion I could run a line past, this kid wasn't going for any false casts on my part. She saw color and she wanted the color. I asked her to go get her folks. In walks mom and pop and I tried to explain what the little kid wanted and they tried to take over. The line I liked the best from mom was "honey, the color of the fish has to stay with the fish; we just get to keep the meat". She wasn't buying that either, "How come his fish on the wall still has the color"? I shoulda kept my mouth shut right then and there but I knelt down and told her "when my little girl was young she caught that fish, it was one of her first, and the day was so special I had it mounted". Looking up at mom and dad she asks "are my fish special"? Dad looks at me like thanks a lot buddy, and it didn't look good. Mom looked at husband, that didn't look much better. Then dad said" honey, you pick one, and will have it mounted for you". Well there was one smile left in the room. The trout whisperer

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His smile.