“This is the one I was waiting for!” I repeated it breathlessly one more time,”This is the one I was waiting for.”
All my senses were on overload and I could not tell if I was shouting or whispering.
The culmination of 19 years was thrashing in my net. An old and hardened creature with a hook jaw stared back angrily as I tried to compose myself and catch my breath.
My hopes were not particularly high for the day as the water levels were low and clear. More concerning, was that the air temperature had dropped drastically from the previous day to about 19 degrees.
The earlier part of the morning had been a bit tough and doubt was starting to creep in. “Maybe I should have stayed home today.”
I cleared my mind by switching out my flies.
As I watched my sight hover through the lane, my mind wandered to the burning and aching in my casting shoulder. By the end of the short drift, I had forgotten what flies I had tied in.
“It doesn’t matter! As long as it’s a good drift.” I emphatically thought to myself and threw my third cast. As the line neared the tail of its drift, it softly hesitated.
With the same soft energy of the line stopping I lifted the tip with equal, gentle force. An almost dead weight, “the elusive stick fish, perhaps.” I lifted a second time and just below the surface of the water, rose the blurry spectral of a fish.
Even with the blur I could tell that it was once again, “The one I was waiting for!” It was at this point, both adversaries knew that the game was afoot. Him, head thrashing and screaming off downstream. Me, reeling and trying to follow in pursuit as best I could. A surprisingly quick tussle and it was all over with one smiling and wet fool and an angry yet stoic, indelible creature.
It had taken me 19 years of intermittent commitment to the pursuit but I had finally hooked and landed an individual. Not just another fish that namelessly got released and forgotten but one that I would remember with a name.
The wait was long but maybe it was the wait that made the moment more sweet; like a fine whiskey aged 19 years waiting for the moment to be opened and enjoyed.