Dreaming of the next fish
By JEFF LUND
April 20, 2015
I went to an unnamed river and caught some steelhead this past weekend. All social media apps want to reveal my location to everyone, so I decided to be defiant and change the location to the Los Angeles River before my obligatory Facebook post. It was the most ridiculous, steelhead-free body of water I could imagine. If you’re not familiar with the Los Angeles River, it’s where the big car race in Grease happens and where John Connor flees the Terminator. The LA River corridor is home to over 1 million people. That’s combat fishing.
Anyway, the fishing where I really was, was great. I landed a 33-inch steelie with two deep-red racing stripes and a couple which were just losing their chrome glow. Others weren’t quite as pretty, but a native steelhead is a native steelhead, especially when people down south spend hours and hours hoping for just one pull or live next to a riverbed of concrete.
These soothing memories help fuel future trips and act like a balm when life gets complicated. It’s like an emotional fetal position. For example, a lady has 24 items in the 15 item express line, and rather than keeping her head down in shame, she turns and smiles. I’m not amused, so I go fishing in my head. Mmmm steelhead.
I’m waiting for my burger and the television is playing news I can’t hear so, Hook set! Fish on!
Running up a steep hill in cold rain? Nope. I’m moving upriver against the current to throw a No. 18 elk hair caddis at a 20-inch rainbow trout snapping bugs off the surface behind that rock.
Sometimes life requires more exotic trips.
If my brain won’t shut off when I’m trying to sleep, I often times to go Canada. I’m there swinging a spey rod I don’t own, at 30-pound steelhead I can’t see. No one is there. I’m watching myself from above, as if there’s a drone recording my life for a DVD I’ll watch when I check out.
Then I switch the camera view to first person and watch as the undulating water is broken with the leap of a chrome torpedo covered in scales. I fast-forward to the end. The fish is on its side in a couple inches of clear, cool water. I stare at the flanks, then let its tail slide through my hand as it escapes back into the current.
The problem with daydreams is that they frequently turn out perfect, and they take little effort. This is dangerous of course because the absence of risk can lead to inactivity. Old stories are just that, old stories, and life continues. If they can make seven movies about fast cars doing impossible things, I should be able to milk seven salmon or steelhead stories per season.
This will take planning. I better head to the express line.
Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska