Cameron over at the TheFiberGlassManifesto.com is sponsoring a writing contest for a stunning guide net from Nomad Fly Fishing. These nets are works of art so I decided to submit this story as my entry.
My son and I have shared a love for flyfishing now for about 9 years, he caught his first brook trout at the age of 8, but since he was 14 I had been trying to hook him on "the Steel" but to no avail, he was growing tired of watching everyone else catch fish exept him. 3 years ago when he was 14 we headed out to the Kilchis river on the Oregon coast to try for some early steelhead action, the whole way that morning he talked about dry flies and light rods and how he really felt that was his zone, and that big rods and flashy flies really didn't "speak" to him. We pulled into the parking spot at first light and rigged up, the whole time he kept telling me about the new flies he was building and how we should head east for some trout next trip. We walked down to the river, a perfect cresent shaped run about 300 ft long starting with a fast water shute, settling into slow long green water and then a super bank tailout into another shute, holding water. As we stood on the bank I asked Mat what he thought.. copper john and an indictor, I said sounds good as I tied on an articulating bunny leech. We worked apart him moving to the tailout an myself taking the weaker water towards the head, I felt a solid bump and pulled up a little hard rocketing my line over my shoulder and around my neck, a touch emabaraced I looked down to see if Mat saw ( yeah us dads actually care if our sons see us screw up ) An I was shocked by what I saw.. Mat, both hands holding my sage 8wt clear up by the stripping guide, engaged in battle with a steelhead of undetermined caliber, now I know what your thinking.. did you yell "get those hands back on some cork" and the answer is no. I let it ride.. sliding my rod down through my hand and feeling the fighting but strike the rock I just stood and watched. Sometimes dad has to just shut up. The fish was peeling line and running hard for the tailing shute, Mat was in trouble and frankly I wasn't sure if he even knew it.. yeah I fought the urge to scream chase it... no, I did'nt start barking fishing brilliance and instuctions, I just watched. Mat finally palmed the reel and lifted and the fish responded with an explosive jump.. a teener, probably about 13 or 14#... nice fish I thought..and then instinct and that that cannot be taught kicked in, the fish got in the fast water and the backing cleared the first eye... and Mat started running.. but too fast, he slacked the line, and then and there he learned that as fast as they come.. they go. Defeat.. or victory? label it how you wish... but I saw it, as all guides, dads, uncles or whoever..see it, the tug.. the run.. the failure, that which will haunt us our whole lives... later, as we pulled onto the asphalt and headed our way home Mat started dialing, dialing anyone who would listen.. he did it, he had it down... he hooked the beast, but I just smiled, becouse I knew.. no matter how much victory he felt, it was not him who hooked the beast, it was the beast who hooked him... and he will never recover from it-