Sometimes I think that the only reason I enjoy fishing to so high a degree, and the reason that it always feels so remedial, is because I just don't get out much. Sure I always feel great, elated, after a trip. But, so what? I'm like a country bumpkin who comes back home from his first trip to the Oshawa Centre, expanding over a bottle of hootch on the architectural and artistic grandeur of that place, to which he must now surely remove the exact three-dimensional point of the centre of the Universe.
Still, there is something to be said for innocence, mixed in with the annual, winter's-end de-flowering of the yearly renewed steelheading virginity. It does in fact recall those times when to have a fish-full pool to one's self on a trickle - albeit an amazingly healthy and robust trickle - such as Wilmot creek, granted one such success (one or two fish landed) that it perched one atop the list of all steelhead anglers, like a demi-god; drunk on the hootch of being alive.
Not that I felt like that yesterday, really, but I was happier than I've been over missing a trout for as long as I can remember. Partially it's because I only fished for about an hour, in waters that weren't entirely familiar, and because I appeared as conditions were deteriorating due to the afternoon's increased thaw. The water was fairly dirty when my float started to go "boing-boing-boing," somewhat as a bobber does when you are fishing for sunfish. Perhaps it popped up and down five or six times before I remembered that I wasn't fishing over any kind of bottom structure or composition that could account for the slightly schizoid activities of my float. I set the hook, much to my satisfaction, into what must have been a 6 or 7 lb fish. I shared a smile with the fellow next to me, admitting that my steelheader's reflexes had not yet been activated, and then promptly lost the fish.
There was no heartbreak. I still feel perhaps a little bit of doubt that if I'd set the hook sooner, or waited for the fish to drag the float down firmly, I might have landed it but... I've been to better places than the Oshawa Centre, and I never thought that $29.99 was a good deal for a pair of Joe Boxers.
i.e.- I went out to see if I could tempt a fish to take an offering. Mission accomplished, and in sunshine that clearly foretells Spring. To complain would risk the ire of the Steelhead Gods and, so, it would be very unwise. It would also, luckily, be false.