By Elliott Deighton
An Evening to Remember
We all have our memories of fishing trips. Most of them, I
hope, are pleasant but some, I know, are not so pleasant.
A trip to my local river some years ago proved to be both.
It was early June, Green Drake time and after catching three
quick small brown trout, I made my way upstream to fish the
best pool of the stretch-a big "S" pool that the locals know
as the Brimstone Pool for it lies behind a little hamlet of
the same name. Two trout were rising at the bottom of the pool
at the far edge just behind a fallen cedar sweeper and I was
totally concentrated on my presentation.
Then there was a voice behind me. "Oh f... Who the hell's in my f...g pool?"
With hands shaking and heart pounding like a jackhammer, I
turned around to see two youths in their late teens tumbling
down the bank towards the river. They must have come, I quickly
deduced, from one of the houses that back onto the river.
"You'll have to excuse my friend" said one of the youths and
continued with a grin; "He gets a little wacky with the wacky."
I laughed at his double meaning. "That's alright," I said.
"Would you mind moving up a bit then," he replied. "He wants to
go swimming and you're in his favourite spot."
"You're kidding," I exclaimed. "The water's barely 65 degrees."
"Yeah, well I told you he was wacky."
To prove the point, his foulmouthed friend proceeded to remove his
clothes. I stared in disbelief and moved out of the way.
Within seconds he was down to his underwear and heading for
the water. The air turned blue as he stumbled among the stones,
stubbed his toes in the process. He reached the pool, waded in
at the deepest section, stepped over the drop off, and completely
disappeared under the water.
I had visions of performing mouth to mouth on a stoned, drowning
victim. But my concern, mostly for myself I might add, was quite
unfounded, because he surfaced almost at once. He came streaking
straight up and out of the water like a synchronized swimmer at
the Summer Olympics. Judges would have given him a 9.8 for the
manoeuvre had it not been for his agonized scream at the top of
He made it to shore in record time and I could have sworn that
his feet never touched the water. As he stood on the bank
shivering and cursing, I brought my attention back to fishing.
Amazingly, it didn't take me long to catch a 16-inch brown, which
led me a merry chase up and down the pool until I could finally
reach down and slip the hook out of its jaw. "Ah, man, what did
you let it go for?" demanded the now half dressed swimmer.
"I don't like to eat fish," I lied, knowing that my conservation
philosophies would be lost on these two.
"He loves trout almost as much as he does his wacky," said his
friend. "You'd better keep the next one, if you don't want to
p... him off."
The threat was obvious and I should have called it quits then
and there. The river, however, would have none of it, for with
the approaching dusk there were trout rising everywhere.
Like an addict looking for another fix, I continued fishing. I
couldn't have stopped if I tried. After a few more casts I hooked
the best trout of the day and I was in a real pickle. If I gave
into the pair on the bank and let them have this close to 20-inch
fish, I would hate myself for the rest of my life. But if I let
it go, they would probably cause me bodily harm. What to do? If
only I had gone home.
The fish raced up into the fast riffle, bent on wearing itself out
in record time and, sure enough, by the time I had him turned back,
I sensed most of his fight was gone.
The pair was right behind me now shouting encouragement.
"Don't f...g lose it!"
"Here comes supper!"
As visions of that magnificent fish lying gutted in their
sink filled my head, the solution came to me. Backing off
the pressure, I let the trout turn into the slower water
of the swimming pool below me. The calmer water gave the
fish a little energy and it bore down and away from me.
It was, at that moment, a simple matter to clamp down on
the line and let the tippet snap.
"Oh hell!" I feigned. "It broke me off. I'm sorry."
"Ah, that's alright man. You gave it your best shot."
"Yeah" said Foulmouth. "Happens to me all the time. That
was one big f...g trout though."
I had to agree, glad they had fallen for my ruse.
As it was starting to get dark and finally having enough sense
to leave while I was still in one piece, I bid the two good night.
We parted on good terms with their inviting me to come back and
fish their pool any time.
Driving home, I couldn't help but smile to myself. It had been
an evening to remember and the memories would last a lifetime.
~ Elliott Deighton
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