September 10th, 2007

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

My Secret Garden
By Bob Bolton

We fishermen have secrets. Secret flies, secret leader formulas, secret knots. But most of all, secret spots. Some place where we, and maybe our very best friends, know about. Some place where there is a special run or a secret hole that trout tell their friends about. Some where where there are always fish, many fish, big fish. Some little Garden of God locked secretly away in our minds we can go visit. Sometimes by ourselves, sometimes with a friend, and sometimes only in memories.

Our own secret Trout Garden. These spots are not always easy to get to. A long walk, sometimes down a small tributary to the Garden. But it is always worth the trouble.

Somehow, whenever we go to our secret spots, life takes on a different color. Peaceful tones, quiet tones. And sound becomes a harmonious murmur in tune with the colors and sings to our very souls. The air tastes kinder and fills your lungs with a restful spirit. The sun glints playfully off a little riffle as the river speaks softly to us as it whispers under a sweeper and gurgles over a hidden bolder. A trout rises and life is good.

Sometimes there are others there. They wander in from downstream and we back off to a log on the bank and quietly wait for them to pass. For they do not know. This is our spot that God made for us and they can't see it. And they can't hear it talk. And when they pass we ease out into the current, free our favorite fly from its keeper, and wiggle a bit of line out through the guides. Strip out more line with a few false casts and gently drop the fly down a few feet up from where we saw the rise. The passing fisherman was unaware that this fish was waiting for our fly. So when the fly drifts down to where the rise form was seen, plop. The fly is gone and with a gentle hook set we strip in the fish to our wetted hand. We gently remove the fly with our forceps on the hook bend so as not to harm either fly or fish. Admiring the fish as we hold it in the current, we feel the quick push of the tail and the fish glides off into the riffle.

Then a moment to stop and listen again to the sound of the stream. And mixed in are voices of others. Voices from times before. Voices with names like Chief Shoppenagon, Tom Wakeley, George Griffith, Carl Richards, and, in later times, even Ladyfisher and Castwell themselves. Have they been here and heard the Garden's stories?

And the water flows on down to the main branch whispering all the way, telling others about the Garden. But only those with the best of ears and the purest of hearts will hear and come looking. We do not worry about them for they are of kindred spirit and will keep the Garden's secret. And will leave it as it was before they came. ~ Bob Bolton, Michigan

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