One Fish

"all I want is one." Something often said by a weary fisherman after a long, fishless day on the water. It is a saying that has some importance though. Do I really mean that? Am I really satisfied to catch a single fish? Of course the answer depends on the fisherman (or at least his mood at the time). As nice as it would be to claim that I go out after "one" everytime, and when that fish is landed, I'm satisfied, that would be a lie. That is the fisherman I want to be, the guy who can enjoy just catching one fish, and where everthing else is a bonus.
Some days I can be that fisherman. Today I think I was. I landed my one fish within 10 minutes of fishing and couldn't even scare one after that. I could have driven further east, but I didn't feel like it. I wanted to fish this river because I knew I'd be able to fish in relative solitude, and for the most part, I did. It has been a few weeks since I've fished, and while I thought I'd be hunrgy for more, I really wasn't. I'm saving my energy for my last trip to New York before I begin the sprint to the end of the semester, and final exams.
I've come to realize that while I enjoy fishing in Ohio, it's just an outlet to keep me entertained before I can get over to the lake Ontario tributaries. Not that these fish are any less worthy of my attention, but New York is "home" and the rivers there still make the hairs stand on the back of my neck when I think about them. maybe if I had learned to steelhead fish in Ohio I would take fishing there more seriously. Maybe you just can't teach an old dog new tricks.
I've been on the phone with my friend Josh who has been in NY for the past week on vacation. The fish have been good to him. Brown trout fishing out west, steelhead fishing in the eastern basin. The salmon river is full of big chrome fish as I type this, despite high water. I won't be there for another week.
So I go and fish a close river in ohio. Just to get out and say I fished, feel a little of what I like to call "the power and the glory" of a rampaging steelhead on the end of my line. My "one fish" fought well, charged me 3 times and managed to throw enough slack in the line I was lucky to land her. She was hooked in the roof of the mouth, had the fish been hooked in the corner of the mouth, I might have only "hooked" a single fish, instead of landing one.
So today I fished a few hours in the afternoon, daydreaming of the salmon river, and enjoying not having my nose in a book for once. Tomorrow will be different, there will be the cleaning out of the truck, followed by trying to get ahead on school work to give me a buffer for when I plan to play hooky for a few days to make my Thanksgiving break in Pulaski a little longer. I took the shorter drive today because this was one of those rare occasions where fish didn't matter. All I needed was running and water quiet.
Sometimes I think we fish because we want to get away, or as John Gierach might say: we are mad, happy, sad, or all of the above. Sometimes I have no idea why I'm fishing but I want to be out there: standing in the river, away from all the worry-noise of life; responsibility, work, school, money, friends, the future... They all get swallowed up -at least temporarily- in the swirls of the current.

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