Fast Water, Deep Hole
"He'll take the Teeny Nymph and dive hard. That's what he's going to do."
I spoke to myself, to the sky, to the water. I spoke in a whisper, shivering slightly in the brisk early morning air. I could see my nemesis gliding through the grey-green water, all cool and singular beneath the tight skin of surface tension.
I carefully finished tying the Teeny Nymph sink tip line, an elegant one piece with a sinking express shooting head for deep water and mated with a buoyant castable floating running line. Sustenance and sex wound artfully onto death barbs. With a childlike feeling of glee, I hooked a spare nymph onto my vest. Then I retreated towards the big rock that created a small eddy near the deep hole and crouched. Still. Silent. Settle. Settle. Relax. Breathe inward. Exhale carefully. Don't be a fool. Those sly pisces can smell your fear, your eagerness, your greedy lust, from miles away.
The river was high from spring snowmelt, but otherwise it couldn't have been a more perfect morning. The groggy sun laced lazily through the thick, low-hanging firs and alders lining the riverbank, dappling the rushing water green and gold. The air was skin temperature. A smorgasbord of insects hovered above the wavelets and pools. I'd been stalking this hole for the past few days and I'd become obsessed with a lumbering lunker I called Guthrie. I named him after Woody, of course…that good old Woody Guthrie whose folksy guitar and sing-song will forever haunt the taverns, campfires and riverbanks.
Talking Fishing Blues
Went down to the fishing hole,
And I set down with my fishing pole;
Somethin' grabb'd my hook and it got my bait
And Jerked me out in the middle of the lake….
Hadn't caught nuthin' but didn't much care,
I guess I was pretty well satisfied,
Had my little woman right by my side
(Takin' it easy, just waitin'
Worm been gone off-a that hook for a couple of hours.
I was busy).
Of course I was the "little woman" and of course I did care. I gave that humongous hunk of a trout the name Guthrie out of respect but the truth was, I wanted that sonofabitch in a bad way.
I stood slowly, careful not to crack any branches on the ground or rustle any leaves or cast any shadows. I crouch-walked my way to a place on the bank where I could cast as anonymously as an insect on the lam, tossing my brownish-beige and orange teeny nymph casually into Guthrie's zone. I began working Guthrie's pool, slowly easing into the river, gripping the bottom with my soft-soled wader boots and getting into a rhythm. I began casting across river and letting the nymph dead drift before pulling it up and back, slick and beautiful in a tightly controlled arc through shafting sunlight and high into the sweet silt-scented air that hung in the river bottom.
I could practically smell Guthrie's tender pink flesh frying in my cast iron skillet as I rolled out my casts. I could picture myself back at camp enjoying a long, slow drag on my flask of whiskey, retrieving a couple of hot floury potatoes pulled crisp and ashen from the hot white coals, and softening their powdery steaming insides with generous pats of butter. Oh, camp dinner would be a feast tonight. Come say hello Guthrie. Come to Mama.
I had just achieved a nearly complete sense of river Nirvana when I heard a tiny "crack" of a branch behind me and a rustling in the trees nearby.
I didn't see anything at first, then I caught a glimpse of him or I should say, caught a glimpse of an image of the thing that could have a real man if it didn't look much too much like something from the pages of a fucking gentleman's sportfishing magazine.
My blood boiled as the invader disrupted my rhythm and came crashing through the bushes, breaking every cardinal rule of the backcountry. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to shoot his bloody head clean off. "You fool! You cocksucker! Get out of my hole!"
But I did nothing. Said nothing. I just stood there in shock.
Guthrie was long gone. No nymph of any sort would get him back now. I might as well stomp back to camp and eat grasshoppers for dinner.
"Beautiful morning," the asshole bellowed. "Whatya using?"
The Fisherman's Warehouse poster boy set down his pole and removed his hat. Oh my. The revelation was immediate and I felt like a fool for being taken in by it. He was all striking features and hard lines in the soft light. He smiled at me – maybe – it could have been past me. He was too far-fetched to smile at me. Wasn't he? Fisherstud's teeth glowed against perfect lips like brilliant white neon. "Bar Open. Bada bing." Guthrie couldn't give me an open for business sign like that. He didn't have a tap room or a "special on draft." He was all fin and no froth.
I lost consciousness and began to flirt shamelessly.
"That's a nice rig you have there."
"Oh, thank you Miss…."
"Shelly. My name is Shelly – and what I'm using is – well, it's a Teeny Nymph kind of morning."
"Morgan Roost. Friends call me Rooster – I pulled out a couple of Teenys this morning. That shooting head is ideal on this stretch of deep holes and fast water."
"Well," I thought. "The cock's got some brains at least."
"You staying in town Miss Shelly?"
"Town? No -- I'm camped about a half-mile upriver. Just me – though hopefully I'll be enjoying the catch of the day for supper."
The neon buzzed between Rooster's lips.
"I can feel it in the air. It's your lucky day. I can smell that bad boy sizzling in the pan – sprinkled with fresh watercress and wild garlic and flavored with a thick slice of bacon."
"Now that's a mighty fancy fish dinner you've just conjured up. Are you planning on serving as my camp cook tonight?"
Rooster removed his vest and walked closer, his aura of masculinity drifting ahead of his physical presence like a fine mist. I began to feel woozy and untied the bandana from my neck and slipped out of my vest, standing before him in my sleeveless cotton camp shirt, khaki shorts and thigh-high waders.
"You realize you're – well, you just moved right in on my hole Rooster. I've been stalking Guthrie for three long days. He's mine."
Rooster pulled me to his crotch by my frayed belt loops and flicked open the top button of my shorts with one deft motion of his thumb and forefinger.
"Yes you have Miss Shelly. And I've been stalking you. I know your lures. I know your casts. I know your rhythms. I know when you rise and when you reel. I know when you scout, when you roll and when you drift."
"You'll have your Guthrie," the catalogue cutout continued. "I'll sizzle him to perfection and serve him to you on a silver platter. I'll fork his soft salty flesh into your mouth with my bare hands. What I want is you. You and your Teeny Nymph."
Rooster's hands dove into the back of my khakis and slid down the back of my ass, squeezing hard as he pulled me in tight. He stood over me wide-legged, the heat of his chest bringing a layer of condensation rising to my neck and my breasts.
With one rapid, fluid movement, Rooster pushed down my shorts and pulled my legs around his waist. He flung my naked lap upward like a bear toying with a salmon and held me there by my hips and butt as he strode towards the tall boulders.
The river pushed and rippled crazily around the mossy rocks as Rooster set me down, my naked ass now dappled green and gold, as he pulled down his thick trousers and released his rod and jig.
"Nice tackle," I muttered, taking his whipstik in my hands and caressing it as tenderly as Rooster thrust his ball eye nymph hook into my eddy pool.
"Little woman!" Rooster crowed. "Oh you're a fine little thing all tight and light and tied up right."
Rooster's neon crackled electric, his manly jaw clenched as he rocked against me, my back pressed firm against the smooth, cold boulder. He slipped his hands under my blouse and teased my nipples and breasts with his strong hands. I was as wet as 10 rivers as Rooster lifted me up again and thrust hard, holding me suspended against him. I felt as weightless and light as a nymph in the breeze.
"You're beautiful fisher girl," Rooster crowed while he thrust again and again and I buried my face in his neck. "God you're delicious. I love a woman who can fish and fuck in the same pair of waders."
In a flood of current and whitewater, Rooster took me way downriver on a long, slow cast. He set me tenderly on the bank where we lay giggling in the rising heat of a wet midsummer's daydream.
Then he was gone.
By the time I made it back to camp with Guthrie in my creel, Rooster had cut and stacked a fresh pile of kindling and was slicing watercress and wild garlic on a cedar plank.
"Nice catch Miss Shelly," he grinned as I placed Guthrie in his beautiful rod model's hands.
"How 'bout a cold one Rooster?" I asked sweetly. I pulled the spare Nymph from my vest patch and pressed it into the crown of Rooster's hat. "What do you have on tap?"