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Evening Fishing
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Evening Fishing

By Bryant Freeman


A quieting hush in the gray birch leaves, brought me to reality, a noticeable  break in the low overcast above, demanded my immediate attention,  the time ,-- the season --and the unknown, made my blood tingle with excitement. 

The old dog sitting on the rear seat of my canoe, with her ears piercing the damp air for a sound in the bushes which aroused her attention moments before, is my companion. A  Shepherd Husky mix, a Doaktown dog,  her name is Shebah.

We were in the midst of one of Mother Natures natural arenas, the Main Southwest Miramichi, between Upper Blackville and Boiestown.  An area where the Miramichi begins her natural climb to the higher elevations, and her source. The gravel bars, and gradual drops in level, make excellent stopping places for Salar to rest and refresh himself, on his annual migration to the upper reaches of the river.  This is the most productive salmon river in the world, I take a moment to reflect on my good fortune to be able to fish in such pristine surroundings.

We had been continuing this practice for 14 years, Shebah and I,  familiar with  each others ways as only two close friends can be.  She would travel to this area with me as a companion and spectator, I would draw her attention to things she missed which were few, and she would draw my attention to things I would not be aware of.. Some day old dog I will miss your presence, but today we will enjoy our outing as we always do.

After losing my long time fishing friend, to a sudden illness, I could not immediately take up with another, or find someone that shared the same feeling for fly fishing as he, thus the old dog is my  companion for now.  

As the canoe oscillated from north to south,  in a subtle  motion, the ears and eyes of old dog deceived her. I immediately saw the change which was demanding her attention.  Just below the gravel bar, was the un-mistakable wake of a rolling salmon. A movement salar makes on his trek to his spawning grounds,  which gives his location away to those that know .

Dog,  I said, you may be old but you are not stupid, at least another has made the voyage to this great river for its survival .  "Lets see if he is interested in some fur and feathers we have attached to this hook last winter in the  den."

I studied the leader where it was attached to the line, checked the knot where the fly was tied to the leader and scanned the length between for wind knots. Everything was in order, my heart picked up a couple of beats as I studied the swing the fly would make, and if it would be going fast enough to entice the fish to chase the fly.  I decided I was too high in the pool for a suitable swing, so I dropped the canoe down another 30 feet, and a bit to the north. This would give me a seventy five degree swing, which would make the fly move fast enough for the fish to chase it.

Attaching the anchor rope to the thole pin, I noticed my hands which were trembling, I thought back to the days when I first fished for Salmon with my dad.  Although time makes one a bit steadier and sure of his activities, the sign of a salmon in the river sure unravels ones nerves. Nothing has changed in the 64 years I have been alive, Salar is still king and he excites my emotions more now than before.

Picking up the rod,  undoing the fly from the keeper, my eyes glued on the ripple where the first sign of the fish appeared. I make several false casts to the opposite side of the canoe, judging distance and getting everything just right.  I then take a deep breath to steady my nerves , I cast to the spot.  The fly lands 3 feet above the lie, I lift the rod up and mend the line,  as the tip descends to the level of the water, that old familiar swirl and the tug that one dreams of, before, during, and after every salmon fishing trip, happens.   I lift  the tip  there is a heavy pull at the end of the line, my heart returns to normal  .  I drop the tip to see if the fish will release easily.  The sting of the steel is too strong, he fights the rod for a moment, then the line slackens and he is gone, the barb-less hook releasing  its hold.

Satisfied with the outing, I lift anchor and start a silent drift downstream towards the camp, the old dog sitting on the seat with ears still piercing the damp air, still trembling, knowing we are in for another good season.  Some fish will not be as easy to release, some will fight for their lives, not knowing  their destiny, until released to their river where they were born.

The slap of a screen door in the distance testifies that we are returning to civilization,  the un-mistakable sound of  a car on the gravel road, releases us from natures hold once again and we arrive back to reality.  Do not worry old dog, we will make this trip many more times in the future.

Chapter Two

Several years have passed, my old companion Shebah has gone to the great stomping ground, many changes have taken place in life since those exciting days on the river.

Salar still plies the stream,-------------TO BE Continued.

This Page Edited on

November 11, 2006 01:44:10 PM

A poem sent to by Roger A Whitcomb


"A feller isn't thinkin' mean,

Out fishin';

His thoughts are mostly good an' clean,

Out fishin';

He doesn't knock his fellow men,

Or harbor any grudges then;

A feller's at his finest, when

Out fishin'.

The rich are comrades to the poor,

Out fishin';

All brothers of a common lure,

Out fishin';

The urchin with the pin an' string

can chum with millionaire an' king;

Vain pride is a forgotten thing,

Out fishin'

A feller's glad to be a friend,

Out fishin';

A helping hand he'll always lend,

Out fishin';

The brotherhood of rod an' line

An' sky an' stream is always fine;

Men come real close to God's design,

Out fishin'.

A feller isn't plotting schemes,

Out fishin';

He's only busy with his dreams,

Out fishin'

His livery is a coat of tan;

His creed: to do the best he can;

A feller's always mostly man,

Out fishin'."

From the writings of Edgar A. Guest 1925

A Spring Poem Sent to me by Peter McKean
{a Passage from Swinburne}

"For winter's rains and ruins are over

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins.

For time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain, and flowers begotten,

And in deep under wood and cover

Blossom by blossom, the spring begins."

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