You’ll try to describe it, to the anglers at the bar or sitting before the fire, the fly swinging, the jolting strike, the pewter lunge of the fish half out of water and crashing down, and then the reel ratcheting as the steelhead, impossibly, jumps at the corner of your eye, upstream, even as your rod tip points down. But
you won’t find the words. What you will talk about instead is the rest of the fight, the minutes your heart pounded rather than the moment it stopped, reeling frantically to get tight, the runs, the circling beyond your reach, then the second wind, for a steelhead has nothing if not heart.
But the yank that almost took the rod from your hand, you won’t be able to describe that, because you were as lost to that moment as you were when you first saw a bobber dancing on the surface of a pond.
Nothing hits as hard as a steelhead. Nothing.