THE STRIKE

Field and Stream - - F&S - —Keith McCaf­ferty

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.

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