from NER 41.2
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For a boy of eight or ten
the worm can be
a great teacher, especially
a strong, healthy creature
kept in damp moss
to clean and harden his skin.
Such a worm,
and brilliantly red
should be fished
on a No. 10 or 8 offset hook
or even a 6.
Any limber pole
with a length of line from the tip
but an old, soft fly rod
with a simple reel
and 10-pound monofilament is best.
So equipped, a boy can go
to any trout water in spring and early summer
when the water is high
cast his worm in
and let the current carry it to
the likely spots.
Some places are good for big fish
some for small fish
and some are a waste of time.
There is a difference between the feel
of the lake or river bed
and the feel of a fish mouthing the worm.
There is a way of raising the rod tip firmly to strike
the hook into the fish
without breaking the leader.
There is a right moment for this
and a wrong moment.
One must be quicker with a little fish than a big one.
The testing time and the real learning time
is in summer and fall
when the water is low and clear.
Best now to work upstream
approaching the fish from behind
keeping the head low and the rod low
stalking the fish
rather than searching,
sneaking up on the likely places.
The cast is a delicate sidearm swing that slides
the worm forward
through the air (drawing coils of loose line
from the left hand)
and plops it in at the head of the run.
It comes drifting back.
The line is slowly and carefully recovered
through the rings of the rod
keeping pace but never pulling on the worm.
Suddenly the line stops
holds against the current
and the fish is there.
The time will come
when the boy is ready to fish a fly
and the worm has little more to teach him.
Mountain lakes or lowland lakes,
or quiet meadow streams,
or saltwater shallows,
all have their charms and moods.
Spring, summer, and fall,
the fly-fisherman moves quietly through them,
disturbing little, seeing much.
NOTE: This poem employs text from A Primer of Fly-Fishing by Roderick Haig-Brown (William Morrow and Company, New York, 1964).
note: This poem employs text from A Primer of Fly-Fishing by Roderick Haig-Brown (William Morrow and Company, New York, 1964).