Revive - A Quarterly Fly Fishing Journal - Page 50

It was my father who taught me to use a spinning reel. Oh, I don’t know, I must have been four or five years old. In return, I taught my dad how to catch Northern pike. I schooled him. I showed him how I could cast my trusty five of diamonds long and far, reel it in steadily, adding a little herky-jerky action with a repetitive wrist flick. Reeling, reeling until the leader ran up fast to my rod tip and bumped into the smallest eye with a miniscule jolt. Then I’d cast again, and again, and again, until I caught a fish. I had the patience and faith of a saint.

The rest is history, as they say. I brought them in little. I brought them in big. Those pike snapped their heinous teeth at me, howled at the moon like water wolves. They bit me and drew blood. Oh! It was a wild battle every time I caught pike.

Every now and again I bonked one on the head, cut it to pieces with my little red Swiss Army knife and cooked those white, shimmering, bony fillets over a fire on an outcropping of rock, by a set of rapids on the Churchill River system of Saskatchewan. I cooked my fish, slapped at mosquitoes, listened to the wind in the jackpines and birch and then I ate that hot fish, picked the bones off my tongue tip, watched the rapids, heard the water thunder, and felt that wild pike in my belly willing me to reach up, shining and narrow, to snap at the clouds in the Northern sky.