"Ah, fish'll eat anything" a fly fisherman told my dad on his last trip to Colorado -- anything, like a college boy presented with something that looks like food -- he'll try to eat it. (I've personally tested this on a former housemate of mine, and I'm sure he'd go on the record as saying that plastic bananas are damn hard to peel.) You see, things like this should not be told to the people of my ilk, from whom I've been hewn. Anything? Really? For then we go about refuting or being refuted. Either way, we'd just like to know.
- My dad questioned, "so, what's the deal with all those fancy flies?"
- "It's sex appeal -- for the man, not the fish," the fisherman replied.
He shook his head. Silliness. And anyway, what's wrong with these men that they need flies to turn them on? I suppose that if one wanted to, one could concoct some subconscious Freudian connection between streamer flash and glittery lingerie. But I know far more about the former than the latter, thus that is for another time, another place, and another post.
A few days ago now, I stood down the shoreline from my dad, little knowing he was secretly and silently performing a test. Anything? Really? We'd already caught bass and saved a bullhead and I had lost myself, reveling in the relaxation that comes once fish are caught. The rest of the day? The proverbial frosting which, proved more than sweet -- deliciously buttercreamed.
Papa laughed, that kind of surprised laugh that only comes when you've gone out on a limb and you realize one of two things: either (1. the branch is thinner than you thought -- or (2. the branch is stronger than it looks. Well, at least now you know. This laugh then turned into the guilted giggle of a little boy who has admittedly done something.
My ears perked.
"What? What is it? What'd you catch?" It must be huge! I thought. A green sunfish? Nice! Although, I didn't understand what was so funny about this fish.
The Laugh started up again. Teasing, leading ----> "That was my fly!" Papa said. "Get out!" I exclaimed, pulling out my best Elaine Benes impersonation. Since when is he tying flies to use on his conventional gear pole? But sure enough, tied, in a Nebraska garage with a leftover yellow rubber worm and the bristles of a floor broom, my dad came up with a darn good fly pattern: The Nebraska Nugget.
It looks like corn....and yes, fish'll eat it.