The Clinch River could be traversed on foot and I had that spot near the big flat rock where I was almost always assured of a good sized Rainbow Trout. When flies failed, I used corn, a trout’s drug of choice and I was a certified pusher with a can of yellow kernel “fix”. It was also a strategic place where I could see the game warden coming and make a bee line to the bank and scamper into the tall stuff where he would not venture. I was never licensed and never caught like my multi colored friends. I remain a fugitive to this day for my crimes.My bravado increased to the level of mooning the public servant once.I do have regrets I suppose but still chuckle thinking about the look on his face I witnessed upside down as I peered at him between my legs.I used that river for fishing, drinking, bathing, and out and out recreation. I loved it whether it was raging or gently drifting along. I skipped rocks across it, spit tobacco juice at it, and peed with far more greater trajectory that I have today into it. It was my science class and the Big Guy was my teacher.I prayed by that river on my knees when my Grandfather died and likewise when my Dad died. So it also captured a few of my tears.
I stop and visit it when I go to see my Mom who lives but a few miles from it.I love the way it sounds and my favorite time is early in the morning when there is the rushing water at your feet and a ceiling of fog above your head and you stand in the gap thinking that thoughts really are things.
My old friend, Izaak Walton said, “Angling may be said to be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learned.” Yep, the mystery that is revealed in fishing, arithmetic and God has a lot in common. “Words are men’s daughters, but God’s sons are things.” I now know whatmom meant when she used to ask, “Aren’t you something?”
I must profess that I am not a true believer in chance, generally opting for reason, but there are times when I relate fully to the barefoot boy fishermanwho skipped school and lay on the bank with a big Pepsi bottle filled with peanuts & who tossed out his line believing that “the luck, she is still running good.”