Poems, Essays and Other Ramblings of an Illiterate Fly Fisherman
Monday, September 17, 2012
Lyle Jamison came to the little gold rush town that year lookin' for whores, whiskey and gold, and maybe a little fishin' if time permitted. He found it all, except for the gold. The river below the bridge was filled with Salmon and Steelhead in the winter, trout and smallmouth bass all year round. Since the whores and whiskey cost money, and Lyle didn't have any, fishin' became a full time occupation.
He'd come from Kentucky chasing a dream, or maybe running away from one. California, he'd heard, was the promised land, a good place to make a new start. The hunting and fishing were good, there was plenty of money, and it's laws and women were loose. That all sounded good to him.
He'd been riding for several days to get here. It was quiet and dusty, a mountain version of Yuma. Nobody really set out to be there; they just found themselves in the place, and there didn't seem to be a better alternative. There were a couple of dogs running in the street, with a few people moving up and down the walkway. The only sound came from the breeze moving through the trees that lined both sides of the road into the town.
Jamison had spent a good part of his young life studying subjects that didn't interest him very much. Physics fascinated him, but he knew enough to know that he didn't understand it at all. What did interest him was the outdoors. His time as a boy had been spent in the woods, and on the rivers and streams of Kentucky. Along with his friend, he hunted and fished at every opportunity. He felt at home in the woods, at ease. He was absorbed by the beauty of the country in full fall color, by the feel of a cold autumn morning as it turns warm, and the sweet smell of alfalfa at the end of a hot day of baking under that sun.
I grew up in Kentucky, and learned to fly fish on small ponds and lakes, mostly for Bluegill, but sometimes for Largemouth Bass. After I moved to California following my return from Vietnam, and thanks to the help of a couple of women who knew me better than I knew myself, I came back to my boyhood love of fly fishing.