I spent last week at Stanley’s Resort on Eagle Lake near Vermilion Bay, Ontario, some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen and a marvelous staff. I was there with my husband, brother-in-law and his wife learning to fish and I couldn’t help but be struck by how much fishing is like writing.
Casting for fish is like casting for ideas, or that perfect word. You throw your line into the water and hope for a bite. Sometimes they strike immediately, but most of the time you have to sit and wait and then troll to another location where you might have better luck. In the meantime, you sit quietly watching the shoreline, listening to the song birds and the call of the loons as your muse, your heart jumping with hope at every little tug or catch on the bottom.
Most of the time your catch will go right back into the water as either too big or too small, that illusive, manageable middle ground hiding back in the weeds. Even the keepers can be hard to pull into the boat, fighting your efforts to control them the entire time. But when that perfect catch does break the surface you know it! You tease it; chase it back and forth until you get that first glimpse of it flashing in all its glory in the sun and you know it’s the one you’ve been searching for so long and so patiently. (Or, not so patiently!)
And at the end of the day you sit around with your friends and a cooler full of beer and talk about the ones that got away. The ones that just didn’t quite stay on the line and reel in the way you would have liked, despite your best efforts.
Here’s a picture of my biggest catch of the week, a 40 inch northern made possible by our guide, John, in the background. Yes, it was too big and had to be thrown back, but it makes for a heck of a “fish story”.