How Every Day Should Start

I woke this morning at first light laying on the moss and humus in my sleeping bag. I could hear the stream rolling past a hundred feet or so downhill and the first songbirds of the morning were getting a timid start.

I ate breakfast with my back against a tree trunk watching the forest come to life, listening to the faint crunches of the huge insects that populated this lowland – the ones who’d crawled on me from time to time through the night. The sleeping temperature couldn’t have been more perfect and it remained so through the morning. I rigged up my pole with a single hook, split shot and worm – and no, it wasn’t a rod and reel – no such sophistication here- it was a pole with a short line tied to the end. I was dressed in old blue jeans, disintegrating sneakers and a tattered sweatshirt. Now I was ready for trout. I wouldn’t have blended well with the Orvis-clad fly fishermen who’d been pounding this stretch the evening before.

From the low end of the first pool, I crept on hands and knees stalking my prey. The water was low and clear and the sneaking was completely necessary if I was to succeed today. I was surprised when my first trout showed white fin edges – a large brookie! He was released and I went for another. I released four brook trout from the pool and I’d had no idea there might be brook trout in this stream. I bagged three rainbow trout from the pool as well to eat. All these fish were stocked fish – the state had released them here recently. Anyone who knows me realizes

that I’m not a huge fan of these hatchery bred fish but I can’t deny the thrill of taking them on a thin pole and line this morning.

The day would have been enough of a pleasure without big trout but some of these waited for me as well. Amazingly, by the time I left at nine A.M., I’d taken the largest brook trout I’ve ever taken in Pennsylvania, the largest rainbow trout and then, just before leaving, the largest brown trout!

I couldn’t ask for more on a fishing trip. And it began with a night spent sleeping on the leaves, an early start, and a simple pole and worms – it doesn’t get any better than that!

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