Fall at My Fishing Hole
Updated: Apr 21
I pedal my rusty 12-speed mountain bike as fast as my 9-year-old legs can as the blue frame creaks in disagreement. I squeeze the hand brake hard, engaging the worn brake pads. The brakes squeal and the derailleur clicks loudly against the spokes as I come to a stop at the edge of town. Dropping my bike into the long grass, I run down the river bank to the Paddle River's edge; my fishing hole. The shelter of the mixed deciduous and coniferous trees blocks the road from sight. Peering down at the Paddle I see water so still that the river appears more like a long lake. I take a deep breath of the crisp air on this cool September morning and smell a freshness. The kind of freshness you smell just after a rain shower. A freshness unique to water bodies such as these. A sound can be heard from a massive white spruce across the river. A loud, screeching wicka-wicka-wicka-wicka; a northern flicker's call. As I crouch down for a lure from my plastic, red tackle box, I feel the long grass, damp from morning dew, soak my bare legs.
Opening my tackle box I get a whiff of the rancid smell of minnows and old trout marshmallows. Everything inside is neatly arranged within the ribbed plastic compartments. The compartments contain a variety of lures, organized by size, type, and colour. After a quick glance, I notice that the middle compartment contains the hook I'm after. A spoon painted yellow and decorated with five red diamonds just like you'd see in a deck of playing cards. I pick up the rounded, slightly curved lure and turn it over. The gold back catches the rising sun's rays and glistens. In my hand it feels smooth and unscratched, fresh from the local sporting goods store. As I tie it onto my line, I hear the deep, musical honking of Canada geese migrating overhead.
I pick up my rod, loop my line under my right index finger, and flip my reel bail over with my left hand. As I move my rod tip back, I feel the sharp tension of the line on my finger. I fling the rod tip forward and let the line slide off my fingertip, releasing the five of diamonds to sail through the air to the far side of the Paddle. It hits the water with a kerplunk just before the muddy south side riverbank. I flip the bail back over and start reeling in my line. I see my rod tip jitter as my lure dances just out of sight beneath the water surface. Only sporadic flashes of the gold back can be seen through the murky water.
As I stand at the shoreline retrieving my lure, hearing fallen poplar leaves crunching beneath my Asics sneakers and feeling a cool autumn breeze through my thin fall jacket, I notice a cold sensation on the back of my hand. I look down just in time to see the season’s first cluster of snowflakes quickly melting.