Skunked by fish

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fly fishing

Our drive was two long hours, then we parked next to the stream. I’d waited for
this day to come. ‘Twas almost like a dream.
I saddled up old Cyruss. He was ready for a ride. We’d chosen South Boone
Trailhead and we’d fish along creekside.
My good friend rode a sorrel, his four-old Arab mare. We’d rode this trail so
many times. No way to count, I swear.
We always caught a mess of fish. The fishing was the best. Just bait your hook
and toss the line. The fish would do the rest.
We’d fry the trout in butter, heat a can of cream-style corn. Then fill the pan with
spuds, two cowboys cooking up a storm.
But this time we didn’t use our brains and set a lofty goal. We took no food, just
sleeping bags, some worms and a fishing pole.
We figured we’d be eating fish at dinner time that night. But those danged old
fish were sneaky. They just wouldn’t take a bite.
They say to spit right on your worm. It’s known to bring good luck. But all it did
was make the worm too slippery for the hook.
We fished all afternoon and every cast turned to a waste. Two cowboy’s bellies
would be growling, not a fish to taste.
That night while in my sleeping bag, I couldn’t fall asleep. I had to find some food
darn sure was feeling six feet deep.
So, I rustled through my bags and found a year-old Snickers treat. A mouse had
chewed one end off, but still left a bite to eat.
I split the piece of candy, gave my pardner half the cut. Then popped the piece of
chocolate in our mouths right to the gut.
Our tiny piece of Snickers bar was heaven to the taste. Especially for two grown-up men whose brains were made of paste.
The morning light came early. We both cast a desperate line. Not a single fish
was biting. So, I took that as a sign.
I tore my pole apart and stuffed it in my saddle bags. Then saddled up old Cyruss
‘fore my stomach turned to rags.
Well, I guess I’ve learned a lesson. Carry in your favorite dish. And when it
comes to fishing, you ain’t smarter than the fish.

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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.

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