I guess a man can classify himself as a real fisherman when he has sons of his own, and he begins to teach them, and watch them, and glory with them as they work at becoming fishermen. And, then, he can smile, and even laugh as he watches the man who taught him, his father, move in and teach and fish with those sons, his grandsons.
I remember we were having a big family gathering on Mill Meadow Creek. I, with my family, arrived early, and while my wife and I, and our daughters started to pitch camp, my older sons immediately started fishing. Along towards evening, Dad and mother pulled in. As they stepped out of their car, Sam, then about eight years old, now the editor the Utah Fishing & Outdoors magazine, walked up to his grandfather, and said, "Grandpa, I can't fish anymore, because I have caught my limit."
And his granddad said, "Oh, don't worry about that, you can help me catch my limit."
All of the family, but Sam, pitched in and helped my parents unload and make camp. Sam disappeared. Just as it was getting dark, he came into camp, walked up to his granddad, and said, "Now neither one of us can fish; I just caught your limit." His grandfather was a little bit chagrined, but what could he say.
My sons and I enjoyed fishing with that old fishing partner, my father. And then there was the last trip. We were at Black Canyon, my all time favorite fishing stream. Dad was out on the creek alone. I became worried about him, and asked my mother which direction he had gone, up or down. She said that he had gone down stream, so I went looking for him.
I found him fishing in a beautiful hole about 15 feet wide and forty feet long. It was deep, and there were some wild currants and wild roses hanging over the far bank, covering part of the hole. I told dad, "I'll bet there is a big one under that brush."
And he said, "Yea, I've been trying to get him interested, but can't; why don't you try it?" I said, "I can't; my pole is back at camp."
He insisted that I take his. So, I walked up to the top of the hole, made a cast across the stream, and let the current carry the bait down the hole and under the brush. Suddenly we watched the line take off, racing against the current. The line went to the top of the hole, turned, and raced to the bottom of the hole. We both knew that a large trout was the power behind the racing line. I applied a little pressure as the fish plowed into the rapids at the bottom of the hole, and he turned, flying under the water, and then he became airborne, leaping completely out of the stream, a very large, fat, rainbow. He seemed to hang in the air for a long time, then he flipped his mighty head, the hook came out of his mouth, and he dived back into the water and disappeared.
Dad said, "D D Di-id you see that?"
I said, "Yes, I saw that. I am sorry that I lost your fish. It must have been at least 6 to 8 pounds." That was the last time we fished with my old fishing partner. He had a fatal heart attack some time after that trip. I have wished many times over the years that he had kept his pole, and that he had been able to tie into that big rainbow and feel its fighting strength as it plowed up and down that Black Canyon hole.
And as I look back over the years and remember the times that I was "too busy to go fishing," I shed an inward tear. Life is short. Fishing trips are far too short, and the man with the horribly sharp scythe patiently waits--putting an end to fishing trips and fishing partnerships.