Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Some years ago I was out fishing with my brother-in-law. It was just a day trip. We were up around Conifer, here in Colorado, fishing along the head waters of the Platte River. We had hiked in about a mile. We had both caught a few really nice trout. My brother in-law, Robert, moved further downstream from where I fishing.
I had found me a honey hole! I had pulled out three nice rainbow trout. And since I had forgotten my stringer, I had taken a willow branch to make one. I had the three fish from the honey hole and two others from further up stream. I set my stick of fish on the bank and moved off about 10 yards or so. I threw my line in and watched as my grasshopper slowly went in circles at the end of this honey hole.
All of a sudden, my grasshopper disappeared, my pole bent down, and the fight was on!
I set the hook, reeled in a bit, pulled back on the rod, and then reeled some more. I was now at the edge of the bank trying to land this fish. Then he jumped! Man, he was huge! Maybe two pounds, the biggest yet.
Well, I fought that bugger for what seemed like half an hour (but it was probably just a few minutes). I landed the fish and took him off my hook. I walked back to where my stick of fish were.
The stick was not there!
I looked high and low for my fish. I couldn't find them anywhere. I paced up and down the bank of the river from where I had caught the big one to where I thought I had left the others on the stick.
About that time, Robert showed up with his fish and a big old grin on his face.
That didn't help things at all, the braggart. Now I would have to hear ALL about how he caught his fish. I couldn't swap stories with him, 'cause I had no fish to show for it. I told him about the big fish I had, but I couldn't find my stringer of the other fish. He asked if I maybe hadn't gone far enough up river. Maybe he was right. I told him I was going to go look.
Now, along our side of the river, the grass was about three feet tall. You could see where you walked through it. As I walked away from Robert and a little around the bend, I saw where someone else had walked, and then off our path and behind some bushes.
I'm thinking that some other fisherman found my fish and walked off with them. So now I'm ready to chew someone's butt for taking my fish!
I followed the pushed down grass, went further around the bend of the river, and saw that the new trail went around this big willow bush. I went storming around that bush, ready to get my fish.
There sat this BIG FAT old bear. He was setting on his butt and he had my fish. He was eating them fish like we eat corn on the cob. He was smacking his lips and looking at me like, "What are ya going to do? You want a piece of me, or what?" Well, I pulled up real short and quick.
I looked at the bear. He was looking at me, half of a fish in his mouth.
The last thing I remember seeing as I turned to run was that fat old bear with the stick in his mouth like a toothpick. And, I swear, he was smacking his lips as he got off his fat old butt. I never knew that I had wings on my feet, 'til was running on top of the grass -- not through it, but on top of it! I let out a holler that would have made a southern rebel proud. Or scared the crap out of him. I think I hollered something about a bear.
I saw Robert in front of me. He was making pretty good time through the grass also. I passed Robert and he let out this funny little sound. I guess he figured that was it -- he was bear food. That must have given him a jolt. He passed me like I was setting still! (He cheated. . . he has longer legs than I do.)
For every step he took, I was beating feet like three steps to his one, and he was pulling ahead.
I swear that I could feel that old bear breathing down the back of my neck. Robert was now almost over the hill. I was way behind. I still had my fishing pole in my hand. I figured that was how they would identify what was left of my body. And, boy, was I ever going to haunt Robert's butt after this!
I made it to the top of the hill. Robert had at least stopped. I think it was just to see if the bear got me so he could direct the rangers to where he last saw me.
I passed his butt. He hollered at me to wait. No way! But I did slow down enough to look behind me. That old bear had come out from behind that bush and maybe made three strides. I had dropped my prize fish, and that damn bear, I swear, waved at us and ate my big fish, just like he didn't have a care in the world. I don't remember if Robert still had his fish or not. I didn't care. I was wondering about how to clean my shorts.