Filed under: Angling, Books | Tags: Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America
An excerpt from Richard Brautigan’s “Trout fishing in America.”
“I threw out a salmon egg and let it drift down over that rock and WHAM! a good hit! and I had the fish on and it ran hard downstream, cutting at an angle and staying deep and really coming on hard, solid and uncompromising, and then the fish jumped and for a second I thought it was a frog. I’d never seen a fish like that before.
God-damn! What the hell!
The fish ran deep again and I could feel its life energy screaming back up the line to my hand. The line felt like sound. It was like an ambulance siren coming straight at me, red light flashing, and then going away again and then taking to the air and becoming an air-raid siren.
The fish jumped a few more times and it still looked like a frog, but it didn’t have any legs. Then the fish grew tired and sloppy, and I swung and splashed it up the surface of the creek and into my net.
The fish was a twelve-inch rainbow trout with a huge hump on its back. A hunchback trout. The first I’d ever seen. The hump was probably due to an injury that occurred when the trout was young. Maybe a horse stepped on it or a tree fell over in a storm or its mother spawned where they were building a bridge.
There was a fine thing about that trout. I only wish I could have made a death mask of him. Not of his body though, but of his energy. I don’t know if anyone would have understood his body. I put it in my creel.
Later in the afternoon when the telephone booths began to grow dark at the edges, I punched out of the creek and went home. I had that hunchback trout for dinner. Wrapped in cornmeal and fried in butter, its hump tasted sweet as the kisses of Esmeralda.”