restricted access Steelheading
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107 Into the storm-dark Sacramento I waded again and again that winter, casting bright dancing spoons on fine soft line with a long willowy rod, threading the lures deep among the bottom’s stones through snagging sunken trees seeking steelhead till the water iced my wadered legs to frosted stone and drove me back up the bank, shivering. Hour upon hour, day upon day, I fished and no fish but when it came it was a locomotive runaway on a downgrade, black and fast and roaring steam, stripping off line against the drag in a high clear singing. The fish was on perhaps five headlong seconds, rose up and spat the spoon back, a luminous orange bullet coming straight at my nose. That pulsing in my chest, the sharp coppery taste in my mouth, lifted the bone chill of untallied days working the spoon to the bottom among the rocks and roots which is the whole story: You are heading way out and deep down, a bright bit tipping the thinnest tether, when something big hits and you feel blessed simply to know its name. robert aquinas mcnally Steelheading for Mac David Osborn (1913–1988) ...