Last Lure

By Marilyn Borell

October 27, 2014

Last Lure

Waiting to take the ferry across Alaska’s Russian River to the more fruitful south bank, I poke around the breast pockets of a fishing vest I haven’t worn in years and come up with a fly, one tied by my father at my kitchen table in the late 1990’s. I know this, because Dad always pried the business end of the hook a little more open when he finished. The hook is dressed in hunter orange hair, wrapped tight on the shaft with black thread, secured with strokes of my clear nail polish.

I begin fishing with the commercial fly already rigged to my line. Plosh! It strikes water, disappears, and I feel in the line between thumb and forefinger the sinker’s dash-dot-dash progress along the rocky bottom. I hook a sockeye that’s been too long out of saltwater, as red on the outside as its now mushy flesh. Feel indifferent when it works itself loose and the fly sails back. I take up the slack, fling the line overhead. Watch it sink, sense the drift, than abrupt stop. A stubborn snag. When I pull free, the fly stays behind.

Dad loved this pristine river more than any other. As do I. I knot his fly to the leader with trepidation. I’ll likely lose it. Plosh! Dash-dot-dash-dot. Retrieve, fling. Dad, fool one more sockeye for me.


Photo "Midsummer's Dream" provided by Christopher Michel, via Flickr creative commons license.

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