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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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The Take

Posted by Mark Sunday, December 1, 2013

Photo by-Marty Sheppard

The Take
The cast unfurls with precision and power, delivering the line across the pool.  The line releases its energy to the leader and finally the fly which turns over completely, gently touching down at the far end of the shady lie.  In an instant the fly is fishing, riding the subtle river currents, probing and searching for a willing fish.  The rhythm of the fly swing is automatic.  Rod, line, fly and angler are one.  The dry fly swings lazily across the pool, leaving a V-wake in its path.  The ripples from the waking fly spreads ever outward behind it and are soon enveloped by the tumultuous rapids at the bottom of the tail out.  The fly swings through the heart of the run now, appearing to float on air as it dances through the crystal clear water, tethered to a gossamer thread. 

Then it happens.  An almost imperceptible bulge of water appears behind the fly and the unseen fish tracks it for a few feet.  The silver body twists in the current, tail pumping to intercept this object that has peaked its curiosity.  Weather the fish moves to the fly out of instinct, hunger, territorial reasons or just playfulness we will never know for sure.  But in that instant, that brilliant instant when the fish moves to the fly and finally eats, it is as if there is nothing else going on in the world but what is happening right now, right here.  The push of water is the first visual queue, then the flash as the fish turns.  The fish has grabbed the fly in a vicious sideways slash and has now bolted for his earlier lie. 

 Time stops as what has happened at the end of the line transfers back down the line to the rod, then through the rod and to the angler who stands with shaking hands, the recipient of what can only be described as high voltage electricity.  The angler who is holding barely a pound of total tackle in his hands is now directly connected to something that weighs over 10 times that weight.  This is pure, anadromous rainbow trout, straight from the ocean, rested, strong and built for speed.  The rod now throbs and bounces to life as the fly has found perfect purchase in the corner of the fish’s mouth. The reel barks loudly in short staccato bursts as the fish rolls and tumbles trying to escape from his newly found predicament. The fish launches itself into the air, valiantly trying to shake the hook to no avail.  Seeing no hope in playing the short game, the fish now heads for the far end of the pool. The reels sound goes from the short burst bark to a steady whir. The steady whir is soon replaced by another noise altogether as the pitch of the pawls riding inside the gear increases to a howling scream.  The fish peels line from the reel, searching for the back door of the pool and hopefully freedom, testing the limits of tackle, gear and fisherman. 

Again the fish goes airborne; sometime in the air the fly pulls free of the writhing silver fish and quickly the line goes slack. Immense wavelengths from the release of tension travel the length of the fly line back to the angler and it is over. The fish is gone in an instant; the angler is left with only the sound of the final splash of the fish and his loudly beating heart echoing across the now serene and glassy tail out. His stance on the rock perch is wavering and unsteady. The adrenaline from the brief encounter courses through his body. The feeling of this experience plays over in his mind as he slowly winds up the line. Taking a seat on a river side rock, he puts the rod down, the fly still dangling in the water.  He lays back and looks at the sky letting the moment wash over him.  As his quickly beating heart returns to normal rhythm, his breathing comes easier now.  He suddenly feels as alive as he has ever been. The need to land the fish was secondary; the encounter itself was the primary focus. There is no way to know when that next 45 seconds of pandemonium will happen again but he will be ready, he will always be ready and searching for The Take.

Ephesians 6:17- And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:


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For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.(Rom 1:20)