Guilty as Charged

 This is a bad, wrongly focused photo of a beautiful fish. Chrome bright, fresh in – this American River Steelhead, born of hatchery. She took the fly a rod and a half length from me in one and a half feet of water; above her silvery frame, misty fog floated across the cold water’s surface. First cast! Incredible, and yet, as I wright this I wish I hadn’t taken the extra time to set up for the photo, what must have felt like an eternity to a creature filled with fear. Should I, or shouldn’t I…that thought raced through my head. God, she is so bright. I need her image for my Blog, for promotion.

My camera bag was ten feet behind me, laying on the bank. Dam! I stripped a bunch of line off the spool, like a treacherous spider extruding sticky silk as it moves through the air,  I retreat to my gear bag, leaving the fish to hang in the river. If it comes off… it comes off. I dig out my Canon from my bag; sling the camera strap around my neck and run to the water’s edge, simultaneously realling in, retreave the slack to see if the fish is still there. Unfortunately, it is. I real and pull this lovely fish( now tired) towards me.  This is so stupidly awkward, so selfishly uncaring.  I pull her to me but not so shallowly that she can not breath… reach for her tail and hold her against her will. Clumsily, I press off several photos, unhook her( one more shot) and let her go. She seems strong as she races away to her watery home in the depths of a river’s current. None the less, My excitement has been replaced by a fullness of shame. I will not do this again. I tell myself that, when by myself, I shall show a little more caring  and not suspend another steelhead like a puppet on a string.

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