TITLE: Beyond The River
GENRE: Literary Fiction
Brad and Dean are on a fly-fishing trip in the wilds of Northern California. Dean has just caught up with Brad at the river's edge.
“So, where are all the fish? You have them on a stringer somewhere?” Dean asked.
“Stringers have no place in this sport.” The thought of shoving a metal rod into a trout’s mouth, running it out the gill, and pulling a nylon rope through disgusted him. Slow and terrible death.
“Really? Whenever my old man and his buddies went for perch on Lake Erie, they’d return with stringers full of fish. Mostly they’d pull up with a buzz from whatever they’d been drinking and smoking, but they always brought fish home.”
Brad looked over his shoulder and said, “A stringer with trout in a place like this will get you chewed out. It might even get your ass kicked.”
“I thought this was a genteel sport.”
“Trout fishermen don’t use them.” Brad advanced further out into the river.
“What are you supposed to do? Smash the fish’s head against a rock? Wrap it in a fern, like Hemingway? That seemed to be his preferred method. Is that acceptable?”
“No. You don’t kill the fish. You let it go.”
“And why would anyone do such a thing?”
“It’s called catch and release.”
“What’s the point of standing for hours in nut-numbing water if you aren’t going to keep what you catch?”
“You don’t even eat fish,” Brad said.
“It has nothing to do with eating them. It’s the principle of the thing. When you win, you do what you want. You get to kill it.”