I am a brook fisherman at heart. I started as a young boy wandering around in central Vermont and learning how my heart was most pleased. I have saved a bit of verse that will help you to understand the love I have for a Vermont brook. I cannot give credit to its author as I don’t know who wrote this piece. I wish it was me, but I have to say it was not. Here is the piece of verse:
That I again my native hills had found,
the mossy rocks, the valley, and the
stream that used to hold me captive
to its sound,
And that I was a boy again.
Yes, a brook “…holds me captive to its sound.” In Vermont, there are so many small streams that, as John Gierach wrote, “…are just waiting for a fisherman with enough poetry in his soul to give them their due.”
Reading a stream is the key to success on a brook as well as any larger stream. The fisherman is looking for the likely places trout lie waiting for food to come on by. The current and flow are the writing on the page the fisherman reads trying to locate these lies. Drifting a worm on a hook and observing how it behaves in the flow and current are the education of a young fisherman. Later, when I graduated to casting a fly in place of a worm, the earlier learning I got with a worm proved invaluable.
There is something else going on when one is captive to a stream that tumbles through a brooktrout forest. The receptive fisherman will feel his soul become in touch with nature, and for some, in touch with something that resonates with time, the deep time that records history, not the history found in a book, but the history that author, William Least Heat-Moon, called a “deep map,” the kind of knowledge that people used to have that lived with nature all the time and needed this knowledge, this “deep map,” to survive.
I think what makes this happen is the ability to be a noticer, an observer of what you are surrounded by and immersed in. It is better not to have a mind full of expectation, but an open mind that is most favorable to see and permit your reality to be what you are a part of.
Fishing the stream and catching a trout become secondary to the place your spirit is communing with. Oh, you will catch your share of fish, but you will realize that catching a trout is not why you are there.
This is where I am with my brook fishing now. I want that time when my soul is one with nature, and I am at peace with my world.