Ed called at about 7 AM. His voice was low. “Shouldn’t we go get the Pram?” he said, almost whispering into the phone. “Probably,” I replied. “There’s a big storm coming in today, and the river’s gonna go well over flood stage,” I mused.
Julie and Lisa were nearby, learning from our conversation about that we were going to mess up another Saturday. But it seemed a necessity, and anyway they were resigned to our shenanigans during salmon season.
“Meet you in Rickreall in an hour,” we agreed. Our unutterable understanding was that we would bring our fly rods. Duh.
By 10 we were anchored and casting. The water was perfect, the river deserted. Gales swept in from the ocean. Curtains of hail pelted us and covered the deck of the Pram. Jimmy stood on the levee and laughed at us. Four grabs later, neither of us had managed to hold to a fish longer than a few seconds.
‘We should really pull the Pram.” But we kept on fishing.
“I have to be in Portland tonight to deliver the keynote speech at a banquet,” Ed reminded me. I remained silent, focused on each cast and retrieve, looking for signs of salmon. “I could probably leave here by 5 and still make the part where I’m supposed to speak,” he muttered.
We saw a fish roll below us, and re-positioned to cover the fish. Another fish rolled further downriver, so we repositioned again. We both cast and I got grabbed.
We pulled over to beach the fish. GR stood on the shore, cheering us on. I held the fish in cool November water. The river was coming up already. This was likely my last king of the season. A prime, chrome buck. I let go and that fine fish swam off into the green.
Kneeling in the water, I said a little prayer of thanks, heartfelt joy for the privilege of touching the salmon. I cried. I do that often when I listen to Country Western songs and think about chinook salmon. Go figure.
We never pulled the Pram that day. Ed made the keynote address in his fishing clothes. The river went well over flood stage. The Pram survived. And we were dreaming about the salmon season to come.
Beyond redemption, we fessed up – unnecessarily – Julie and Lisa know us.