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Shoulda Been There Yesterday

As a fishermen you spend a lot of your time looking for that special place where no other angler has been before; virgin water. Maybe you travel to Montana, Alaska, Argentina, New Zealand, Kamchatka, the South Pacific, or the Indian Ocean. And maybe when you get there the fishing is everything you ever wanted. Or maybe the fishing is a little tough, the wind blowing kinda hard, the water's sorta murky. Maybe the guide/shop-owner/local says “you shoulda been there last week” or, “you shoulda come next week.” When you hear that you know somebody was there last week, and somebody will be there next week. In other words: it’s not virgin water.
Then one day you decide to drive to that little blue squiggle on the map that you’ve always thought about fishing. You don’t even know if there are fish there. And maybe when you get there you don’t find a parking lot, and maybe you don’t find a red Hills Bro’s coffee can in the bushes either. Perhaps you have to hike a little to find any water that looks fishy. You find some fishy water, fish it for an hour and catch nothing. So maybe you go home. Or not. Maybe you fish another hour and move a fish. Then you move another, and then you catch one. And another. And another. They’re native, or maybe they’re not but they’ve been there long enough that all signs of hatchery origin have disappeared. Maybe they’ve been there long enough you could even call them wild. The fish: beautiful, and the water: virgin.
You fish until dark, and drive home smiling. Thoughts of bright, strong, and just-a-little-naïve fish swirling through your head. Maybe now, Monday morning, when you close your eyes at work, you see fish flashing after your fly. And maybe your fishing buddy calls you up and asks how the fishing was. You say, “oh, it was just a little creek,” or, “there were a few small fish.” Something like that. Or, maybe, if your buddy is a really good buddy you say, “oh man, you shoulda been there…”

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