We walked slowly towards the sea, my father and I. He’s always the first one to ready his fly and start casting. Which usually means he’s the first to catch fish. We’d come to a place promising more sea-trout than we could ever imagine and he was a man who always caught fish. The result could only be one thing.
I sat down on my knees to tie on my fly. It was a heavy, hook #10 white fly with a silver-bead head making it tip beneath the water’s surface. The sun stood high and a white fly seemed like the perfect choice. And as I twisted the line and pulled it through the hole, a scream of excitement echoed in the valley. “I’ve got one!” He shouted. I had to smile. Of course he’d caught one. Before I’d even readied my flyrod. A beautiful sea-trout reaching for the 1-kilo mark (2.2 pounds). It was Silver from the north, and it promised good things.
I waded into the current and stood above the thinnest part of the strait and casted
forward so that the current could take it. A fish struck whilst I’d turned towards my father and took me by surprise, but I managed to hook it despite that. And then the battle began. Hurriedly trying to pull the spare-line back into the reel, whilst also giving the fish room to fight. It is battles like these that breathe life into our minds. And when they are done they pull me towards Hemingway’s beautiful The Old man And the Sea and it makes me resonate with the old man fighting the great Marlin, more than ever, perhaps. But this is no Marlin. This is pure northern silver.
The power of a fish and the current combined is a force to be reckoned with. But it didn’t work. I was too strong. Then it moved to the one thing all fishermen fear; seaweed. I tried all I could to keep it from moving towards it. But the fish managed and got stuck in the seaweed, and I called for my father and his net to run towards the seaweed and save my catch. And then, in a moment of euphoria, my father netted the great fish and gave the handle to me. I gave him my flyrod, wet my hands, removed the hook, held the fish for a moment, slightly, and then let it go. “Thank you,” I thought. That is the difference between the old man and I. He loves the fish like a brother but cannot let him go. I can.
Then the sea opened and fish started rising. Everywhere. And when I say everywhere I truly do mean everywhere. And fish ran through the strait and rose and some were hooked although most got away. And some were taken home, I presume and eaten. And some were returned into the sea so that they’d survive the journey towards the beautiful fresh water of rivers. And we caught plenty. It was a good day.
Story and photos from Martin Tilrem, a Norwegian writer studying Media & Communication.