The Last Cast

7 comments / Posted on / by

Photo By Louis Cahill

I guess I can learn from my mistakes.

Her name was Penny. She was adorable, even before she smiled and when she did it was like sunshine. She was happy and carefree, I was angry and self destructive. I was about to graduate from high school and all I wanted was to get as far from my home town as possible. I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend and it shocked the hell out of me when Penny kissed me in the teachers bathroom. We went out a few times but I was too busy being a reckless and stupid kid to see what I was throwing away when I blew out of town without saying goodbye. I thought about Penny a lot in the lonely years before I found and married the love of my life.

I thought about her the other day while I was floating the Watauga river in Tennessee. It had been a weird day of fishing. One of those days when nothing works for long. As soon as you get the hatch figured out, it’s over. Nymphs worked on and off but their boring to fish from a boat. Streamer fishing is my go to when floating but I hadn’t even gotten a follow in the morning. I tied one on in the afternoon and produced a nice rainbow pretty quickly. Then nothing for the next hour and a half.

Two hundred yards from the take out I was ready to give it up. My buddy Brad was pushing us down stream and Kent was starting to collect the beer bottles and get his gear together. I started reeling up. I had taken up a fair bit of line when something caught my eye.

There was a tree. A bush really but a big one, on the bank at river right. The water was pretty flat but deep. There were bushes all along the bank but this one hung out a good eight feet over the water. It’s leaves brushed the water but there was a gap in the foliage just up stream. I just had a feeling. There had to be a big fish under there.

One of the first things I remember learning about drift boat fishing is that water behind the boat belongs to the past. This spot was way behind the boat and we were a long way off of that bank. That gap in the foliage was maybe three feet wide and Brad was pushing downstream. It was an impossible shot but I hate seeing a window close. I stripped line off of my reel as hard as I could.

Thank God for all the time I’ve spent practicing my double haul for salt water fishing. Thank God for my Thomas and Thomas six weight Apex. I wish someone had seen that cast. The fly dropped in the gap a foot off the bank. I let it drift way up under that bush, then stripped. On the third strip the line stopped hard. In a few minutes I was holding a beautiful brown trout.

I almost let that window close. I almost gave up on a day of so so fishing, but something inside said “no”. Something said, “go for it, this moment will never come again.” I took the cast and caught the fish of the day. As that brown disappeared into the deep green water I thought, “thanks Penny.” I guess I can learn from my mistakes.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

7 thoughts on “The Last Cast

  1. Looks like you stole the heading Lastcast. There is a guy in the Midwest that has had that web site for ages. He is a well known, professional outdoor writer. Oh well. His site is Kinda funny, LOL


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...