Do you know what yesterday was? Yes, April 1, which is popularly known as April Fool's Day. For A., however, April 1 means only one thing: Opening Day of Stream Fishing.
Better than Christmas, you know.
I am not exaggerating when I say that A. looks forward to the opening day of stream fishing starting about, oh, early December. Which happens to be when deer hunting season ends. There may be some desultory trapping and small game hunting in the winter, but nothing compares to the thrill of getting back out to fish the streams in the spring.
That's what he tells me, anyway. I must admit that I don't feel the thrill myself.
So A. loaded up Cubby and the fishing gear in a state of high anticipation yesterday morning, despite the fact that it had snowed six inches the night before and kept on snowing off and on all day.
The North Country says, "Here's your spring, suckers."
The fisherfolk returned after only a couple of hours, which surprised me, because I was pretty sure A. would not give up until they caught something. And he didn't. Give up, that is. He did catch something.
A. came bounding up on the porch and ordered me to go get the camera. "I have to get the tape measure!" he said.
Okay. So that must have been a successful excursion.
Indeed it was. With the aid of the camera and the tape measure, we were able to document that A. caught a 24-inch brown trout.
That is a damn big trout.
For those of you (me) who aren't sure how big a brown trout in a stream might usually get, let me just assure you that they very, very rarely get this big. This is by far the biggest fish A. has ever caught in a stream, and would probably have been big enough to earn him a New York Angler Achievement Award, had he brought it to the hardware store to get it officially weighed*.
He didn't do that, though, so he just has to be satisfied with the personal knowledge that he caught a giant fish.
A. was practically hysterical with excitement, which of course got the kids all worked up.
Obligatory group shot with enormous fish.
The fish was then borne inside with all due reverence to be gutted and cleaned at my kitchen sink.
With a captivated audience to the bloody mess.
I overheard the following from my spot on the couch, out of view of the disgusting proceedings:
Cubby: Hey, look! Its heart is still beating.
A.: Hey, cool! Some of the bugs in its stomach are still alive! Look, kids! See those hellgramites that are moving around?
SO SO GROSS.
Charlie: Can we save the hellgramites?
A. Sure. Put 'em in a jar of water. Mother, can we have a jar of water for the hellgramites?
Charlie: Yeah, it'll be like Cubby's eel! I'll keep them forever.
WHY MUST I BE A PARTY TO THE GROSSNESS. IN MY HOUSE.
The butchery thankfully ended shortly thereafter, and even more thankfully, the hellgramites didn't even make it to bedtime. I announced that they were dead at the bottom of the jar of water and therefore had to be dumped outside.
Anyway. That was a big-ass fish that A. is justifiably proud to have caught. And it has now all been recorded for posterity on the permanent record of the Internet.
* It would have been pretty funny to walk into the hardware store with an enormous slimy fish and ask to put it on their scales, though I'm sure it would hardly be the first time they've had that request at that particular rural hardware store.