I spot her from atop a bridge, mouth white and gills flaring as she feeds on ascending Heptagenids. Every once in awhile she rises, targeting one of the hundreds of thousands of midge trapped in the surface film above her position. This is my world.
Thirty-something minutes getting into position, baby steps so as not to cause a wave as I approach in silence.
Wait. Let the surface calm again. Rise. My heart rate increases.
First cast with a size 18 chironomid emerger. Bad drift and not close enough. Move your feet Gareth. More baby steps. Wait. Another rise. My heart rate increases further.
Second cast lands in her feeding lane…mend…heart pumping as the fly drifts towards me and over her head. And there it is, the tiniest of sips, and my fly disappears.
Rod tip raised gently. Tension, but no commotion. Does she know she’s hooked? A little extra tension. The world explodes. Now she knows.
She darts for the nearby ranunculus. I steer her away, towards me, but trying to keep her upstream. She jumps. Twice. Fury with fins.
After a lifetime, she rests without fuss, cruising in my net. My thanks, a big smile, and she slowly glides from my hand, headed back towards her swim with no more than a casual stroll. I smile again.
This is my world.