The Big One

by DanWolgemuth on June 18, 2010

I was just minutes from concluding a half a day on the North Platte River in Casper, Wyoming. By all accounts it had been a good day… minus the successful capture of “The Big One.” With the location of our disembarking in sight, I saw my strike indicator submerge with authority. A quick, but appropriate snap on my fishing pole and I had hooked my prey.

The minutes that followed were a test of my ability to match the strength, cunning and will of this beautiful Rainbow Trout. This was my seventh fish of the day, and it was obviously different from the other six. The knowing gleam in the eye of Thomas, our guide, validated what I had surmised; this was a special catch.

With the fly rod bent in an unimaginable way, I hoisted the fish out of the water and toward the waiting net. With that effort I was privy to my first full view… and then just as quickly my line went limp. Gone… escaped… only to remain in the image snapped in my mind.

The big one. I lost the big one.

As I processed my thoughts, I was stunned by my complete lack of disappointment. Wasn’t I supposed to be forlorn?

What washed over any and all sense of disappointment were some incredible images from our memorable float trip down the North Platte. It was my daughter, Alli, catching the first fish of the day… with considerably more ease than was appropriate. It was Mary, my boat partner, on day one asking our guide if he would be willing to handle her beautiful catch while I took the picture. Her smile fueled me. It was the richness of the adventure, the power of the surroundings, the laughter that accompanied the expedition, the joy that intersected with each catch… I had caught the big one the moment our boats entered the water.

And so… no failed attempt could squelch what had already been deeply embraced… together, on the river, pole in hand, stories in the making, the big one had been landed long before.

The escape of a wonderful Rainbow Trout was no match for the joy I had already deposited.

Yes indeed… I caught the Big One.

“Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together.” ~ Psalm 98:8 (ESV)

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