Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Without moving a muscle, I slowly extend my hand to release the catch on the reel, then give the ultra-light pole just the right flick, unleashing a full five yards of line in an arc above my head to position the Ryman III dry fly with steel highlights absolutely perfectly. Four times, each one just as perfect. But the fish doesn’t budge, too busy watching his little slice of river go by.

Just what I ought to be doing if I ever truly want to understand his motives.

So I cover my body with plaster, let it dry, and then remove the shell in two careful halves. Then melt some tires. Pour a layer of melted rubber into each half. Join the two halves with adjustable leather straps. Insert a clear plastic window at eye-level. Paint the whole thing the color of water.

Attach little balls of lead at the waist and a flexible rubber tube (say a radiator hose) at the mouth. Then slip silently into the current. Anchor myself to the riverbed with a metal stake, stay motionless and watch the river from inside while the fish get used to my presence.

Gaze forever at the little things upstream caught in the transparent block. Study the particular speed of things underwater. They appear quicker from above and slower from below.

Hide the whole thing, after oiling it to protect it, in waterproof wooden box buried near the spot in order to avoid the risk inherent in crossing the lawn in a diving outfit. Which would require me (as a supposed stranger) to say hello.
Olivier Cadiot, Colonel Zoo