The ritual was always the same. He would kick me out of bed at 4am. Mom would have poached eggs over toast for us ready on the table. We would discuss where we were going and any things of interest in the area. We would examine our rods and reels for wear. The first spinner of the day was tied on at the table to assure the knot was true in the light. Tying on a lure in the dark on stream many times was a recipe for disaster. The last thing he did before leaving the house was put on his hip boots. I always eyed up those hip boots. I wanted a pair just like them but they didn't come in boy sizes.We got in the van in the darkness and headed to our stream. Dad timed our arrival on stream to be as dawn broke. The trout seemed to be less weary in low light conditions. Many times the fog was still hugging the streams on our arrival.
Recently I went out on the last day of season. It was a tradition my dad and I made back when I had wet feet and endless energy. I put my chest waders on before I left the house. I made my poached eggs and toast before going out. It was really foggy as I drove to the stream. I headed to the same stream that I had caught my very first trout in many years before. I arrived in the dark and parked on the road. I pulled my vehicle way off the road because of the dense fog. I didn't want anyone to run into it.
The dead end driveway was long and a little spooky in the dark. I loved this stretch because it was a favorite of my dad and I. I had never seen another angler fishing it in over fifty years.
I waited to start fishing because it was still a little too dark. I heard something upstream. It sounded like another angler. I was really disappointed that I was beaten there. The sun started to come up and the fog was there in all its glory. I saw the other angler there in the distance. His image faded in and out of the mist. I could see he was an older gentleman. He was thin on hair and wore a pair of hip boots just like my dad's.
I told him about my stream and how I had never seen another soul on it. He didn't respond. He went back to fishing. He hooked up on a nice trout and landed it and put it in the creel. He told me the stream was all mine and to get fishing before the fog lifted. As he walked away the mist blurred his figure and he seemed to disappear before my eyes. On the way home I questioned if I had really seen him or if it was the magical fog bringing back memories of yesterday.