The next time you get to the lake you are drawn to the north end again, and the inlet. The day is hot, and as calm as the former day was windy.
The area around the inlet is shallow, more shallow than you expected it to be.
Where the big brown was holding you kick the bottom with your flippers. This time there are no fish holding. The wind was your friend the last time you were here.
You have the muddler on, and you range up and down the reed line throwing it here and there. You let it sit, and you strip it in. There are no fish working, and you raise none. Then you see a rainbow swimming lazily toward you. He and his shadow are distinct against the sunlit bottom. You get ready to cast, but he sees you and turns and heads back where he came from.
You decide that if you're going to let your fly sit you might as well have the damsel on. You make the switch and cast the damsel back where the rainbow disappeared.
You can think of few things more peaceful than sitting in the sun on a calm lake waiting to see if a fish will find your fly.
In the midst of your meditations you catch a movement out of the corner of your eye. It's a rainbow finning slowly along. He turns this way and that, and then begins moving leisurely in the direction of your fly. You can't tell if he sees it, and you lose him in the glare of the sun on the water.
You wait. You almost jump when he takes the fly with a big splash.
You hold him in the water and wait for him to revive. But he doesn't. You bring him up and realize that the bend in his back won't unbend. You can't remember this happening before, but you figure in his thrashing in the net he broke his back. You try again, but he isn't moving.
You seldom keep a fish for the table, but you are happy to when you need to. So you kick up the little inlet channel to where you can stand--it's just around the corner now with the low water, get your pocket knife out of your pocket and take care of business.
You kick back out, the pan-ready fish stowed in the net behind your seat, and fish some more.
Once again, even with the calm conditions, you get a fish to take the muddler stripped fast over the surface. To net this fish you have to take the cleaned fish out of the net and put it in the stripping apron. You tell this fish you're going to let him go, but you don't think he believes you as he rests on the remains of one of his fellows.
You do let him go, and keep stripping the muddler, and the inlet area gives up another beautiful brown.
You catch a couple more smaller fish, and then kick for home.
You honor the fish you killed by frying him up just right. And he honors you by being delicious.