My switch to Alaska citizen is complete. I have an Alaska voting card. I’m paying Alaska property taxes. My vehicles have Alaska brown bear license plates. But most important, I qualified with Alaska DNR (at my advanced age) for an Alaska fishing, hunting, and trapping license. I’ll be on the lakes near Chena Hot Springs as soon as the ice thaws.  I already have rented two cabins for fishing from the State of Alaska.

With my mind on fishing, I wanted to relate a tale about a big one I caught.

The year was 1983. The place was the Chatooga River in northeastern Georgia in scenery you might have admired in the movie Deliverance.  My companions were a Clemson instructor named Ron Rash and my son Chris..

Ron was having a good day taking trout, several under a cutbank in shallower water.

I had struck out until–whoa–my line went rigid and the rod practically flew out of my hands.

My shout of joy mildly raised the interest of Rash and Chris.  I went into the water nearly to my belt as I tried to land what had to be a monster trout.

About that time,  my quarry rose like the shark in Jaws, and I saw its big clacking jaws.

I might have thrown down the rod; I’m not sure.

But I’m sure all that giant snapping turtle saw was my feet and butt as I churned the water to get back to shore.

If you think my fishing companions offered commiseration you’d be badly mistaken.  Chris was on the bank holding his stomach laughing, and Ron was a close second in the bemused category.

I might just finally forgive them one day. Nah, nah. Ain’t gonna happen.

PS No poet writes better about fishing than Mr. Rash