Adventures of Mac Lightfoot: Was that a Beaver?

Mac and Silver were out cruising the road system one day considering where to wet a line. It was mid October, that time when trout are looking for a last meal and ice will soon form over the tops of the lakes. The thermometer read a balmy 18 degrees, at this alpine-pass lake at about 10 in the morning. 

The sun's direct rays were blocked by the imposing mountains which snugged tight to the lake's edge. Mac and Silver clambered down the hill, sliding on the slick grass, and caught glimpse of a lake half-covered in a thin sheet of ice. It's a tough time of year for the addicted fishermen - open water receding and ice not yet thick enough to support them. They agreed to give it a try, muscled the sky-blue raft from the snow machine trailer and kicked it down the slippery slope. A bit more dragging found them ready to launch, sweating from the exertion, fingers numb from the cold.

Three and a half years prior, Mac and his wife, Carmella, were fishing in a Susitna Valley lake when she made an astounding catch. Having spent the better part of the day playing with small trout, Carmella's rod bent double as she strained the small trout pole well past the 6-pound rating. Slowly she gained ground and brought a rod and reel setup to the surface. 

That Shakespeare Patriot, a 5 foot, 4-8 pound spinning rod, was in Mac's hand that very day three and a half year's later when he and Silver heard a loud splashing sound that was either a beaver's tail slapping the water or an enormous fish re-entering the aqueous medium.

Mac and Silver were immediately in a reeling race to see who could get their bait to the fish first. Lightfoot held the lucky rod and sent the bait into the vicinity of the near tsunami-sized ripples emitting from the trout's wake. Three, two, one - the rod bent double and pulled sideways before Mac could comprehend. The drive-by resulted in a well-hooked fish, but on a #12 hook and 4-pound test. Within 10 seconds, the fish had taken nearly all the line from the little reel. And to make matters more dire, it had swam to the lake's bottom through the plant growth and then turned 90 degrees and went airborne. 

Mac's rod tip was pinned to the water and Silver rowed furiously to get them into position to free the line. Mac could only squeal and flail his arms about in an effort to keep pace with the fish. Silver was a wizard on the oars, they freed the line, and somehow remained tight to the trout. The big fish now took several blazing runs and spectacular jumps, but Mac had settled in to a rhythm and the end was close to hand. The 25 1/2 - inch rainbow hen was a spectacular fish. And that Shakespeare rod, now 11 years since being rescued from the depths by Carmella, was recently used by her youngest son, a three-year-old strapping lad, to land his first trout.