by Letters to the Editor, January 14, 2010
I wrote this while I was in Mendocino County Jail wishing that I was out fishing on the beautiful Navarro River with my son Noah. I thought you would enjoy it.
Navarro — It's 5am and my alarm wakes me up. I brew up some coffee and I pour me a cup. I wake up my boy and I pack up our gear. “Go to sleep in the truck, I'll wake you when we're near.” We drive down the coast as the sun starts to break. We talk about how many casts it will take. As we reach the Navarro and look for our first spot, we reminisce about all the big steelies we’ve caught. There's cars at the best spot and the second spot too. So we know exactly what we need to do. We go to Hendy Woods Park to the big log of safety. We walk through the redwoods as it’s light enough to see. As we reach the great hole we walk with all care, knowing that if we are loud, the fish we will scare. Because it rained last night the water is a clear “snappin’ green.” But as we peer into the log hole there is no fish to be seen. I tell my son to cast right up there and let it drift through so he puts on some roe and knows just what to do. He casts where I suggest and to our surprise his rod doubles over and he looks back to my eyes. The fish races downstream as Noah edges over a hump. How many times will this silver beauty jump? The fish fights really hard but only for a while. As Noah feels the fish tiring he gives me a smile. Noah eases the great steelhead into his two hands at last, posing for a picture with my camera's flash. He removes the barbless hook and resuscitates the fish slow. He is only too happy to let this fish go.