Calm and Chaos

by | May 9, 2021 | 5 comments

Some of it winds and bends in line with the tall grasses in the breeze. This is meandering meadow water that glistens and swoons against the low angles of a fading sun. Trout thrive here, protected in the deep cool water, among shade lines that are artfully formed by long weeds that wag and flutter in the current. You could swear the tips of those weeds are trout tails — until they’re not. Maybe some are.

These places are quiet. The surrounding earth harbors a tranquility that forces every angler to be thoughtful — to slow down. Even eager, hasty fishermen can feel it. The soft calm sets deep in your soul if you stay for very long. And it’s impossible to rush through such a place with any aggression. These waters breed quietude. They ask for respondent silence. Calm waters request us to match their pace.

Some have no patience for these kinds of places. They wade too swiftly, making shadows or pushing waves where they should be casting. And the refinement of presentation it takes to fool a few fish seems a chore not worth the effort. It’s not for everyone. But others savor the opportunity.

The calm waters of a river are like a church sanctuary. They encourage a measure of reverent respect, even if you don’t much believe what’s in there.

Photo by Bill Dell

— — — — — —

Then some of it roars with turbulence, breaking against rocks, bending and merging, blending and banging along downstream — all of it in a rhythmic symphony. Water slams against boulders, plunges over shelves and drops into holes through the riverbed.

Listen close, and it all happens on a six-eight count, with percussive accents beating against the steady backdrop of whitewater — a strong, constant force that crescendos and dies, like the rhythm of the ocean surf, multiplied tenfold, with waves clapping and spreading into foam until the endless bubbles break up, dissipating left and right in stereo sound.

But these rushing, crashing waters are chaos to the uninitiated. It’s intimidating at first, and then soothing, after seasons of immersion in a welcome water that rocks and glides the day away. The current cradles the fearless angler who finds comfort in the arms of a wild river.

The heaviest runs attract the bold of heart, those full of adventure and undaunted by the real chance of falling in. Some come for the challenge or the risk, while others are pulled into the chaos of sounds and surging currents because the rest of their life is drowned out for once — mercifully suspended for a period of time. Wade into these waters with an open heart, and all tangent thoughts are washed away.

The fishing here requires a focus and attention like none else. The drifts are targeted, short and aggressive. Mistakes are amplified and unforgiven. Here, the water churns and mixes narrow lanes and powerful chutes, merging and swirling in patterns that only the trained eye can decipher — and even that is half guesswork. But refinement reaps rewards. These resident trout match their environs. They have shoulders, speed, strength. And the fights with the best and biggest are epic, testing the limits of the angler’s tackle and skill.

It is chaos. It’s the thump and sound of a freeway interchange near a railyard, minus the humanity. This is nature in the raw. Pure, alive and unfiltered. The chaos is beautiful.

Fish hard, friends.

 

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Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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5 Comments

  1. Give me chaos, or give me death.

    Reply
  2. Love it!

    Reply
  3. Dom,

    Just like life: Frogwater and whitewater to be minimized, hopefully finding a long interesting run.

    Thank you.

    Dave

    Reply
  4. Haven’t read poetic prose describing our passion since Ernie Schweibert.
    You have the ability to put us right on the stream. Kudos

    Reply
  5. Very beautiful article. Enjoyed

    Reply

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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