What is it?

“What is it?” she asked. “How should I know?” he asked. “What should we call it?”

That’s pretty much the beginning. Most of what’s happened since then has been about changing altitudes and latitudes in a search for cold water fishes in their home waters. It’s never been the fish. If it was, it would be over. It’s about the search.

There’s a river. It’s fast here and there and it’s cold everywhere and it’s home. There’s some water piled up high in front of a big rock. It rises to a point until it breaks into foam. There’s an eddy behind the rock. There are no guarantees in life, but there is this rock. Look for fish there. The biggest fish are in front of it.

There’s three little babies, too.  Muses, Fates, and Sirens, each.  The kind of kids who can make your day if you can make them laugh. Actually they’re knockouts. They don’t come like this often. When they do, you get on your knees and you stay grateful. And you take them fishing. And they take you to the sun.

There’s also a girl. Actually she’s a knockout. She’s more of it than she knows. Actually she’s all of it. She’s the search and the end of the search at once. When you find her, when you catch up, it starts all over again. You forget what it’s like to need. And you keep searching because you know the end.

There’s a moment. It happens every now and then, but usually you can’t see it till it’s over. It’s never been about the fish, but it has been about this moment. It’s the moment when the girl, the babies, the river look back at you and you don’t have to guess. You know. That’s when the fish come. That’s when the laugh comes. That’s when the search begins and ends, begins and ends, begins and ends. Tops of mountains, sunsets…maybe. But wait until you’ve met this girl. That’s the moment. It’s never been the fish.

When it happens again, it will show up here. Could be sooner than you think.

Keep searching. Keep fishing. Keep finding. Stay grateful.

But don’t stop searching.

The Mad Fishicist


  1. hi! i just stopped by your site after reading your comments on the dharmablog. you’re an amazing writer and i especially enjoy the subjects you are writing about: water, family, fish and love. happy day!

  2. Mad Fishicist,

    If you’re interested in getting a review copy of a book we have coming out soon “Fishing’s Greatest Misadventures” let me know. I would be happy to send you one, just email me the address. We like your blog and would love to see a good writer review the title.

    Casagrande Press

  3. The Mad Fishicist,
    My name is Amanda and I work for a Madison, Wisconsin based advertising company, Shine Advertising Co., LLC. We have, what we think is, really exciting news to share with you.
    Shine has recently collaborated with Orvis to publish the full edition of the 1984 Orvis Fly Fishing Guide by Tom Rosenbauer on Google Knol. The entire book! Also, the online Google Knol guide will soon include photo collections from the current edition Orvis Fly Fishing Guide.
    Here is the link…
    Based on the aptness of your fly fishing blog, we are hoping that you will write about the newfound availability of this text online and link us on your blog so that more people can catch wind of this valuable resource.
    Take a look at the publication and let us know what you think!
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  4. TMF,

    I appreciate the time you took to check out my ramblings. I look forward to posting more and reading through your own adventures. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, let me know…



  5. Great words, really really well written. “That’s the moment.” I like it.


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