Sunday, August 7, 2016

Yellowstone Charley

One day I decided to try my luck
So I grabbed my tackle and loaded my truck
Then I set out for my favorite stream
Where the trout are larger than you’d ever dream

When I arrived the water was clear
I could feel in my bones Ol’ Charley was near
Ol’ Charley is a big old trout
Who will teach you what fly fishing is all about

I’d hooked Ol’ Charley twice before
And he fought me ‘til my arms were sore
Each time he managed to break off the hook
And all I could do was stand and look

Now I cast my fly in a cross wind
And almost hook myself in the other end
When I finally got my line straightened out
I thought I was ready for that big ol’ trout

So I did a false cast to form a tight loop
And watched my fly do a loop-de-loop
So I tightened it up on the next back cast
Then I knew for sure I was ready at last

I searched for that fish up and down the river
Watching my line for the slightest quiver
I searched the riffles and searched the pools
Trying to observe all the fly fishing rules

I finally spied a place that would hold a big fish
But the ideal spot was as big as a china dish
So I cast the fly as true as I could
And Ol’ Charley hit it like only Charley would

He flew in the air as I drew the line tight
And I knew I was in for a heck of a fight
He made a deep dive and then a great run
I thought he was headed for the setting sun

He finally turned around in a knick of time
‘Cause I looked at my reel and was about out of line
He came charging up the river at a startling pace
As he came by me he splashed water in my face

I knew I couldn’t fight him much longer
For I was getting weaker and he was getting stronger
By now I was sure I had hime securely on
But he did a splish-splash and then he was gone

Now I’d had Ol’ Charley on my line thrice
And I was standing in the river trying to talk nice
Have you heard of or ever seen
A big ol’ trout that could be that mean?

He’ll give it a tug and give it a snap
And he’ll throw that fly right back in your lap
Now, Ol’ Yellowstone Charley is his given name
And so far he’s ahead of the game

But one of these days I’m going to capture him
Then I’ll measure him up and let him swim

Cause you see, Ol’ Charley is a friend of mine!

This old poem is by our friend Ray Jones.  Ray was one of the designers of the moon rover, which still sits on the moon today.  Ray has been retired from NASA for some years now, and is always happy to recite this poem about this special fish by heart for those willing to listen.  

Poem by Ray Jones
Photograph courtesy of Tom Spooner