Voices from the river

Voices from the River: My broken heart ...

By Rachel Andona

My broken heart.

Or broken arm. Same difference when your passion in life is fly fishing.

But let me go back to that beautiful, refreshing morning. It was winter in the valley and it was Christmas Eve. With all of the stress that comes along with Christmas festivities I needed a break, to get out, but all of our local rivers and ponds were frozen over. I decided to go for a run, to inhale the cold and refreshing air into my lungs and heat my muscles through exertion instead of from the excitement that comes with rising fish on the water’s surface.

My adventure that day took me to, the aptly named, Old Freezeout Road. It was amazing. The sun was shining and reflecting off the snow on the hillside. The view from the top of the hill, looking down on our small valley community was breathtaking. I turned back to look at my friend and running partner, and that’s when it happened. It suddenly felt like the ground was slipping away from me but in reality it was me that was slipping away from the ground. I fell back and instinctively put my left hand back to protect my bum from taking all of the pressure of the fall. I felt it give way. I felt my wrist bend where shouldn’t bend. Even before the pain set in, I knew it was broken. A ride to the hospital, x-rays, lots of pain medicine, and a cast. It was broken in three places.

Jokes were made about it not being my casting arm. But it was my stripping hand, and it hurt. I could barely move my fingers let alone grip a fly line.

It seemed to become very cold and dreary outside suddenly and I couldn’t do the one thing I love the most (besides cuddling my children, of course). Fishing. Not to say that I’m very good at it, but I love it all the same. So I called my favorite fishing partner and I complained. A lot. He suggested I try a Tenkara rod. Problem solved, no line stripping. I thought about it, and after six weeks in a cast, I was willing to try anything so I said “OK, but what do I do when I catch a fish, I am still only one handed?”

His response will always resonate in my mind, and I may finally be able to chuckle about it when I am on death’s bed.

“Oh, Honey, you don’t catch fish… “

Rachel Andona is a TU member who lives in Emmett, Idaho. Contrary to the snarky opinion of her fishing buddy, she does, indeed, catch fish.

By Chris Hunt.