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  • Thursday, July 17, 2008

    One Night Left

    THE GALLEON MOON
    Noyes Is Rolling In His Grave
    the perfect excuse
    The Galleon Moon
     -------
    .. We've been mostly silent about late evening and night time fishing. The neighbors have demanded it. "too much local love:" they say. Yet, we must tell you that this evening is the last evening of the 'galleon moon."
    .. It was just O.K. last year. It was raining on a few previous occasions. We were engaged and tired on others. This year it's perfect. Cool, partly cloudy, buggy, still, and inviting. This is the time to fish your deer hair mouse. This is the time to creep along the bank in search of those toads that bring tears to the eyes of grown men.
    .. The moon, this evening, will rise low and at the peak of the caddis hatch. The neighbors will be ready. The guides will be in bed, or well lubricated. The visitors will be lounging in the pub telling stories of the 'day's fishing.' The inn keepers will be counting their money.
    .. This evening between 8:30 and 10:00 the cars will be streaming out of Yellowstone National Park. The rivers and streams will be nearly deserted. There will be space aplenty for parking, and the moon will be low in the southeastern sky.
    .. The neighbors, however, will have abandoned the streams by 5:00 PM. They will have fortified their weary bodies with sustenance and they, like salmon, will return to the park against the flood of traffic going the other way.
    .. To the long quiet stretches of places poorly known and seldom fished, they will creep. Darkness brings hazards: roots, fallen branches, rodent holes, hidden clumps of grass. They will not use the footpaths or stream side trail. These conveniences are too close to the water - lateral lines and vibrations - dont'cha know! They will creep to the place that they have been watching all week. They are already well armed and rigged for battle. A deer hair mouse, an elk hair mouse, a great big gross caddis, an enormous black woolly bugger.
    .. The leader has no tippet. It's only four feet long. It's a piece of green monofiliment. It's diameter and strength are obscene to the delicate mind and sensibilities of those who pound the water during daylight. This is a rig for real fish. This is a rig for fish to dream of. This is a rig for fish that only a few have seen, though many dream about.
    .. The neighbors know! They discuss it amongst themselves. They don't hang out in the fly shops. They don't cavort in the pubs. They fish. They know that the "Galleon Moon" only comes but once a year.
    .. Some of them joke about the 'Gallatin Moon' but deep inside, next to the mysterious organ known as their epitome, they are already creeping to that place where a back cast is only 10 feet, and the fore cast stops dead in the air just an inch above the still water. They have waited a year for this moment. They are certainly not going to screw it up with careless casting.
    .. Last winter a local poet, (the term is used with the greatest of license,) made some light of the poem. "Ahhhh, The Fisherman, came casting, casting, Casting, the fisherman came casting up to the big slicks moor." Poor Alfred, he's been usurped by the plebeian mind of the obsessive 'local.' "One take my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize tonight." "Look for me by moonlight; Watch for me by moonlight; I'll fish to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!"
    .. The corruption is poor, the offense is great; The thought and behavior, however are real. There are about 10 or 12 neighbors that know how and where to do this. The guides never heard of it. The feather merchants have no interest. The worm-dunkers ignore it. But there are a few who catch enormous, nocturnal trout on the Madison River, the Firehole River, Nez Perce Creek, Grayling Creek estuary, and "THE CULVERT."
    .. We mention this only to let you know that it's happening now. Two giant fish were taken last night. Their sizes are related in pounds - not inches. Yellowstone Park biologists have seen fish this big, (but only on rare occasion.) The size is not the point. These are fish that have not been caught since they were just small fry, (16" or 18".) They are now wily, strong, treacherous, wild, and brutal.
    .. We'd like to tell you where to fish. We won't. If you would like to try this, just cruise the roads along the Firehole River and the Madison River. Start about 8:00 tonight. Look for local license plates. Don't bother with the fancy SUV's. Ignore those cars and trucks with a waxy shine. Pause and scrutinize those folks with fishing gear. If you see a person sitting and smoking a pipe or cigar. You may be warm. If the glow of the moon is just visible in the eastern sky and there is crouched figure near an unlikely run, you may have something.
    .. We'll suffer for this. But we thought you should know. With all due respect to LORD NOYES; below is the poem and you can insert such words as 'fisherman,' 'casting,' 'Firehole,' 'Madison,' 'rod,' 'reel,' etc. It happens just once a year, and now is the time.

    And the fisherman came a trodding, a trodding . . .
    -------

    Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

    The Highwayman

    PART ONE

    I

    THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
    The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
    The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
    And the highwayman came riding—
    Riding—riding—
    The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

    II

    He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
    A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
    They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
    And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
    His pistol butts a-twinkle,
    His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

    III

    Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
    And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
    He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
    But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
    Bess, the landlord's daughter,
    Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

    IV

    And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
    Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
    His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
    But he loved the landlord's daughter,
    The landlord's red-lipped daughter,
    Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

    V

    "One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night,
    But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
    Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
    Then look for me by moonlight,
    Watch for me by moonlight,
    I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."

    VI

    He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
    But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
    As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
    And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
    (Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
    Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.