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TROUT by Kaye Gilhooley

I took up fishing late in life. My husband says I fish too much. The smooth length of the rod in my hand is powerful. Did you know my Daiwa carbon 9ft rod is rated to 15 kg? 15kg! That’s the weight of a small child.

I fish in the fast stream that borders the south of our farm. It’s the closest boundary to the house. It flows under the bridge and soon feeds into the river, wide and deep.

I took up fishing when my daughter went missing. Trout. My brother called her that because when she was a baby ready for feeding her little mouth opened and closed like a fish searching for flies.

And she loved the water. That hot summer I took her down to the stream every afternoon and dangled her feet in the cool rushing water. She giggled so much. “Again! Again!”

Never again.

Sometimes I stay all day, pacing up and down the solid bank, dragging the heavy line through the rippling water, the hook set low near the sinker to trace the bed. I’ve seen the odd strong fish in here.

We searched for her all around the farm, split up.

“Over here!” Shouts one of the village boys.

Tiny silver shoes, scuffed on the toes, and Cat-in-the-Hat socks.

Abandoned on the bank.

They all came. Police in waders. Divers. The new Filipino priest.

I drag the hook along the stream bed. There are no rocks down there. No bumps or hollows. A smooth surface they said. Nothing to snag on.

I haven’t got time for fly-fishing. All that wasted back and forward motion. I need weight in my hand. Power. To get to the bottom.

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