It must have been twenty years ago. Maybe more. But it was on this day, my birthday, April 6th. It was a clear and warm afternoon, but the river was still cold from the winter and I was the only who fished on that afternoon at Upper Falls, where the water rushed over great sandstone outcroppings and made a wide flat that could be waded. I knew of a spot there, where a sluice had been cut in the stone a hundred years ago to make a way for the old steamboats that used to go up and down the river in the days before the roads were paved.
They had dammed a part of the river there and time and the ever running river had eroded a part of it and the green water shot through the breach in the dike with such force that the water bulged and looked gelatinous as it poured through. Below that fury there was a man-made channel, maybe fifteen feet wide, where all of that water, shaken and oxygenated, ran white and frothey. I had always wondered about that as a place for fish and on this day I waded to the top of it, legs stinging from the cold, and cast my bait here and there into the fast water.
I found that if I hit the right spot, at just the right angle and line, a smallmouth bass would take the floating bait off the surface and pull it under, tightening my line, bending my rod and thrilling my heart. Six fish that afternoon. All of them keeping-size bass. My day. Happy birthday.