Fly in the Oinkment
By Charlie Place
It was a fishing trip. Four of us from the Connecticut Fly Fishermen's Association had
rented a cabin on Loin Lake. We were there for a week of fly-fishing. No radios, no
newspapers, and no television. It was going to be a wonderful week. Except for the
animal next door.
I turned the car onto the dirt driveway, happy that the ten-hour drive was at an end.
A black streak shot across in front of us just as we rolled up to the cabin. As I slammed
on the brakes, two coolers shot from the back seat onto the car floor. "What was that?"
Ernie shouted as he straightened his glasses.
"Don't know," I answered, as I watched the mysterious blur disappear under the cabin.
We leaped out of the car, hurrying to inspect our coolers. No damage was done, and we
began to unpack, keeping a nervous watch over our shoulders. A minute later Jerry and
Paul turned into the driveway. We watched as the ink-colored speedster jetted from
under the cabin back across the driveway. Jerry slammed on his brakes. We heard the
familiar sound of coolers crashing to a vehicle floor. Jerry jumped out of the car. "What
was that?" he asked, wide-eyed.
"Don't know," I answered as the dark quadruped disappeared into the underbrush.
"You know" Ernie said. "You know, I think that was a pig, one of those pot belly pigs
people have for pets."
Just then we heard a young voice call, "Pumbaa! Pumbaa!" The name sounded familiar to
me. Then it hit me." Your kidding," I thought, "We're in a movie." We all turned and
looked up the driveway. A young boy was walking toward us. He was wearing a Boston
Bruins hockey shirt that hung to his knees and a baseball cap stuck on his head backwards.
"If this kids name is Timon....," I thought. "Mister," he said to Paul. "You seen a pig around
here?" His voice cracked a bit. Suddenly the pig dashed out of the bushes toward his upset
owner. The boy kneeled down and hugged his missing pet. "Where you been Pumbaa?"
he said, "I thought you were lost."
We all walked over to check out the standing roast.
It was a long drive and I was hungry. I had a vision. Pork chops, mashed potatoes, and
gravy. My stomach rumbled. Feeling guilty, I said, "Nice pig."
We talked with the boy for a while and petted his pig. He told us that he was on a fishing
trip with his dad, and they had rented a cabin about a half-mile up the road from us.
After supper we walked down to the dock and checked out the two boats that came
with the cabin. They were both sixteen-foot Alumaways with twenty-five horse motors.
Each had an electric motor up front. I know that sounds to good to be true, but Ernie
is a good friend of the owner.
Back at the cabin we spent the rest of the evening studying a map of the lake, that Ernie's
buddy had sent us. Loin Lake was full of northern pike, and we didn't want to waste time
and gas cruising around looking for them. We marked all the locations that the voracious
waterwolf was likely to dine. After a good nights sleep and some bacon and eggs, we
were recharged and ready to do some serious fishing. The boats were loaded and we
took off. Jerry and Paul followed us for a while then split off. Ernie pointed our aluminum
yacht toward a long and narrow bay that we had marked on the map. After a twenty-minute
ride, we idled into the bay and shut down the motor. "This spot is about as fishy looking
as it gets. I'll give you a clue," Ernie said. I pulled forty feet of fly line off my reel and made
a cast towards a submerged log. My fly was half way back to the boat before I saw a dark
shadow following it. Suddenly, the shadow shot forward and attacked the red and yellow
streamer. A couple of minutes later I landed a nice eight-pound northern. "Fish on," Ernie
said excitedly, "Fish on," barely able to keep from shouting. Another eight ponder went into
the net. "Two casts, two fish!" he exclaimed, "Unbelievable."
We drifted around the bay for a couple more hours and caught several more small pike.
Fishing slowed, so we decided to move to another area that we had circled on our map.
It was only a short way and close to the place where we were to meet Jerry and Paul
As the electric motor slowly moved us into the small cove, Ernie pointed to a car-sized
rock. The water was deep at the base of the boulder and strewn with sunken logs. It
was a perfect place for a huge northern to hide and ambush any unsuspecting prey. I
motioned to Ernie to make the first cast. He picked up his fly rod with a big fish fly
already tied on. I excitedly nodded approval. The fly was about six inches long and
tied with a strip from an old rabbit fur coat Paul had given us. Ernie made the fifty foot
cast. The brown fly with copper flash landed about an inch from the base of the giant
gray rock and began to sink slowly. The fly's long tail undulated temptingly as it swam
toward the bottom. Ernie gave it a pull. I thought I saw a flash, but nothing happened.
He gave the coat fly another jerk. Still nothing. He gave the fly three short strips, then
hesitated. Suddenly there was an enormous swirl and the fly was gone. Ernie set the
hook hard. His rod bent almost in half. "Big fish," he shouted, "Big fish." The monster
pike shot toward the boat. Ernie reeled in as fast as he could.
The green and gold brute dashed under the boat, heading for the middle of the cove.
Ernie stuck his rod in the water, loosened his drag and then walked the submerged
rod tip around the boat. I quickly moved to the motor in case we had to chase the
toothy torpedo. Ernie kept the pressure on. The pike was about a hundred feet out
and not giving an inch. Ernie tightened the drag. Slowly she began to circle the boat.
Each time she circled, he gained some line. The female fish was tiring and just using
her weight to keep away from the boat. Ernie applied more pressure. I thought his
nine-weight rod was ready to snap. Carefully Ernie moved the heavy fish toward the
net and me. She made one more try for freedom, then gave in. I slid the net under the
tired fighter and gently laid her in the bottom of the boat. Ernie removed the fly, being
careful of the pike's razor sharp teeth. We took a picture, measured her length, then
slid the forty six-incher back into the water. Ernie hung on to her until she swam away
under her own power. It was time for celebration. I reached into the cooler, dug around
in the ice, and pulled out two chilled bottles of "Mango Madness." I handed one to Ernie.
We took a long drink and then started the motor.
Before we could move, we saw another boat speeding toward us. We thought it was
Paul and Jerry. To our surprise, they turned away. Then we saw that it was our neighbors,
Pumbaa, the kid, and his father. Pumbaa was in the front of the boat, head held high into
the wind. The kid was in the center, hanging on to his baseball cap, and his dad was at the
motor, his long blond hair streaming out behind. "If his fathers name is Simba....," I thought.
We met Paul and Jerry. They had kept a couple of small pike for lunch. Jerry fried
the fillets in butter along with some potatoes and onions. After lunch we made coffee
and swapped fish stories. Ernie only added two inches to his trophy. His fish was the
catch of the day, so far.
Later, back at camp. I walked down to the dock to try out a new fly rod. I made a
few short casts then pulled more line off my reel to try a longer cast. On my backcast
I snagged what I thought was a tree. Suddenly line started screaming off my reel.
Surprised, I turned and looked just in time to see Pumbaa's posterior disappear into
the woods, decorated with a large yellow streamer. I didn't know what to do, so I
grabbed the fly line with my left hand and squeezed, hoping the fly would pull off the
fleeing porker's rump. It did. I looked around quickly. Nobody was in sight. You
couldn't see the dock from the cabin, so I figured I was home free. Whew! I didn't
want to hear about that the rest of the week. I was just a few feet from the cabin when
Pumbaa dashed from under the porch and raced away. I no more than opened the
screen door when Ernie gleefully said, "Heard you caught a real hog down at the dock."
Paul and Jerry roared. Paul added to my embarrassment and oinked a couple of times.
It was going to be a long week. I was dumbfounded. How in heck did they know?
You can't see the dock from the cabin. Nobody was around. Then it hit me like a ton
of spareribs. The pig must have squealed. ~ Charlie Place