When we'd arrived riverside, Edwards had explained it was about the worst week of the season to fish. Pointing at bare-branched trees, he said the leaves were now in the river, making it difficult for the fish to see and smell the bait.
That, on top of an unusually high river and my inexperience, was going to make catching a fish today difficult. But, patient and optimistic, Edwards was undeterred and encouraged me to keep casting. On one good cast, he pointed to the end of the pole.
"Do you feel it ticking along the bottom?" Edwards asked. I actually did. He grabbed the line and gave three jerks. "This is what a fish will feel like."
I tried in vain for nearly an hour to land the egg sack where he had pointed. If the leaves in the water were disguising the eggs from the fish, they probably couldn't smell it from the overhanging tangle of branches I repeatedly launched the bait into, either. After losing five sacks in the bramble we moved on to another, more open area.
This time, I had to get my waders wet. Edwards brought us to the Spring Hole, a spot completely indistinguishable to the untrained eye. Out nearly in the middle of the river, he said a natural spring bubbled up and was a sweet spot for fish. But you have to wade into the water to get there. So we did.
Edwards walked into the river as though he didn't notice where the bank ended and the water began. I had a little more trouble.
"Don't be afraid to grab onto me," he said as I followed him into the river. I stuck my hands out to the side for balance and inched forward through the force of the current, over slick, uneven rocks. Eventually we stopped at what Edwards said was the best spot on the river. It looked like the rest of the river to me. But he pointed and I sent the bait sailing.