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God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
Nathan M. Adams
December 22, 1975
The season inspires warm memories of an angling holiday at Christmas, when the Brown Trout Inn in Kenya was a haven for Englishmen far from home
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December 22, 1975

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

The season inspires warm memories of an angling holiday at Christmas, when the Brown Trout Inn in Kenya was a haven for Englishmen far from home

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"There's a trick to this," said Holmes. He tied a "toebiter" nymph to his leader. Then he searched the ground and found a large leaf. He stripped line from the end of his rod and placed it in carefully arranged coils on a rock in the stream. The nymph he put upon the leaf. Then, cautiously, he released it into the current. It spun and bobbed downstream toward a pool; the coils of line slipped off the rock. When the leaf reached the pool he lifted the rod tip, and the nymph fell off. Immediately there was an explosion in the pool and Sherlock Holmes was into a very heavy trout.

It was an incredible performance. I had never heard of such a ploy. It was a fight by remote control, for he could not see the pool entirely and had to handle the fish by feel alone. He paid out line but made no sudden movements which would further alarm the trout. Steadily, expertly, he guided the fish from under banks and logs. "There's a good lad," he said as he led the trout to midstream again.

"Problem is," Holmes said, "takes a long time." But he was in control. And he was getting back line. He used his wrist to counterattack the runs, turning it first this way, then that, then up, then down. As he worked the trout, he conversed.

"What's an American doing here?" he wanted to know.

I told him the truth: nothing.

"Hear what happened to your Mennen Williams?"

Yes, I had. Williams was Under Secretary for African Affairs.

"Got punched in the nose, didn't he? Some farmer in Lusaka. Right at the airport, they say." The trout made a savage run. Holmes fed it line, brought things under control.

" 'Course you don't run around saying things like, ' Africa for the Africans' and expect the whites to love you, do you?" Short, sharp tugs by the trout to no avail. Holmes was talking like a barber cutting hair.

I explained that Williams had corrected himself. What he really meant was Africa for all Africans, blacks and whites.

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