"A good one? A good one? Boy, there is a lot of jealousy around here. That's a peppermint stick, that fly. Even you could catch fish with that fly. I was going to make you a little presentation, too, but now...."
"Oh, I'll take it, for sure," said Roy.
"Yah, yah, I knew you'd say that." Ted winked at me. "What do you think of Ted Williams now? What-do-you-think-of-Ted-Williams?"
When Ted was rerigged, he moved upriver, around the bend to his own pool, and out of sight. Roy took me out to join the line of fishermen in the public water. One of them, farther down, raised a fish, and then lost it.
Roy grunted. "I like to see that," he said. "I want a fisherman to get his salmon, for sure, but just the same I root for the salmon."
Roy left me and went back to rig for himself. The conga line had increased in number until we were now nine. We moved downriver, maintaining our intervals. At a point where the river widened and deepened, the procession ended and, in turn, we walked back to start over. When I looked upriver, I saw Ted was at the bend, hunched over near the shoreline, apparently releasing a fish. He moved back into the river and began casting again.
I finished the run and waited on a rock.
"A salmon?" I asked when he came.
"The one I released? A grilse—4-4½ pounds, tops."
I said no one else had caught anything.