He was my oldest friend. From age 10 we have fished, dived, and generally had a hell of a good time, with lots of “frivolity”. It was his Birthday just on a month a ago, and I rang him to see what he wanted for his birthday.
He replied that he wanted the gift of my company, and if at all possible a trout for dinner and a bit of frivolity. I could not refuse, especially as this birthday would be his last.
So I took off for Taupo the afternoon before the party, filled with performance anxiety. Providing fish to order is usually the kiss of death. Not this night. On only the 3rd or 4th cast I hooked up on the wonderful fish you see here. I duly landed it, killed it, gilled and gutted it, and packed it in ice in a chilly-bin, and back I drove the 3.5 hours back to Auckland.
I arrived before the other guests, laid the trout on a very big square of aluminium foil, splashed on the liberal dose of white wine, lots of pepper and salt, plenty of chopped corriander and mint. Then I pulled up the sides of the foil, and formed a ‘tent’ over the fish by wrapping the edges of the foil over themselves, several times. Then I popped it on the barbecue to allow the trout to slowly steam. Just as my friend had ordered it cooked.
The trout went down a treat, so did plenty of wine, and there was lots of frivolity – just what my friend ordered.
I did not want to catch that fish, I did not want to face the reality that he and I would never fish together again. And we won’t – he died last week. But, the rivers are still flowing.