The first time for me was as a boy years ago. I am 42 now. I didn't catch anything then, but ever since, the clear water, the rocks, the moss, the evergreens, and the mountains have become an almost mystical place for me and the trout still somewhat of a mythical creature. I've caught some wild trout now. I know they exist, but I have not caught enough of them to where everyone is not special in a way I can't really explain. The place and the fish captured me.
I can say this, that somewhere out in the Smokies I feel a fish is there for me. He is thick about the shoulders, long, and has a bit of hook to his jaw. With the minds eye, I see him waiting there in the mountains along with the tarpon, the bone fish, the bull elk, and the bull canvasback all in their special places where we will cross paths someday if I'm lucky. Thinking of them while I'm wading behind my desk is one of the things that keeps me sane, and I'm glad they are all with me.