If he only had his rod with him.
Fishing or not, if the fly fisher sees the ring of a rising fish he will catch it, if only in his mind. He will determine the lie of the trout, the speed of the water, its colour and depth, the insect that had tempted that fish up to break its cover.
Then having determined all this, he will take out his imaginary fly box and select from it a fly fit to fool the feeding trout, and tie it on to the finest tippet the river will allow. Twelve feet long for a delicate presentation.
Then, as if by magic, in his hand will appear the perfect rod for this small stream, and he will watch the rise, time the rise, then cast a line so delicately that the fly lands gossamer on the water, a siren call to that feeding trout.
Then the wait. The tenter-hook wait. Then he just sees the nose of the trout approaching his fly and in an event faster than his thought the trout has sipped and taken his fly, and the fly fisher has lifted his rod and the fish is on. The deception complete. All is release.
This morning, walking my three saluki hounds beside the small stream I fish, I saw the first trout of the year rise.
Just as I caught it (it was on a small midge pupa pattern) one of my hounds saw, on the other side of the field on the other side of the river, a cat, stalking mice in the grass. With two bounds he was across the stream and was off, muscle and sinew effortlessly straining, relishing in the purpose of his pursuit.
Just a Spring morning, and we were all at it.