By Andrew Cremata

Vivid dreams often hint at some shrouded wisdom, voiced by the subconscious and veiled in symbol. Occasionally, the cipher is easy to decode but many dreams remain a mystery. The passing of time often causes dreams to fade, likely because the waking mind has plenty of things to worry about. Every now and then, the memory of a dream lingers, as though a mystery is about to be revealed.

Choosing a course of action is often difficult and it’s quite amazing to consider how a single choice is capable of changing one’s entire life path. Relying on a dream’s message to make important choices may seem like folly but it’s far more common than one may think. Even the most rational people sometimes make irrational decisions based on nothing more than a hunch or a dream. 

My dream was about fish, which isn’t really surprising. Although this particular dream was so vivid that it occupied my thoughts throughout the day. This is how it played out….

A buddy of mine asked me to go fishing on his boat. For whatever reason, he was having trouble getting the boat into the water but after some struggle, he managed to get us both underway. Out on the water, the waves were getting rough. Right about the time we were about to head back in, I hooked up on something huge. 

My friend was cheering me on when the mighty fish jumped. At that moment, my line went slack and I thought the fish managed to toss the hook. “You have to keep reeling!” my friend shouted from the boat’s wheel. Out in the water, I could somehow see the fish and knew it was still hooked, so I cranked as fast as I could. Reeling furiously paid off when the slack line suddenly went taught and the fight resumed. 

When I looked into the water at the fish, it was smiling back at me. 

Now that I’ve typed it out, the dream was pretty silly. But for whatever reason, this absurd dream kept haunting me throughout the day until I came to an understanding of what it meant — it’s time to go fishing. 

Sure, I don’t exactly need a dream to tell me something so obvious but my day was really busy, so I had to go out of my way to get my gear together, drive out to the river and make a few casts. 

I ended up having 45 minutes to fish. On the second cast, I caught a relatively fresh pink salmon that popped off the hook just as I was pulling it ashore. Then I caught another pink salmon nearing the end of its spawning cycle, which was an unpleasant experience I would rather forget. 

The third fish was a healthy Dolly Varden that fought even harder than its size. Then, with only 30 minutes left to fish, I saw a huge coho surface about 40 feet to my left. My cast was perfect, and the fish inhaled the lure without hesitation. 

I was using an ultralight travel rod equipped with a small spinning reel and 8-pound mono. The suddenly enraged coho wildly thrashed at the surface as I held on for dear life. Then, with a sudden burst of energy, it ran at lightning speed for about 20 yards before leaping entirely out of the water. Then there was a giant splash and my line went slack.

There is only one thing I hate more than losing fish and that’s not going fishing. So, for a moment, I felt the sting of disappointment that comes with losing a huge fish. Then without warning, I suddenly heard my friend’s voice saying, “You have to keep reeling!” and my entire dream flashed in my mind’s eye.

I cranked on that tiny reel as fast as I could. When almost all of the line was retrieved, I felt a pull and realized that the coho was no more than 18 inches in front of my feet. Best of all, it was still hooked. 

When the fish felt the line tighten, it was very displeased. Knowing what was about to come, I quickly loosened my drag and pointed my rod out over the water like a wizard using a staff to cast a spell. 

When the coho rifled forward, out toward the middle of the river, my drag screamed louder than a teenager in a bad horror movie. Certain that the entire reel was about to crumble into its individual parts, I lifted my rod and put pressure on the mighty fish.

A few minutes later, I was awkwardly landing the coho with my bare hands, trying and failing to prevent its teeth from punching holes in my fingers. Without a scale, I could only guess the big silver weighed about 18-pounds. I looked at my phone and there were still 5 minutes left before I had to go, so I quickly bled the coho and made a few more casts.

There are a number of trite cliches that could be applied to this tale. Follow your dreams. Every decision matters. Dreams do come true. You get the idea. 

My thoughts on this weird series of events? Whether coincidence or augury, there is no denying that the voice of the subconscious speaks the language of nature. One of life’s great challenges is learning to hear what it has to say.

And for the record, the coho did not smile at me.