I had just hooked a strong fish in a fast run. Above the run, a slick stretched upstream ending in a deep canyon. White Pelicans and geese paddled about. Some were squabbling with each other while others searched for edibles. As my fish made a strong run I brought my rod to my right waist working hard to pull him out of the heavier water. Just then the geese and pelicans seemingly panicked and took flight. Something had spooked them I thought. I worked on my fish, but my eyes kept moving upstream. I could see one goose flailing about as it paddled towards me. Soon it reached the heavier water of my run.
In the swift run, the goose quickly reached me. I could see an animal attached to the bird's back. One wing was broken and bleeding. Initially, it looked like a fisher or an otter had attacked this big bird. The goose was exhausted and at times, slumped neck down into the water. Luckily, the duo passed me and missed my line and fish. I yelled to Mike and Hank who were fishing 100 yards downstream. I'm not sure exactly what I said but it didn't matter, they couldn't have made it out over the sound of the water sluicing through the boulder garden that stretched all the way to them.
But my calls did alert them and Hank was able to get a video of the immature goose and it's univited passenger from hell. By the time the pair were downstream of Hank and Mike, the now identified mink peeled off the goose and swam to the other side of the river. The goose drug itself out of the water. It now had two broken and bleeding wings. As it waddled up through the grass and up into the sage, it was clear the goose would not survive this day. I'm sure the mink tracked the bird down and finished his meal prep. As the title to this post says... nature is brutal and also tough to watch at times.
Meanwhile, I had forgotten all about my fish. Almost as an afterthought, I turned my attention back to my bent rod and managed to land a hefty brown. I told him to be careful as I released him... I think I mentioned there are assassins about.