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Finally caught him

Joined:
2010/3/29 6:56
From Portage, PA
Posts: 1441
Offline
I snuck out with an hour and a half to fish yesterday morning. I knew with the temperatures going to climb I would have to hit the stream early to avoid the snow melt.

I have caught some big fish on this stream, but in December I lost a beauty of a brown on a leech pattern. I was checking out how the fly looked right off of the bank went the monster brown came out and grabbed it. I set the hook but knew i did not have a good hookset. The fish swam straight up stream and then straight at me, then bolted right down stream. I had the fish on for maybe 3 minutes when the barbless hook popped out. I was disgusted. I was bummed and found myself pouting and leaving the stream. But at least I knew he was there.

I hit this creek a few times since that day, each day hopin to get another shot at the brown. Every fish that I hooked, I hoped it was the beauty. And time and time again i was disappointed. I had caught a lot of nice rainbows, and one brown about 10 " but nothing close to the ghost trout I had lost a few months ago.

Did he move down stream? Did someone catch him? I was pondering this on my way to the stream yesterday. I figured with the warmer temps of the night but not yet above freezing the trout should be hungry and somewhat active. I tied my flies on the road and rummaged through my box. I picked the twisted caddis as my dropper fly. I have had a lot of success using this fly this winter so i decided to start with it. I have tied a bunch of large heavy nypmhs since I have started czech nymphing. It was hard to decide. I decided on a size 8 stonefly i created. It is similar to a hares ear but hase biot tails and multiple wing cases.

When I got the the stream I was surprised to see how crystal clear and somewhat low it was. It was a bit discouraging but I knew with time ticking I needed to start fishing. The first few cast were perfect, right in the feeding lie. Nothing.. Should I switch flies, Should I go with a lighter anchor fly. "Ah, Ill give a few more casts" I watched my sighter very intently as it went just behind the rock where I figured the trout would be laying. I slowly pulled the nymphs along. As i saw the sighter pass over the rock, I knew I was in the perfect place.

I watched the sighter rip forward. Boom! He was on the hook. I knew it was a big fish instantly, When he hunkered down, the thought shifted that it could be my brownie. I watched the fish come up and could see the golden brown colors through the crystal clear water. My heart was pounding as though I had just shot a monster buck. "Don't lose him...Dont be stupid.." All thoughts that ran through my head.

I did not want to fight this fish for too long because I knew this would have to be a very old fish. I kept pressure on him and let him eat the drag a little bit. When this fish landed in my net, I was amazed at how long he actually was.

He stuck out of the net several inches. "YESS!!" I hollered. I have been after this fish for 3 months. Looking at the beautiful brown in the net, made me think of how long it has been since I caught a big bronwie. I had kicked some water on the ice bank to lay the fish down for a few quick snap shots.

My heart still pounding, and wanted to create a photo shoot but knew that this fish was really old, and did not want to risk killing it. I picked him up want last time and took a quick picture.

I thanked the fish for letting me catch him, gave it a kiss (first time ever lol) and laid it back in the stream, He was already starting to swim.

"Until we meet again, Good luck buddy" Was the last thing I said to him as I let him go. This brown will always be in my mind. I will never forget the feeling of landing this fish, and all of the anticipation of catching this specific trout. I wish him luck, and hope that if another angler catches him, the let him go as well.

A few casts later I landed the pretty bow on the same stonefly as the brown. You can see it in its mouth in the picture. About 15 minutes later i caught the same fish again on a size 14 beadhead pheasant tail. I knew it was the same fish because of the still bleeding hole from the large stonefly.

I thank god, that I became interested in fly fishing, and stuck it out all of the times that I went out and landed nothing. I encourage anyone who is contemplating starting the sport to do so. You will never regret making the switch.


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Posted on: 2013/2/25 6:49
_________________
"There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process."



Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2009/4/24 16:40
From South Jersey
Posts: 584
Offline
Mike:

Congratulations on a fine catch and a great story. I admire your hard work and perseverance. You used all the skills a good angler should have. I wish you many more.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted on: 2013/2/25 7:07
_________________
“And if the angler catches the fish with difficulty, then there is no man merrier than he is in his spirits.”



Salmo


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2006/9/16 15:52
From Bucks County
Posts: 617
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Congrats Mike! Your story and photos made my day. Thanks.

Posted on: 2013/2/25 7:26
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Brook Trout are God's way of saying everything is going to be alright.


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2012/1/11 15:43
From Bucks County
Posts: 157
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Great Story, and an awesome fish. Drinking my first cup of coffee at my desk and glad I found this post.


Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:01


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2010/6/19 16:43
From Clinton County, Pa.
Posts: 1781
Offline
Great story. It reminds me of a wild brown I targeted several years ago. I came close to catching him a couple of times. One time I lost him because my hookset was not good and the other because of a little nick in my tippet( I learned a valuable lesson on that one and now if I feel even the slightest nick I take the time to put on fresh tippet material). Anyway it took me most of the summer but I finally got him on a beetle. That fish made my year. Again congratulations on a great story and a fine trout.

Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:08
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"Even the thousandth trip to the same familiar stream begins with renewed hope and unfailing faith." ZANE GREY


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2013/1/15 12:02
From Pipersville Pa.
Posts: 536
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Great story, really nice fish.

gencon

Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:11
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I can make you feel. But I can't make you think.

Ian Anderson, Thick as a brick.


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 4460
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VERY NICE......CONGRATULATIONS......just one small thing.........maybe i'm wrong , but in the pic where you have the brown stretched out on the ice along side your rod n reel , brown 1 jpg.............. do you think it's a good idea to have the fish laying on the ice like that , seems you are being pretty rough on a fish that you seem to care alot about. Nice picture and thanks for lettin us all see it and being part of the adventure , i hope , for your sake , that he made it through without damage.

Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:12


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2010/3/29 6:56
From Portage, PA
Posts: 1441
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Osprey. I had kicked a substantial amount of water on to the ice while i held him in the net. If you look closely you can see it is soaked compared to the lighter color behind it. As i said the hole time of handling the fish was less than 30 seconds i would say. After taking the pictures I had held him in the water for less than a second and he was already trying to swim away. I did not fight him very long and actually waded out a bit to net him.

As I said I knew this was an old fish and did not want to do anything that would risk killing him. I am 100% sure he was fine. He showed absolutly no sign of even being tired.

Thanks for all of the positive comments guys. This fish made my 2013. Could care less if I catch another large trout. I hope he survives this year as well. I am actually surprised to see him in there with the heavy put and take that happens on this stream.

Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:18
_________________
"There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process."



Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2007/10/17 10:49
From florida
Posts: 6269
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Very nice fish. Congrats. GG

Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:39
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"There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action.
Gothe


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
Posts: 1257
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Good stuff!

Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:42
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"You don't need 7x. All right, 7x...now you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2009/2/19 19:59
From Mont Co, Pa
Posts: 1975
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Quote:

osprey wrote:
... do you think it's a good idea to have the fish laying on the ice like that , seems you are being pretty rough on a fish that you seem to care alot about.

Don't sweat it. It's a nice trout, but a stocker none the less. Still a great accomplishment though. Congrats!

Posted on: 2013/2/25 8:46
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Protect the resource, let them go!


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2012/2/15 16:35
From Butler, Pa
Posts: 566
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Those fish are all beautiful

Posted on: 2013/2/25 9:10


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2008/3/11 9:40
From Lambertville
Posts: 1208
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Beautiful. Thanks for posting the pics.

Posted on: 2013/2/25 11:23


Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 6456
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Nice reel!

Mike emailed me about this fish and said it's been at least 2 years since browns were stocked so a VERY nice holdover for a few seasons. Great catch Mike!

Posted on: 2013/2/25 11:43
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Re: Finally caught him

Joined:
2010/3/29 6:56
From Portage, PA
Posts: 1441
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Yes that is the possible, but the crazy thing is that our main hatchery has not seen browns in 5 years. We did have a holding pond where the trout get a little bigger, but no matter what (if this fish is a stocked fish [WHICH I AM 99 % SURE IT IS]) it is still 5 years old.

His picture is now gracing the walls of my office in an 8x10 oak frame. Hope to top this fish this year but i can say i set the bar high on my 2013 season. I can only imagine what he looked like in the fall after aseaon of eating insects, baitfish, and god only knows what else, rats, small children that wandered to close.. LOL

I may try an evening shot at him in the spring with a mouse fly. Never caught a trout on one yet but think it would be neat.

Posted on: 2013/2/25 12:42
_________________
"There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process."




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