Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2 Favorite Catches from 2015

I tried to pick a single favorite fish from 2015, but the best I could do was to narrow it to two. Each had unique appeals, and I can't  quite decide. Both were big trout that I caught and released, but that's pretty much where the similarities end.

The first, a brown trout that grabbed a Rebel Tracdown Ghost Minnow, came early this summer from North Carolina's Linville River. I was on my way to a writer trip farther north in the North Carolina mountains and had time for a quick detour. I actually wanted to explore Linville Gorge, but the river was high from recent rain, and I decided that hiking down into the gorge alone would neither be prudent nor productive. Instead I settled to fish around a single river bend in a section of easily accessible hatchery supported waters on Blue Ridge Parkway land. I expected there might be a few stocker-sized rainbows around (which there were). What I didn't expect was to feel a crushing strike and then see a thick band of yellow at the end of my line. I was alone, with no net, so you can guess that I was a bit tense until I managed to land the fish. Next trick, of course, was trying to get a photo. I took a few quick close-ups to make sure I got something and then set up a single self-timer photo with the camera on a rock before I let the fish go, hung my lure back on my rod and continued on my journey.

The other, which is pictured at the top, occurred later in the summer, while Asher and I were on our Rebel Trout Trek out West. I think it was a Snake River cutthroat, although it might have been a rainbow. I wish I could say for sure. Whatever it was, it was a good one, and it hit a Rebel Wee Crawfish while Asher and I were wade fishing in the Delaney Butte Lakes in Colorado. Big trout are no surprise in those waters, but summer doldrums had hit when we were there, and it was the only bite we had in probably six hours of fishing. That catch had some landing drama of it's own. We had a net, but the first time Asher tried to net it, he realized it didn't fit very well. "The net isn't big enough!" he yelled as the fish flopped out and surged again. When I got it close again, he had to carefully scoop it tail-first so it went into the hoop tail-to-nose instead of being across it. He did a fine job getting it in the net and getting photos before we let it go.

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