The fight was on……

The fish prior to the current battle had been fat and at least 15 inches. That brown trout had thrown the barbless #12 Bloody Prince Nymph,  just before coming to hand, and my client was miffed. He had wondered what he had done wrong. I reassured him that  he had done everything right and that the combination of the barbless hook and the vigor of the fish had just prevailed this time. Now, with a trigger happy hook set and lightning quick reactions, he had hooked another trout of the same size. At times of high anxiety, when anglers are in the midst of the fight, I have sometimes found it best to keep my mouth shut and just let the saga play out, so I did,,,, kind of.

Early on, I could see the flashes of the white belly of the trout struggling to remain in the depths of the 8 foot deep pool. My three weight was curiously doubled over and I was surprised at the stamina of the fish. As the fight continued I could see my client was perplexed by the amount of strength and torque that he was applying and still gaining no headway on the trout. At this point I recognized a problem. When my client pulled, the fish would rise and waggle off the bottom, When he let off pressure, the trout would retreat to the depths. The trout, like others his size and intelligence had smartly wrapped the line around some hidden structure deep in the bottom of the pool.

I quickly instructed him(let’s call him Scott) to change his angle of torque to attempt to free the fish from the obstruction. Scott reacted like a cat and immediately waded down stream to test another angle. At this point the fish pulled free and there was a momentary void where the rod went straight. The look in his eyes was one of loss, an expression so heart breaking one could cry.  All at once the bend was back but the fish was seemingly further down stream than before. As Scott brought the fish to the surface I noticed that my leader was much longer than I had remembered, and the tired ghostly colored trout put up no resistance as Scott pulled him to hand.

The fork stick in the bank and the ultra violet blue shimmer of 20lb test Stren Monofiliment was the tip-off. Scott had hooked the tangle of Stren and the branch that the trout had wrapped himself around days before. By changing his pulling angle Scott had managed to break the branch and land the Brown.

Throughout the fight, Scott was able to pull the fish into view by bending the branch. When he would release pressure, the current and the weight of the fish would return it to the depths. Upon further inspection, the #2 hook and the night crawler that remained, were lodged deep in the throat of the trout. I had never seen a fight like this and will likely never see it again. The fish of 15″ had been dead for a day or two but still put up one heck of a fight.  There was no way for either one of us to know that there was so much life in death.

A Bit Stiff