It was the March 2011 opener. My friend Andy Kurth and I hit a stretch of water I had discovered the previous fall. Andy did really well on the stretch and even got a couple doubles while fly fishing it. I followed him and batted clean up and did quite well also. We got lots of trout and the general size was good.
Andy with a double.
The season went on and I fished the stretch one more time. The area was very remote and required lots of wading to get back in. The summer fishing was really hard due to the tall weeds on the bank and the weeds in the water. Andy called me last Saturday and asked if I wanted go hit it the Sunday before closing. My knee and back were bothering me so I declined.
Andy and I email often and his Trip Report from the outing got buried in my emails. On the day before the end of season Andy emailed me and asked me why I didn't respond to his email from last Sunday evening. I admitted to him I missed it.
Andy had fished the stretch he talked about and caught his biggest brown ever. He guessed it at about 23 inches. The bottom of the email said that he had lost a "GIANT" trout in that same hole that broke his 4X leader like it was "horse hair". It made him feel like an 11 year old. He wasn't ready for that big of a fish and was dazed and didn't act quickly enough.The 3 weight rod Andy was using was a little too small. Andy is a seasoned angler and if he said the word "GIANT" I paid attention. I invited Andy to go after it again. He told me he was fishing easy water with his Dad on the closer and declined going with me.
My friend Floren was in town and he was the lucky recipient to be asked to go with me after the monster. I decided my knee and back would heal up during closed season. It was a long wade and I was giving Floren the holes first like I typically do when I fish with someone. I believe Floren was a tiny bit skeptical about my "GIANT" trout tale.
Floren from 2009 outing
We were coming up to the hole and I made sure Floren tied his spinner on anew and checked for dings in his line. I wanted Floren to have every chance in the world at a hook up. I was a little apprehensive about the rod he chose. It was a 35 year old Sportfisher fiberglass 6.5 foot rod. The rod was so soft it looked more like a whip than a rod. Another problem was that the reel was 35 years old. It was a Zebco 202 with 8 pound test.
I placed Floren where I thought he had the best chance to hook the big trout. Floren picked up weeds on the first cast because he was a little too far right and the gear ratio on that ancient Zebco was low. The next cast was true. Floren was reeling a little faster to keep the Panther Martin spinner off the bottom. The retrieve was almost over and Floren slowed down just a little before he lifted the lure out of the water.
It all happened in slow motion. I saw just a little disturbance behind Floren's spinner and then a HUGE white spot appeared in the water. I didn't know what it was but I soon figured it out. It was a "GIANT" trout opening its mouth and the white was the inside of its massive mouth.
It slowly grabbed the spinner and Floren set the hook. The fish immediately came to the surface about 10 feet from us and turned. We both got a good look at it. This female brown was absolutely "HUGE". It was the second biggest small stream brown I had ever seen in my life. The trout turning and Floren slightly setting the hook to the right was all the advantage the "MONSTER" needed and the spinner flew out of it mouth and landed over Floren's right shoulder in the tall grass.
Floren was very disappointed and we sat down and talked for a while. Floren was visibly shaken and had to sit on the ground. We talked over what he would do if he had it to do again. Floren said he was humbled by the trout and felt like a little kid. You win some and you lose some, I told Floren. It did not help him feel better. We waited another 30 minutes there to see if the trout might forget about us and hit something again. It did not.
Floren wants to pursue the "MONSTER" again in 2012 and he believes a little better pole is in order for a fish of that size. We rode back to town and Floren was muttering and reliving the lost fish and questioning his tactics and gear choices. He said good bye and I sent him on his way back to Racine.
It was 3:30pm and there was a knock on the door. It was the neighbor boys. They wanted to hit the water one last time. I thought to myself....Has that big trout forgotten about this morning? I thought, what the heck, and had the boys dress in camouflage. I wanted every edge we could to get with another shot at the "MONSTER". I decided the kids needed to have a shot at this trout. I didn't want to show favoritism so we drew straws to who got to fish for the "MONSTER" first.
WD from May 2011
The youngest won the first shot at the fish. Jordan "WD" Faber is 11 years old and was really fired up. Before we left I had him practice setting the hook in the yard. I stressed to him about really setting the hook hard to get penetration on the jaw of that old of a trout. When trout get old their jaws turn even harder than normal. A hard hook set was essential during this outing.
The boys and I went directly to the hole. The big trout hit a spinner before so I decided that a different meal needed to be shown to it. I brought my bigger spinning rod and put a size 6 eagle claw bait holder on and a small split shot. I put the night crawler on and casted and handed the pole to WD. Told him to hang on with both hands so the trout wouldn't pull the rod out of his hand. I was just starting to remind him about setting the hook hard when the trout hit. There was no ding ding on the end of the line. There was a pick up and run with it immediately. The fish nearly pulled the rod out of WD's hands. There was no time to react. WD didn't set the hook and the trout felt the tension on the corner of its mouth and dropped it.
Three anglers in less than a week were humbled by this trout and made to feel like a 11 year old. At least WD has an excuse...He is a 11 year old.
The wise "MONSTER" female I guess at the minimum of 28 inches. Closer to 30 inches I bet and 10-12 pounds.
I know where I will be fishing opener 2012..