What's the best fish you have ever caught? Fly rod or other tackle. My best fish, not the largest fish, was a 5.5 pound yellowtail snapper this past summer. It was a blast on light spinning tackle. As for fly rod, only about a 1 pound bass. This year I hope to catch some monster fish though.
The most memorable fish I've caught is a different matter! I once caught an 18" Crappie on a very large fly rod popper while fishing a small pond for bass. The first Pickerel I ever caught, when I was a kid, was taken on a small spinner. It struck just as I was lifting the lure from the water to make another cast. I recall it fell off the hook as I swung it onto the shore, and I jumped on it to keep it from flopping back into the water. The first Smallmouth Bass I ever caught was on a silver & chrome Rebel Humpback lure in a small stream that will remain nameless here in MD. It was only about 10" long, but it hit & fought hard, and to this day, they're my favorite freshwater species. I remember a 12" Bluegill I caught as a kid in a tidal creek near where I grew up, taken on a small streamer while fishing for Perch. That's a big Bluegill in this area as an average size is 5-6". I once caught several Striped Bass in the Susquehanna River, on Deceivers & an old 8 wt fiberglass fly rod. All of them were over 30" in length. Have no idea how much they weighed, and all were released. That was during the first year of the Moratorium that was placed on them. I was fishing for bass, but the Stripers cooperated more! I also once caught two carp in a small stream on my fly rod, the first I ever caught with it. Both took about 30 minutes to land, and both took a nymph with a bit of earthworm added. I was fishing for Bluegills, and didn't even realize there would be carp in that small stream. I lost a bass one time while fishing a river in Florida with my 6 wt. It was the end of the day, right across the river from where I rented a boat. May have been over 5lbs, but I'll never know for sure.The knot gave way, and I only got a quick look at it. I had caught several smaller bass & lots of big Bluegills that day, so it was great way for the day to end. Memories!
Yeah, my first fish were pretty good too. The first I ever caught was baby hammerhead sharks off a fueling pier in kane'ohe bay in Hawaii. My second fish were bonefish on the flats of the bay. The eels were pretty cool to catch too.
My best fish was on a spimnning tackle. It was a 5lb 24 in. smallmouth bass in a small pond in NH. I was so excited when it took the first leap! On a fly rod it would have to be an 18 in. salmon at the penobscott river in Maine.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Best Fish
Several come to mind, and I lost every one of them. They 'bested me and my gear.' Those are a burn into the brain. One was a King Salmon on the lower Kalama River in SW Washington. Fish hit the hook damned near at my feet and shot straight across the river and beached himself 4'ish feet up on the far bank rocks. Rolled, rolled and pulled out the hook and flopped back into the river.
A "HOLY SHIP!!!DID YOU JUST SEE THAT!!!!!!???????" moment.
Next best fish was on the Russian River a tad below Healdsburg, CA (Lived there at the time) Casting one of Sages very first 2handers (another story) and you feel 'eyes on the back of your head.' Father and Son on the beach behind me (this is 1986'ish) and a shout out from Dad: 'May I ask what kind of rod (it was a Sage 1367-4, or what ever the numbers supposed to be).
Reeled in and walked into the beach and telling Dad/Son (about 15?) about 'Spey Rods,' yada-yada. Kid's eyes are the size of salad plates as he already fished one handers. 'Would you like to learn how to cast one of these?'
(Seriously, this is a true story.)
Young fellow just waded out into the river with me in his Blue Jeans and Tennies. 15 minutes later (give or take) he was just busting casts; a total "Natural." When I teach, there's no fly .. pointie thing on the end of the leader.
An 'Ok, I think you've got this pretty well down, have a fishing license?' (Stupid question). Put on a Green Butted Skunk if memory serves and back in he goes. He had to be colder than hell as this was February. Even in Nor. Cal., that water is COLD.
Doubt he made a dozen casts and FISH ON. Screaming, Hooting, and Hollering, splashing around and FISH ON!! Fish on. (He landed same)
As this all is going on, Father looks over at me and asks: "How much is it going to cost me to get him one of those rods and stuff?" Got his phone number; contact at Sage; DT line info for Canada. That's an exact quote, somethings you just don't forget.
Did he? No idea.
Personal here? I've given several rods 'away,' never sold one. That "Man and Material" were just .. just top of the game Naturals. I can sit back and think about ....
A Delicious Memory for an 'Old Man?' That's how I got started with "Mr. Coles" in British Columbia.
Gentlemen/Ladies: "Pass it forward."
It's called: Casting for Recovery, Wounded Warriors, fill in the name. Man up, get up, shower up, suit up, and show up.
First steelhead trip several years ago. Some sketchy advice from a local fly shop, no guide, no idea what to use. Tied on a black egg-sucking leech and hooked 21 'B'-run steelies from the Clearwater River in two days of fishing. The weather was nasty, the water high and off-colored, and the fishing was hot. I only landed 7 of the 21, but what a hoot!
1 of the 7 landed:
Next was a trip to Kodiak, Alaska back on 07. Silvers on the fly. I built my flyrod for the trip and we fished non-stop for 6 days.
1st fish of the trip - Humpy:
Last fish from Pasagshak estuary - Bright Silver Salmon:
Last Silver of the trip out of Buskin Lake:
Many memorable fish since that time, especially this beast from my favorite spring this past season:
And this one from the lower Henry's Fork a couple of years ago:
Too many memorable fish to name all of them, but you get the idea.
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: Best Fish
I have way to many to list, but my biggest was an 805 pound Pacific Blue Marlin when I was in the Navy. Actually a pretty memorable one as well because the guy I was fishing with pretty much wanted to get it over as fast as possible and backed the boat at it like we were on a deadline. It was way to green when we got to it and it landed in the boat. Nobody was injured, but it did some damage. I never took fish pictures in those days. I might have with that one but I didn't even bring a camera along.
My most memorable from recent years, is the first Lake Sturgeon I hooked fly fishing. It was in the md 60" long range. It jumped right in front of me with the fly hanging in the corner of it's mouth. This was all experimental so I was quite happily shocked when I discovered it worked. It ran me out way into backing and I tried to hard to turn it and busted it off. I landed the next one and have a phot of that one, but the first was way more memorable even though I lost it.
I have a lot of really memorable ones. My first Northern Pike over 40" on a fly rod. My first really big Walleye on a fly rod. lots of them.
I believe my best King story is pretty much like yours. The fish was large but you don't weigh what you don't land do you? It grabbed the fly and then acted very much like Flipper while I stood there with my backing becoming extinct. It went under a down tree across and down river where it ran aground like your fish. While it was aground I reeled line and began wading a river that one should not attempt. Just before I reached the point of no return (because you then drown) the salmon got back into the water and streaked down river crossing back to the side I was on when the show began. It skidded through the riffles at the tail of the run I had been fishing and raced on down. I was left knowing that all I could do was to point the rod at the fish and clamp the reel hoping to have a fly line when things broke.
The leader knot popped, the line was spared, and I began to examine seriously the way I was reacting when I hooked into a hot fish. In the many years that have passed since that king showed me what for I've refined my game and there have been way too many to recall or to post pictures of here. A few other notables have been brown trout down east and large sea run char here in AK. My first Alaskan Grayling was pretty memorable but at the time I was not photographing fish and thus you would have to take my word that it was a beauty. On and on and like Big Jim, perhaps they all have been the best
I have to thank JCW355 (is that an inmate number?) for reminding me about the "best fish." I've been trying to think of the biggest, prettiest, etc., but JCW reminded me that the best fish I've caught are the ones I was trying to catch, could see, made a decent cast to with a fly that resembled what they wanted to eat, and then landed. Like all of you, I've caught my share of big fish by mistake or -- this never ceases to amaze me -- stripping in to move to another spot or pack it up.
First fish my wife caught on a fly rod was on a lake we backpacked to in the Sierras. It was a small trout, but it was a real trout, and she cast where it was rising and caught it. All these years later I remember that small trout - and I'm sure she does, too.