Got Him!

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    T. WilesT. Wiles

    2:00 AM, fishing with my buddy Knox. The night started slow…but around midnight we eased into some river stretches where the trout were waking up. On a 6 wt, floating line, 15 lb fluoro—I was getting humbled. I had a box full of new concept flies that were getting bites, but no hookups. Knox had at least 6 fish landed as I changed fly after fly hoping to uncover the newest best-yet combo of synthetic, articulated creatures that I made in anticipation for this trip.
    Finally in frustration, I resorted back to a beat-up downsized “old reliable” surface fly that I can count on. Not a pattern that I even made…so it felt like cheating.

    As Knox rowed us up, I began settling the score, and I soon caught up to his 6 fish, as I landed some beautifully marked, smaller browns. We eased into a spooky shadow line….and my fly gets a very subtle “Slurp…” I set the hook, and good God I can feel some serious headshakes as I watch the incredible bankside boils erupt on the calm water.
    “BIG FISH! ” I keep repeating. This brute charges up and down the bank in a mad rush. In the struggle, I holler for Knox to row me out to the center, and downstream of the fish, as I’m eyeing some big timber near shore that he’ll surely charge if he gets close.
    We ease down past the fish, and I put some heavy strain on the line to angle him away from the logs before he notices them. The fish plays along and comes downstream to open water…”phew….now we’re safe…..not quite!
    The fish makes a huge lunge upstream towards the logs. My heart plummets as I held the rod low, tucking in the handle and digging in to my side with everything the 15 lb would allow. Amazingly, the fish sweeps 30 yards past the upstream logs and circles back in to the open water.
    A couple more circles around the boat…a few quick flicks of the headlamps, and “Oh Wow’s!” later
    And it was time to get this guy in the undersized boat net.
    Knox stayed ready…with a couple quick aborts, as we moved the net when the fish dove away too fast….last minute scare with the line on an oar….then finally he had the fish scooped perfectly in the net…snout down/tail up.
    The fly just falls out, and the hook is bent out almost to the point of failure—-completely amazing he didn’t come off.
    No good bank to row towards, so we hopped out on a mid channel rock shelf surrounded by deep water. I was nervous to even try to lift the fish, fearful he would bolt off before a photo…iPhones were all we had working.

    Got the “in the net” photo, and measured him at 31″, keeping him in the water. My 2nd largest brown…but still a fish of a lifetime. Quick lift photo….darn headlights on. Fish in net, hat off, last raised photo.

    Had the fish posed for the swim away shot…but his tail kicks were forceful, and he took off with good momentum. We spied him gliding away with the lights…watching those leopard spots disappear into darkness.

    A great moment to share with a good fishing buddy. I rowed for most of the next hour and a half, with an occasional cast. Knox caught a few more fish and missed a couple too. We both reflected on how many hours we spent chasing moments like that.
    Made it home to bed by 5:30, and I was on the road by 8:00 with coffee in hand.

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    Holy crap! Congrats. That is ridiculous.

    Mike TolbertMike Tolbert

    Wow! That is awesome!

    John StanleyJohn Stanley

    That is a epic fish story. Good job.

    Eric WellerEric Weller

    Wow! Where did you get him at?

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    Travis continues to lap the field.


    Holy crap thats a beast of a fish. Well done!


    Nicely written in addition to a great fish!


    Horse !
    &%*( !!

    Nice one… 🙂

    A picture is thousand words that takes less than a second while a thousand words is a picture that takes a month.

    Phil BrnaPhil Brna

    Thanks for the story and photos. A very impressive trout.

    Tim AngeliTim Angeli

    Wow! Hell of a fish, Travis. Nice work.

    Steve K.Steve K.

    Travis….you are a fishing machine!


    Ty GoodwinTy Goodwin

    Travis continues to lap the field.


    T. WilesT. Wiles

    Thanks guys. That was just my lucky night.
    Knox and I met by musky fishing. We both grew up putting in tons of time in on our local waters targeting these larger trout–but haven’t gone as much lately, since less time and more fishing pressure has become the norm. I believe this is our second trip trout fishing together—felt good to cast a 6wt again.
    I hope to get out some more for trout in the next 3 months. There should be some more chances at these brutes as more start migrating in.

    Colin M.Colin M.

    Jesus Travis. Jesus.

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