Written: by Danny Frank
[Editor’s Note: Sometimes, when I’m looking for something in the archives, I come across a post that stops me in my tracks, like this one did. On a blog updated as often as this one, posts get buried under more content pretty quickly, so it’s nice to occasionally unearth a gem that some folks may have never seen.]
Last weekend, I was fortunate to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This event is something that I am hesitant to share details about, out of respect for both the fish and the spot, but also because of the recent criticism that has come with blogging and posting things on the “intra-webs.”
I was out fishing with a group of friends—the majority were fly fishermen, but a couple non-anglers tagged along for the mountain experience—less than three hours from Denver on a favorite section of river. At around 11:00 a.m., I saw a trout that made my heart stop. Shocked, I called my friends over to make sure it wasn’t a mirage. My hands instantly began to shake, as something in the back of my mind knew I was about to cast at the trout of my life. On my third cast, I saw the fish move slightly to its side to eat something. Instinctively, I set the hook, and the water erupted.
This fish would not have been landed without help from my good buddy, Chris Smith. As the beast tired out, we contemplated how to even fit it into the net. Chris got its head in the bag, and he used his free arm to try and support it. I thought the battle was over as I saw the mother of all brown trout, half in a net lifted a foot out of the water. As I stepped over to help control it, the net broke, and the fish disappeared. My heart sank. This trout of indescribable proportions was going to get away, and no one would believe me: it would simply be another fish tale. However, as the net had broken, Chris’s hand had instinctively shot down, saving the day as he grabbed the fish by its enormous tail.
In awe, we admired the brown while making sure to leave it in the water. We all knew what we were looking at and treated the dinosaur of a fish with the respect it deserves. Our buddy Marshal Miller had joined us on our weekend adventure, and fortunately for us, Marshal doubles as an incredible photographer. He snapped some quick pictures before the fish was safely released.
The rest of the day fished awesome. Bugs were out, and the trout fed aggressively. I didn’t fish much after that, though—just a couple more casts as the day passed. Mostly, I sat on the bank smiling about the one that didn’t get away.
Danny Frank is the man behind Delta Trout Force, a site dedicated to celebrating “the art that my friends and I take away from fly-fishing.”