Picture of the Day: Beginner’s Luck?


Written by: Phil Monahan

A.J. Gottschalk Brown Trout

Not bad for a guy who’s been fly fishing for just two months.

photo courtesy A.J. Gottschalk

Editor’s Note: Here’s a great email and picture we received from A.J. Gottschalk, a graduate student in Archaeology who lives in Western New York. Once we saw the fish (and the killer hat) and read the story, we just had to post it.

First of all, I’d like to thank you guys for what you do. I listen to the podcast all the time. I enjoy the little jokes before the official beginning of the podcast, I like how it ties in what is going on with Orvis News, and I love how much I learn from it. SInce I do a lot of fishing by myself, the podcast functions as one of my main fishing mentors. I’ll just say that I spend a lot of time fishing with Tom Rosenbauer. . . .

Though I’ve been fishing my entire life, I’ve only been fly fishing for two months, and tying for a month. The podcast is usually the soundtrack to my tying. I was born in Florida, so the great majority of my time fishing was spent on salt water, where the fish typically set the hook themselves and the risk of coming unbuttoned seems far less. Granted, fishing for tarpon is like hooking into one giant mass of muscular release tool, but typically when they come unbuttoned they take your terminal tackle with them. I’m hoping to fish for them on the fly for the first time next year.

However, I now live in Western New York, where I attend graduate school (when I’m not fishing). My usual target has been browns, but it is shifting toward steelhead. The difference in the fight is like night and day, and for the most part steelhead have been beating me up pretty bad. The acrobatics of the fish and their powerful runs are the closest I’ve come in freshwater to the feeling of fighting a tarpon.

Lately, I’ve spent more time perfecting my long-distance release than landing fish, it seems. Steelhead in particular have done their best to hammer my fly, give me some brief acrobatic displays, and then fire my fly back at me or just take it with them. I know that everyone loses fish but I can’t help but feel that a discussion on fighting fish could certainly be useful! This bring me to my topic suggestion: it’d be great if you guys can do a segment on playing/fighting fish.

Thanks again and keep the great podcasts coming! I loved today’s podcast on big trout, especially after seeing Matt Heron’s monster. Here’s my own personal best brown from my two months of fly fishing (and freshwater trout fishing, period), which I caught on Monday. He taped at over 28 inches.

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