So Friday at the shop a theme arose. Trout photos were the part of many conversations, including we shop guys bitching that we need new pictures on our screen saver slideshow. One customer said that he doesn't mess with photos when fishing, and I thought \"how profound\".
So by 7 when Jake and I were trying to escape the shop I decided to head to a favorite spot, with a new pattern, Amy's Ant Olive #10, and leave the iPhone and Kodak in the truck.
It was simple evening fishing in the Gallatin Valley-sandals, a light 5 weight, a box of attractor dries, and my net.
My first cast was a 15 inch rainbow. The next few drifts yielded 'bows of similar size, and I left that pool to another upstream. The sun set, I fired the Ant into a narrow current, and hooked and landed a 17 inch rainbow. I then caught a 20 inch rainbow with the same fly. I felt the racing, powerful tail rip the meaty fish through the small pool, felt the throb in the cork of my Winston. I reared back on its two runs into the branches. I released it with a powerful slap of its tail.
Two casts later, a yellow snout poked at the ant, I set the hook, and the hiss of my line slicing the pool attached to a digging, head-shaking brown was unmistakable. I thought about nothing-not wondering if I will land it, or if I will drop the camera in the creek, or if the guys will believe me. I just thought about a big trout. I thought about a bug that these trout crushed. Thought about big trout at sunset.
The brown was strong, 24 inches, butter yellow with large black spots. It's adipose fin was bigger than my thumbprint. It's tail was the size of my hand. I cradled it in the current, examining a 6 inch scar on his flank. He was as long as my arm and shoulder. He was balanced chill. Then, with a pulse from his shoulders to tail, he fired off upstream into the dark shadows of the cut bank.
I don't have any proof of the biggest trout I've caught in a long time. And really, that's ok, because I experienced pure trout fishing bliss, just for me.
I thought about this on the drive home. Why do I fish with a camera? What does carrying that camera do to the experience? Can my ego survive big trout and no \"proof\"?
I think the answers are pretty clear after last night. The only battery operated device coming with me the rest of the summer is a headlamp.
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