We had been to the hole twice in the week prior. We both picked out battle stations. Mine was out in the main channel. My casting skills with a fly rod with a large fly on was atrocious. Joe was much better at staying out of the trees on his back casts. This gave him a distinct advantage. He could get upstream just a little father than me.
His recent dominance of the large brown trout was getting way one sided. We decided to fish the hole at the same time with the same set up. I had been the net man numerous times over the years and I wanted a fair shot.
Of course I had found the monster in the hole and he was getting the hole served up to him on a silver platter without putting in any of the leg work.
We positioned ourselves on the hole. Joe had his mouse on the water before me. I was still trying to false cast and position a good lay down near the bank.
It was 3am and we had picked a full moon to attack the hole. I had injured a knee night fishing once when I was fishing alone and swore never to night fish alone again. Sorry I bounced to another thought but I was trying to paint a complete picture.
I had my mouse on the water finally. Joe had retrieve a couple times before I could get where I wanted. Joe's cast was way up in the down logs at the head of the hole this time. He was working the sheer drop off on the right side.
He was about half way back on his retrieve when it happened. The moon light illuminated water exploded. I had never seen such a ferocious hit on the surface. It was still kinda dark but the sounds of the splashing and the strain on the line was audible.
I was really close to the hook up but I was unable to walk forward because of the depth of the hole. All of these sounds and muted images were no more than 15 feet in front of me. I was helpless to assist Joe. Joe was shouting for the net. I was frozen there for a second. I was taking all of it in slow motion. Joe's screaming broke me from my trance.
I back tracked down stream and got up on the rock ledge Joe was perched on. I had to turn my head from the battle to position myself. I caught myself turning to watch again. Damn Gawkers Syndrome had me for a second. I snapped out of it and got on task again.
I very carefully got behind Joe. The rock ledge Joe was on had a 9 foot drop off on the edge. I toe tapped the ledge as I approached the battle field. There was no wading up to my neck and netting this monster. We had to wait until it tired out.
It ran back and forth in the swimming pool sized hole quite a few times. It had not surfaced since it obliterated the mouse and rained down a massive splash. It gave Joe and I time to calm down.
This was the longest battle with a trout I had ever been a part of. It refused to come off the bottom. I kept telling Joe to be careful of the line on the rock ledge and steer it clear of it because the line would break if sawed on it.
With no rhyme or reason the trout suddenly surfaced right in front of us. The second it hit the surface the fish's instincts kicked in and went in to an alligator roll. It must have rolled itself in the line 5-6 times. It was thrashing and trying to break the line with all of its might.
It wasn't exactly the best time to try netting it but I thought it would break the line very soon and I wanted a photo of this carnivorous monster. I stretched out with my net and scored with my first attempt. The line broke with a crack immediately.
We had no tape measure or scale. Joe had recently caught a monster and he told me this one was just a hair smaller and he was letting it go. It took quite some time to revive the tired giant. It slowly left the shallows of the ledge and immediately dove in to safety of the abyss.