Fall four/five years ago.
My buddy Andy sent me an email and invited me to go fishing with him. He wanted to go to a new permission I had gotten and we fished a couple times. Both times we had fished it we did well.
Five years ago was right at the height of my left knee and back problems. My knee hurt just talking about it. I passed and Andy went on his own.
About a week later Andy sent me an email about his outing. Andy was fishing a hopper dropper and did really well by himself. Below was big fish of his outing.
I briefly read the email and focused mainly on the photo. I was jealous to say the least. Andy landing a really nice trout and me sitting on the bench made me green with envy. I quit reading the email and melted back into my recliner and turned off my laptop.
I didn't turn on my laptop for about a week. Season's end was screaming up on me and I needed to at least read about some nice fish being caught. I went to my regular internet haunts and looked at photos of fish and what they were caught on. I returned to Andy's email to look at his nice brown again.
I hadn't read the entire email. I got down to the bottom and read that Andy had a break off on that stretch he could not control or get off the bottom. My back and knee felt immediately better. It was the last week of season and I thought I could heal during closed season. I emailed Andy and asked him if he wanted to go. Andy owns his own business and fall was peak time for him and he couldn't shake loose.
I was gearing up and readying to go on my own and the phone rang. I was my buddy Floren and he was going to be in the area in the morning and wanted to fish. I set up fishing with him early the next day. The tall weeds made me take off my waders and wait until the next day so would have a friend to fish with in case my knee and back were more than I could handle.
We hit the stretch at first light. It was the 26th of September. There was a nip in the air and I was ready to go. Floren showed up with his old flimsy fiberglass rod with a closed faced ancient reel. I offered him my other spinning rig and he declined.
We were catching fish regularly. Nothing large. I remember Andy telling me the monster brown was in the hole he had gotten a double in that spring. I knew exactly where he had the break off.
I knew right where the big fish should be laying. I had seen the bottom and knew where the deep slot was. I gave Floren first crack at it. The second cast Floren retrieved his panther martin very slowly down the run. I was stationed directly behind him with my net already in hand. The spinner was literally within inches of shore when the trout hit.
Floren set the hook and trout revealed itself to us right at shore. It went up on its side and I saw the biggest small stream brown trout I had ever season in my lifetime. The panther martin bounced off the giant female's mouth and off it swam. This is no exaggeration, this old skinny female brown was the minimum of 30 inches and closer to 32. She never came back that day.
I told the tale to my neighborhood boys and they pestered me until I took them the last day of season to try for it. The youngest of the three was always bullied by his brothers and I chose him to battle the monster. He was only 9/10 years old. We practiced setting the hook in the yard. His fishing skills were limited so we were going to worm fish for it.
We went directly to the hole. After a failed cast into the tall weeds I cast it for him. I handed him the rod. Before he could get a good grip on the rod the giant brown hit. It straighten the rod out in his non-readied hand and the fish felt the tension and dropped the crawler.
It was the last day of season.....the fish was never seen again.