Sexy over Size

The Making of a Trophy

All too often we are consumed by catching the biggest fish.  Just look at the list of nicknames we have for those big fish: pig, hawg, slab, buck, toad, gator, cow, beast, monster, fatty, lunker… and of course the biggest fish in the river, Mr. Hog Johnson!  Size certainly doesn’t hurt, and in fact it’s one of the key elements in the making of a good fish story.  However, there is a lot more to a “Trophy” fish than size.  Let’s take a look at all aspects to consider in the making of that memorable fish.

Hog Johnson

The Body of Water

First and foremost, the body of water that you are fishing plays a major part in the making of a trophy.  Pulling a 10” native brook trout out of a trickle of a mountain spring is certainly one for the books.  That same fish in Maine’s Rapid River is a dink that picked up your errant fly.

Caught in a puddle in the back woods of Schuylkill County, Pa!

The Day

We all struggle from time to time on the water.  You can do everything right and you still can’t seem to feel that tight line.  You flip stone after stone, you match the hatch, you cycle through your fly box and you can’t move any fish.  It could be an adjustment of the weights or indicator, maybe that forgotten variation you tied up the night before, or just some dumb luck and you are hooked up with a nice fish that saves the day.  These are the fish that I often remember.  That feeling of accomplishment after a day of nothing but struggles often plays a part in making that memorable fish.

Those halos though!

Sexy over Size

I would much rather pose for a grip n’ grin with that sexy 15” slice of perfection over that sloppy, beat up 30” pig.  We at the CRO have even poked fun at some of those ugly monstrosities we call a fish.  Mmmmmmmm… That sexy trout though!  Dang!  We love those pictures!

Beauty and the Beast

 The Elements

Sometimes the making of a trophy has little to do with the fish.  It could be the day you battled the lake effect blizzard, or the torrential downpour that seemed to be hovering above your head all day, or maybe it was the gale force winds pounding you in the face.  Battling the elements and coming out with a beauty of a fish will definitely make it to that post on social media, and your list of memorable fish.

This one made me smile!

The Fight

Ohhhh, the fight. “The tug is the drug”, right?! Sometimes the story of the fight is better than the fish, but it doesn’t make it any less memorable.  I have fallen in over my head and still managed to land the trophy fish.  Hysterical and makes for a hell of a story.  There is no doubt that, landing a fish in Brad Pitt A River Runs Through It style will make for the ultimate trophy fish!

Almost drowned while landing this one!

The People You’re With

This is often a major player in the making of my trophies.  We have all caught fish that meet all of the elements listed above, but what makes them all the more memorable are the people you are with.  I love to be a part of those moments whether I’m behind the camera or the one holding the fish.  One of my most memorable fish was actually caught by my brother last year (maybe we can convince him to post that story one of these days!).

Photo credit goes to Jason Messersmith.

No matter what you consider a trophy fish to be, remember that “The finest gift you can give to any fisherman is to put a good fish back, and who knows if the fish that you caught isn’t someone else’s gift to you?” -Lee Wulff

So, the plan was to go ahead and share my most memorable fish with you, but I would much rather hear from you!

What nicknames am I missing?

What characteristics do you consider in the making of your trophy fish?

What is your most memorable fish?

Let’s hear some of your stories and I will share mine in a future post!

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