Thanksgiving through C&R

The fly fishing community is a small world, and when you catch and release an incredible fish in a small stream you usually never know who will catch it next.  Thanks to the internet and social media, those dots are being connected a lot easier now a days and it sometimes allows you to see who benefited from your own catch and release practices.  A few weeks back a young local angler, Nathan Crowe (@nathan_crowe18 on IG), caught a fish of a lifetime and after some spot comparisons he sent us a message on IG saying he thought it might be the same fish that was shown in the Salmosearch video.  After comparing our own notes on the fish and where it was landed, we confirmed it was the same fish, almost a year after I had caught it. Here is Nathan's story:

"I had fished this stream a long time ago back and was glad to be back in these waters once again. I knew there were big fish here and I am acutely aware of the big browns that lurk in the deeper holes and slower stretches of water. After fishing my way downstream and not hooking up with or catching a glimpse of a nice sized fish, I found my confidence waning and for some reason, something felt wrong, I was throwing a big ol’ green squirmy worm due to the tinge in the water but unable to coax up.  I love throwing huge stuff in and after the rain. I settled into a nice hole with a deep, slow tailout and made about three drifts and my line just stopped dead.  I set the hook and instantly knew it was big, but I had no idea how big until the fish backed out of depths of the hole , I saw what it was and I about crapped myself.  She bulldogged me like crazy and refused to come up to the top.  Surprisingly, she never jumped but she did head-shake hard a couple of times.

Sure enough, that big broad kept trying to rap me around that rock at least five times.  At one point, she took off upstream went up to the hole just above where I hooked into her and then right back down,  Thank God the drag on my reel performed flawlessly.  Sometimes my drag doesn't want to cooperate on bigger fish, but it did for her and I was so grateful.

I finally got her into the net and saw where she was hooked and It was a big relief as I had a really solid hookset. I was fishing 5x mono that I had already landed two fish earlier in the day so I knew it was probably a little frayed which definitely had me nervous.

Once I netted her, I couldn't breathe.  Like everyone who has ever taken up fly fishing, a fish like that was on my bucket list since my first day on the water.

I remembered watching the #Salmosearch video months back and I had my sights set on a fish like that ever since.

Never once did I think that I would get a shot at that one…"

-Nathan

Nathan, Congrats on the catch of a lifetime and thanks for sharing your story with us!  It’s funny that you say you felt something was wrong all day because that is exactly what happened to me.  I hadn’t caught a thing all day up until I set into that brute.

For me personally, the picture of Nathan’s catch was an amazing thing to see.  It may sound ridiculous to some, but catching that fish last year meant everything to me.  I had just lost my mom to cancer a month earlier and simply being back on the water was all I was looking for that day.  Hooking into this fish was affirmation to me that no matter where my travels would take me, my mother’s spirit was with me.  Physically she is gone, but never once during this past year have I felt abandoned, lonely, or lost without her actually here.  I goes without saying the I miss her dearly, but I see things like Nathan’s catch happen and I can say that, without a doubt, she is here and speaks to me every day…all I have to do is look for her and to listen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.