One more cast
My 8-year old son and I hit a central PA stream Saturday morning 7/7. It's a stream that doesn't get any press, but I've seen a disproportionate amount of big fish caught in the few times I've fished it. It's stocked, so it's always had a lot of pressure early in the season, so I wanted to see what we could do after the crowds subsided, as the water remains cold and it has a good population of wild browns. We arrived around 5:45 and enjoyed the cool air temps for a change. The water was nicely stained and when our first three casts produced bites, resulting in a rainbow apiece for my son and I, I thought we were going to have a great day. I switched to a minnow lure and several casts later hooked into my personal best of a 22" brown, that made three phenomonal airborne attempts to throw the lure. I could not get over the mass on this fish as I held him in my hands and watched his swim away.
We moved down stream and the fishing slowed considerably as the sun hit the water. However, I hooked another large brown in a deep shaded run. It likely went around 18- 20", but with with a lot less mass than the first one. With the stronger current, it put up a bigger fight though. It flopped into the water as I was removing the hook, so didn't get an exact measurement or great pics. I lost another big one in a deep long pool about a mile downstream that will haunt me till I can return.
As we made the walk back around 11:AM, I felt bittersweet. I had a phenomonal day landing two of the largest browns of my life, but my son hadn't caught a fish since his first cast. He was in good spirits, but could sense he was a bit disappointed watching fish caught and his limited success. The water had completely cleared up and as we crossed the bridge by our vehicle where we started, we now noticed how deep and inviting it looked under the bridge. In the murky water in the morning, we had skipped over it. Although we thought we were done fishing, I asked him if he wanted to try one more spot. He said sure, so we made our way down. He fished for a while with no bites so I threw in my minnow plug and noticed a huge dark shadow following. I cast out again, landing the plug a few inches beside a partially submerged tree in the shadows beneath the bridge and handed the rod to my son. I'm not sure he made it a full crank in his retrieve and another shadow darted out from under the tree and attacked the plug and the fight was on, which was about as much as an 8-year old could handle. This one again went airborne several times and miraculously stayed in the open water didn't attempt to tangle us in the tree. It stretched the tape at 18" and was a beauty. It was the perfect ending to our day as we watched the big brown retreat back to his tree.