After a few weeks had passed, I still couldn't take a step in a river without thinking about that fish. Wondering if he was still ruling his same domain. It's interesting, where this fish was, there are probably three or four nice looking runs in either direction from which I have never seen or caught another trout. The King had claimed his territory, Brownlandia, and any other trespassing trout probably became lunch.
Pursuing trophy trout can be extremely rewarding, but it takes time and dedication. It's not for the impatient or short-sighted. The highs are high and the lows can be oh so low. There is certainly a bit of luck involved and there's nothing more important than being able to take it on the chin when luck isn't on your side. However, upon my return quest to Brownlandia, luck was on my side and the day was mine.
After being dragged up and down the creek by this fish for a second time, it was extra sweet winning the battle this time. For a trout to achieve that size on its own in the wild is nothing short of incredible. From egg to Emperor. It took the better part of ten years for that miracle to happen. Seriously, take a minute to think about that. Think about every morning you've slept in, called in sick, or just been lazy over the last ten years. If this fish had done any of that and not been on top his game, he'd have been a merganser's breakfast, a raccoon's midnight snack, or getting freezer burned in some bait-slinger's freezer. The river never sleeps. Through sub-zero temps, flooding rains and droughts, wild fish endure it all. Survival is the only game a trophy trout plays. Please release your wild and native trout. Seriously.
It was an honor to shake hands with the King and a privilege to watch him swim away. Back to survival mode for him.
I generally try to travel pretty light. I don't carry my own flask of whiskey. I have to admit, it's not as regular of an occurrence for me to catch whiskey drinkers as it is for the Troutbitten guys. As payback for releasing the fish, the river gave me a nod. At the tailout of the pool, perfectly unearthed by rising flows was a small bottle of the King's whiskey. Cheers to the King... Let them swim.
|Long live the King.|