Trout fishing on a private pond in Grey, Maine (October 20, 2013)

My friend John recently moved from the city to the country side where he bought a beautiful house in the woods. The previous owner dammed up a small spring-fed streamlet and dug a 12-ft deep hole to create a small pond in the backyard. He also stocked that pond with four dozen 8” rainbow trout and a handful of 5 lbs. spawners! John, who knows my passion for fishing, invites me over to try to catch one of those monsters. I readily accept after some light arm twisting : ) He does request that I make sure to remove the barbs from the hooks of my lures because he doesn’t want to injure the smaller rainbows in his pond.

 

I show up in his back yard at 8 am with my 10-year old nephew Christian, who is just as excited as I am about the possibility of catching the fish of a lifetime. I’ll fish with #2 Mepps spinners on an ultra-light rod with a reel containing 6-pound test line, a Woolly Bugger on a fly rod with sinking line, and a 4” plastic swim bait on a heavier rod and reel. Christian will fish with a bobber and live worms. We see surface activity as we quietly approach the pond upon arrival: the fish are picking at stuff in the water film, and one of them is huge!! I implore Christian to crouch down and to walk softly so as not to scare the fish. I start casting my Mepps but without generating any interest. Christian, on the other hand, gets several bites in the first 30 minutes but is either too distracted or not putting enough tension on the line to set the hook quickly enough.

John walks out and we start chatting. He mentions that the large rainbows tend to stay low on the bottom. John’s son also comes outside; Christian quickly loses interest in fishing and instead runs off to play in the woods with his new friend. Things quiet down after the boys retreat in the house to play video games and John goes about his business elsewhere. The sun is quickly rising in the sky and all the fish have definitely moved away from the surface. I cast out my Wooly Bugger for about 15 minutes. No biters.

 

The blog author with his monster rainbow trout

The blog author with his monster rainbow trout

I’ve got to change strategy by finding a way to place my bait just above the bottom. I take a deep breath and put on a bobber, a split shot, and a small (unbarbed) hook loaded with live worms on my ultralight fishing rod … Bobber fishing is not my thing but I don’t want to come home skunked either!  I set the bobber so that the hook ends up about 3 ft off the bottom. I cast it out several times and slooowly bring in my line to let the baited hook search for fish below. And then it happens. The bobber gently trembles and escapes sideways. I immediately set the hook and feel something very heavy at the other end. Shit! I must have gotten stuck on something on the bottom. Just as suddenly, my line starts ripping off the reel as the bobber dives under the water. Holy mackerel, I’ve got me one of the monsters!!

 

 

 

 

 

This beauty measured 25.5" and weighed 5.5 pounds!!

This beauty measured 25.5″ and weighed 5.5 pounds!!

It takes several minutes of line ripping off my spool and me reeling it back in before I even get a glimpse of what’s pulling at the other end. I can’t suppress a scream of sheer exhilaration when I see my catch for the first time: it is a HUGE rainbow trout. I yell to get Christian and John out of the house but they don’t hear me. Darn! The fish is now close to the surface and makes three spectacular jumps out of the water. It freaks me out because I’m fully aware that my hook has no barb. I’ll have to shoot myself behind the shed if this fish unhooks now! But I carefully manage the tension on the line and make sure it doesn’t slacken. Slowly but surely, the fish tires, rolls on its side, and swims into the waiting net. I run inside to get John and Christian. John is astonished: he didn’t know such a big fish was even present in his pond. We measure and weigh the beast: it is 25.5” long and weighs 5.5 lbs!! Wow, that’s the biggest rainbow I’ve ever caught in open water. I’m glowing and grin from ear to ear.

 

 

 

The results: I caught a 25.5’ and 5.5 lbs. rainbow trout in 1.5 hours of fishing. Christian is skunked.

 

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