Took advantage of one of the last mild days in December and hit the Housatonic River for an afternoon.
Had the water to myself.
The solitude was welcome. I soaked in the beautiful day, which felt more like October than December.
The train was one of the few interruptions.
My olive and tinsel streamer connected with a nice brown on the third cast. But as I stripped it in, the fish became heavy and unmanageable. I knew it was in the 14″ – 16″ range from watching it jump, but it was feeling much heavier. Had my rod started to break down? Was I losing my touch?
As soon as I started to bring it to the net, I realized what had happened. On the retrieve it swam through some leftover line.
Put the net away and began to free the fish.
I was able to quickly untangle the brown and release it unharmed. Then I started pulling at the fluorescent line. This wasn’t a simple case of 10′ – 20′ of broken mono; this was quite a few feet of heavy line, and a marble-sized sinker.
Then I saw what was behind the sudden increase in weight. There was a sizeable long-dead brown, equal to the one I had caught, on the other end. Sorry the quality of the photo isn’t better.
I cut the line at the trout’s mouth and returned it to the water.
What’s disturbing about this is the amount of line retrieved and the size of the fish. Maybe the line broke, but it was really heavy stuff, and a lot of it. The dead brown was at one time a beautiful fish that might’ve been caught more than once, or been the one that got away.
During the year I pick up a lot of bobbers, hooks, lures, mono, containers and other debris left by anglers who enjoy all styles of fishing. No big deal. I also realize that accidents happen, and you can’t save every fish. That said, the line and fish were in water that was less than waist deep, and I used my bare hands to pull it in with minimal resistance.
Hope the last few days of the year are productive, and the fish you pull in are your own. Enjoy!