Sherron Catches Record Tiger Trout
Fly fishing provides great enjoyment for us as anglers – big fish, small fish, many fish or no fish, something keeps us coming back for more and I often wonder if Mother Nature is playing a big magic trick on us. Some days, some seasons, some hatches, and some moments are more magical than others.
As I sit here in my fly tying room contemplating why I get such a big kick out of testing the limits of my A.D.D., my mind travels back to a couple seasons ago. A good friend Sherron Hill and I along with a few other buddies were fishing the stillwaters of Falcon’s Ledge Fly Fishing Lodge in Eastern Utah. We discussed our plans for the day over a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and various pork products. It was late May and there were plenty of fish to be had on chironomids, damsels, scuds, and other stillwater fodder.
Sherron, in his early seventies, had never had the opportunity to fish the stillwaters at Falcon’s Ledge, let alone retrieve a chironomid on a floating line. The weather looked promising and by lunch time Sherron was fishing damsels and chironomids like a pro. Only one thing, the fishing was “slow.” We had brought fish to the net but not the usual “banjo” fishing that we were accustomed to at that time of year. (Banjo=Red Hot Fishing)
Sherron’s persistence and focus would eventually pay off but it didn’t make things any easier on me as his guide for the day. Sherron is the type of guy that always has a smile on his face and a day on the water with only a few fish to the net wouldn’t have taken that smile away…thankfully.
We did what any fishermen would have done in our situation. We moved to another location and caught a few more fish but then the fishing turned off like a light. We moved to another stillwater and found fish taking chironomids just under the surface. My first thought was to tie on a dry-dropper but then the wind picked up and Mother Nature made her presence known. It had rained the night before and the smell of sage was still lingering into the afternoon hours (I LOVE Utah!) When fishing chironomids, a little wind is a good thing as it gives your fly much needed movement making your fly appear more natural. Too much wind can just put a damper on plans however. We were experiencing so much wind that at one point I found both of my wading boots untied and I wondered if Mother Nature was playing another one of her old tricks.
Right as we were about to move to another stillwater, the wind died down and it looked like we would be able to play for a while longer. Sherron was still smiling. We were all glad to finally have a rest from the tug of war with Mother Nature and soon Sherron would be in another battle.
Thirty inch trout aren’t all that common. Occasionally, we will see one at Falcon’s Ledge and a rising heart rate is an understatement. Throughout the Falcon’s Ledge 18 year history, most of the 30″ fish that have ever made it to the net have been Browns. BIG BROWNS. The type of Browns that eat mice, fish, and small children. I swear I’ve seen some of those browns chowin’ on our chef’s famous breakfasts at the lodge. Needless to say, the water we were fishing didn’t have browns but it did have tiger trout and some the size of my leg ( My inseam is 30″…coincidence?)
We first saw him, or her, or it cruising along the shore in front of us. It’s difficult to describe, but I’ll try anyway. Making eye contact with a fish like that could be compared to riding in the Kentucky Derby with a unicorn. Magic! Most definitely the behemoth saw us and he would have given us the “California Howdy” but fish don’t have fingers. He wanted nothing to do with the flies we had on. I switched out Sherron’s bugs a few times and even tied on a Higa’s SOS but he still rejected it (What kind of fish rejects an SOS?)
After many more fly changes “I saw Sherron’s indicator disappear out of the corner of my eye. He set the hook and the fight was on! Initially the fish acted like he wasn’t really affected by the small chironomid pattern stuck in his lip. Then, within a number of minutes, the battle started to get intense. Sherron had not seen the fish quite yet but he knew this was the biggest trout of his life…and ironically his first tiger trout. Multiple runs proved to wear on both the angler and the fish. Tim stepped out in the water for net duty and successfully
netted the giant fish just before he could make another run (after what seemed forever). The fight lasted about twenty minutes, after pictures the trout was released back into the stillwater, lots of handshakes and high fives were exchanged between anglers and the photographer. Way to go Sherron! ” – Falcon’s Ledge Guide, Grant Bench