If I go more than a couple of weeks without a 20 inch fish, I start getting the shakes, my veins throb, and my mind starts to go. The symptoms were severe enough that I felt the need to pick my boy up from school yesterday and head out to Strawberry Reservoir, hoping to trap some minnows in a spot I've been hunching on and possibly catch some pig trout in the process.
Well, the spot turned out to be full of mature chubs, which had no interest in Ritz crackers or trying to fit into my trap. They were very aggressive to attack just about anything I was throwing for trout though. Several were caught on lures, biting and chasing every cast, but usually unable to get their small mouths around the hook.
Using a worm was super effective for them too. One nightcrawler, used over and over, was able to pull in about 15 of them before it was mush. The only thing I caught trout on was a minnow, which two smaller rainbows found.
Though they were small, my second was quite colorful and had all its fins intact, a rarity for stocked waters.
Considering the fast action for the unwanted chubs (all released after skipping off a rock), I thought this would be a great time for my boy to work on his casting.
Being only 6 years old, his desire to do anything besides reel in for me hasn't been very great until just recently. Much to my delight, he's been wanting to cast on his own a little bit more, each time we get out.
So with his worm/bubble rig ready to go, he sent his cast a short distance out and instantly had a hook up. Here's a quick video of him reeling in his very first solo fish, a Utah chub.
Good for him!
After that, it was obvious that the minnow trap wasn't getting any love, so we decide to try trapping some at Currant Creek Reservoir, while we still had some sunlight left.
Arriving at the dam with about an hour of light left, we hurried out to a good spot where I've had success from recently and started casting. The Gulp! minnow was getting hammered by the tiger trout which were out in force, regulating the shiner population along the dam.
Quite a few were landed and I stopped taking pics of them, since they were mostly the same size.
James wanted to get in on the fun, so I handed the rod off to him. After some quick coaching as to how to retrieve the Gulp!, he tossed out a sorry little cast of maybe 10 feet. Hoping he wouldn't lose my gear, but satisfied that he'd stay busy for a few minutes, I turned to check the minnow trap
Within seconds, I was very surprised (but thrilled) to hear some heavy splashing behind me. Holy crap, he somehow hooked into a thug male tiger, over 20" in length. The colorful beast was full of fight and really gave James a workout.
I watched intently and shouted encouragement while he battled it for about 30 seconds, even getting it unwrapped from a submerged log. Then I started rolling some video where the rest played out.
Tough break, but that's fishing. It was really hard not to just grab the rod and handle the hard part, but this was his fish and I felt it was important that he did all the work on the retrieve. Landing it would be nearly impossible for him, so I was ready to assist there, just as a guide would be ready with a net for a client.
What an exciting moment! Heartbreaking, but enough to give him a taste of why we anglers do what we do. He'll be back for more now! He really made his old man proud for handling it as well as he did, as if I wasn't already proud to have him there with me.
A little more practice and those "Father and Son" trips I dream about will be a reality...
With that in the past, the sun was melting into the horizon and I felt the need to capitalize on the insane sunset bite that we'd been experiencing.
A quick grab from the minnow trap provided a nice fat shiner and it was gobbled up as soon as it hit the water. The fish on the other end was very nice, but it won the battle in a rare case of breaking me off at the knot.
Another minnow provided yet another quick grab, but I failed to set the hook. This repeated itself one more time before finally getting something to stay on, a 21 inch tiger trout. Nice catch from Currant Creek, my second largest to date.
James, being such a big boy now, demanded that I let him work the camera for me and took the next three photos.
It was a great evening and my nerves can settle now, having caught something of size again. The kids had a great time and were all smiles as we boarded my mobile fishing office and departed for home.
Thanks for reading and Happy Fishing, Humans!