YOU HEAR IT IN THE WAY THE FLATS GUYS SAY “TROUT SET,”
and in the way steelheaders say, “I don’t fish for trout.” I’ve heard carp guys call them “trash fish.” Bass guys just call them, “bait.” In some circles it borders on contempt.
Where did this come from?
How did it happen?
When did trout stop being cool?
I’ll throw a fly at just about anything that swims. “Hey Homie, we got poons,” is all I have to hear to put my ass in the drivers seat of the Subaru for sixteen hours any day of the year. Stripers, bones, musky, snook, bass, cuda, carp, shark. I’ll fish for catfish if you give me enough to drink but if you told me tomorrow that I could only do one kind of fishing for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t even have to stop and think. Trout! I bare no shame for it.
Yet, among the hip fly fishing crowd, that’s less and less the case. Some how, in the never ending quest to be cooler than the next guy the trout has lost favor. Even though it is the trout who brought the vast majority of fly anglers to first lift a rod, and it’s the trout who gets ninety-nine percent of the fly fishing ink on both page and arm, and it’s the trout who throws the fiscal coal on the furnace of the fly fishing industry, like a bunch of Peters, these guys deny him.
A good friend who has fallen in love with tarpon after years as a trout guide told me, “I’m done catching bait fish.” A buddy I lost to musky says he “doesn’t care if he ever sees another trout.” Eight out of ten steelheaders will not even admit that a steelhead is a trout. My own brother, who kisses bass before easing them back in the water has told me, “if we’re going trout fishing I want to take some home for supper.”
Well here’s some news for you guys. An educated trout is harder to feed than a tarpon and a whole lot smarter than a steelhead. Pound for pound he’ll fight twice as hard as a musky and the world record trout is twice the size of his counterpart in the bass hall of fame. What’s more I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a creature more beautiful than a wild trout. Certainly not a carp!
I’m sure I have more than a few of you boiling over by now. Sure, I know that I’m overstating my case. Whipping up a bunch of drama over nothing. Most fly anglers love trout and I’m in good company but the detractors are out there and it’s a shame.
I’m guilty too. I take my trout for granted from time to time. Catch me just back from a bonefish trip or in the middle of tarpon season and you’d think I’d turned my back on trout too. Even when I’m catching them I’ll lose interest sometimes. I’ll turn back a dozen stockers with out even really looking at them. I did it just the other day, and then something happened. The little guy in the photo above ate my fly.
Easily the smallest fish of the day. He barely put a bend in my rod and was to hand in seconds, but when I looked at him, I fell in love all over again. I forgot all about the bonefish and the tarpon. This was the reason I got up in the dark and drove three hours to stand in the river in miserable cold. This was the reason I’ve spent half my life in a car or an airplane. This was why I’ve never had a job and a steady pay check. This beautiful, fragile, fleeting moment when I hold the swimming jewelry in my hand.
That’s how I am. I’ll flirt with the cute little twenty year old waitress but I always go home to my wife. ‘Cause that’s where I belong.Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com firstname.lastname@example.org Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!