Sunday Classic / It’s The Little Things

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The Sign of Good Things To Come Photo Louis Cahill

“I know it when I see it!”

Kent and I were doing a presentation at a fly shop the other day and after showing a couple of hundred fishing photos, during the Q&A part of the program, a fellow raised his hand and asked “do you guys catch any small fish?”

I guess I’m as guilty as anyone for perpetuating the idea that size is all that matters in fishing. I sure don’t feel like that’s true but when you look through my photos you, sort of, start to get that feeling. It’s easy to go too far the other direction too and get all moist and sloppy about tiny wild fish. I really do love tiny wild fish but that’s not all there is to me either. I just want to catch a great fish.

I guess I’ll define a great fish this way. When asked how he would define pornography Sen. Jessie Helms replied, “I know it when I see it!” I guess that goes for fish porn too.

The average size fish in the stream where this little guy was caught is around eighteen inches and I caught plenty of those fish the day this photo was taken, but this beautiful little guy that my buddy Dan landed is the one I’m going to show you. In my opinion he was the fish of the day. Partially because he belongs there, as much as anything other than brook trout belong in Georgia. He’s a local anyway but mostly because he is the future. He is the sign that in spite of a great many factors working against her, Nature is still doing her job in one of my favorite little streams.

One day, if we are both very lucky, I’ll catch this little guy again and maybe he’ll be eighteen inches. If I do, I doubt he’ll remember me but I’ll take another photo and we’ll see if you remember him.

That’s enough romance for now. I’ll show you something big and dirty next time.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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8 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / It’s The Little Things

  1. Well said, Louis.

    Also, mode of fishing comes in. Some fish are more memorable because you stalked, saw, and cast to a fish and got the fish to take. I recall select fish from many years ago of that ilk in salt and fresh water. Others are memorable because you changed to the right fly and got a non-eater to bite. And of course it is hard to beat a surface take as opposed to dredging (not that there is anything wrong with dredging… ).

    For me it’s all good, but some are better than others as you say in this thoughtful piece.

  2. I’m a otr (over the road) driver, my home time dictates how much fly fishing I can get in before I go back to work moving freight. I catch a ton of blue gills, big mouth bass, crappie, & sunnies (sunfish). It both not the number or size that matters to me, it’s the fact that I’m not working. If you only catch 1 fish, it’s been a good day. A bad day of fishing beats any good day@ work!

  3. Amen! Thank you Louis for bringing up this idea that the most important fish is the one the angler caught. Anglers should not be made feel inferior for just catching small fish. Many of us work one or more jobs and can’t spend the time (or money) on the “really good waters”.

  4. It’s refreshing to read this. I spend most of my time (158 days so far this year) on the water here in the Eastern Sierra going after Trout that are no bigger than 10-12″. Why? Beauty comes in small packages. Some of the most beautiful fish I have ever hooked up are no bigger than 10 or inches.

    Thanks for reminding me of this.

    Here are some examples of them beautiful critters from 11-12K feet…

  5. Sorry to be “that guy” and a law nerd but it was actually U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who first described pornography as “I know it when I see it….” Jacobellis v. Ohio. 1964.

    The only reason I know that is because some 15 years ago when I first read it in law school, it made a big impression on me and I (like you, apparently) filter many life experiences through that lens.

  6. The size of fish certainly would be the best match with type of fishing tackle and other stuffs used through. Angling experience somewhat creates a big difference too. Although, the right fishing technique with suitable baits and casting styles get you a desired click underwater!

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