12 inches is a unique size! Fishermen could not accurately measure this, even with a ruler. 20 inches is even further out of reach. To fishermen, less is more. If the fish fights hard, it grows even more. From the pole to the net to the stringer, the fish miraculously grows. Even after the fish is dead, it continues to grow over time.
The goal for many fly fishermen is 20 inches. I am amazed at how many 18-inch fish add 2 inches after they are caught. 18 inchers are great sized fish, but 20 inches makes a better story.
The only thing that grows faster than a fish’s length, is the numbers caught! How many times have you heard fishermen brag about 100 fish days? That’s fast fishing that rarely happens. Less than 20 % of fish populations are at the biggest end of the scale. Odds are against too many being caught.
Fishermen’s lies are normally about 20%. After that, the story just makes no sense.
Fishermen don’t mean to lie; they just can’t help it! Years ago, I would meet friends at Raynold’s Pass, along the Madison River in Montana. We would fly fish our brains out and sit around the fire telling stories. My stories were always close to the truth. My friend Joe thought I was stretching the truth. The next day, he followed me and spied on my catch. Using binoculars and a push button counter, he stealthfully counted my days catch.
That night he asked how my fishing was. I told him my story and he was surprised! I told him” I netted six 20-inch fish and maybe 60 fish total”. “You are full of it, you did not catch 60 trout, you caught 72, and eight were over 20 inches not six.” He never doubted the truth of my stories again.
Size matters too much, for some. Success and pleasure should not need to be measured by size! Process, experience, and pleasure are more important. Relaxing and enjoying the day are more important than getting a limit.
We never catch enough fish in our lives. Our limits will never be full. That’s ok. There will always be a bigger fish to be caught. You will need one more cast, one more bite, and one more lie. It’s called fishing!
Use two hands and smile!
For more Montana Grant, catch him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.