We all get a hankering for fish occasionally. There is just something about fresh fish for dinner. They go great with all of the fresh Summer produce. Fish are healthy and tasty, and I was in the mood.
Now if you are a Catch and Release fanatic, that doesn’t eat fish, only uses barbless hooks, and hates spinning rods, you better stop reading this article now!
If you feel the need for fish, in Montana, that means trout. There are other species of fish but where I live is Trout City. Within 15 minutes of my home is a small stream. The water is low but there are always plenty of fish.
I took my 5-foot Ultra-light rod with a Daiwa Tournament UL reel. The great drag makes up for its small size. The spool was loaded with 2 lb. Golden Stren mono. Light tackle is great sport and allows for stealthy and fine presentation. Low water trout are easily spooked. You need to stalk them, use fluorocarbon tippets, and extra small but sharp hooks. I use size 12 Gamakatsu salmon egg hooks. They are acid sharpened, red, and strong.
I have not been bait fishing for a long time, so I took some orange sparkle Power Bait, corn, worms, and spinners. A Panther Martin in size #2 can’t be beat for locating fish. If they don’t strike it, they at least follow it. It’s a perfect way to locate fish. Once you see what is chasing, you can zero in on what bait will work.
With practice, you can even fly fish with a spinning rod. The corn and Power Bait did not get a strike, but my tiny garden worms could not be resisted. The trout were masters at a quick nibble and a spit out. My polaroid glasses helped me to see the bites and time the hook sets. After some hit and misses, I was able to hook up.
Brown trout were aplenty, but I rarely eat them. Browns contain more toxins and pollutants than other species. Rainbows tend to be cleaner and tastier. I through all the browns back and focuses on Bows for dinner. Bigger, older fish contain more chemicals than younger fish. Dinner would be a limit of 12-14 inchers.
Catching a limit is one thing but catching a specific slot limit and species is another. More browns were on the bite than bows, so most of my catch was being thrown back. I also released 2 18-inch browns. In just a few hours, I was able to hook up with over 30 fish.
On one drift, a HUGE brown bit and the battle was on. The drag was screaming, and the rod was bent over fully. My tippet was 4 lb. fluorocarbon, and the fish was way bigger. Two magnificent jumps showed me his girth and length. He was every bit of 25 inches. His home was under a big sweeper, and he knew every nook and cranny. You don’t become a pig by being dumb. I was trying to work the monster away from the snag but… You guessed it, another story about the one that got away.
The big trout was going to get thrown back anyway, but he didn’t know that.
Tight lines and screaming ultra-light reels!