Dan Stewart with his best big brown to date and #9 over 10 LB. The big hen weighed 17 LB. and was caught on his own custom paint job. Congrats man! RTMs will be doing the mount.
Click to view image
One month into Spring 2013 and already several Brownbagger members have caught some nice browns over 10 LB. That is the magical number members must surpass to add browns to the Brownbagger List. To see the list on the A/C plug website, click here: http://www.acplugs.com/page/clubs. It is a trophy brown trout club started by Brownbagger President and A/C Plug inventor, Allan Cole, back in the early 70ís. To get into the club, you must catch at least two browns over 10 LB. and be able to verify it with photos at the least and witnesses, if possible, especially if it is for original entry.
Allan was wise, lucky, or both to figure out just how tough it was to catch a couple over 10 LB.. I would guess that I have probably caught a few hundred browns over 8 LB. in the last 30 years but only landed 6 Over 10 LB. With the exception of the Great Lakes, Europe and parts of South America, it is extremely difficult to catch (2) over 10 LB. I can go back over many stories I remember of anglers catching huge browns, many over 20 LB. that never got another over that magical 10 LB. mark!
This spring got off to a great start for Allan when he caught his 38th brown over 10 LB. This 11 LB. 8 oz. hookjaw was a stubby guy as you can see in the photo. After a few shots Allan dropped him back in to grow some more. Maybe you will be the lucky angler to hook him next time!
I was very fortunate to pick up a nice hookjaw recently. I knew almost instantly when he hit that he was a good fish. It was nearly dark so it was hard to tell anything when he surfaced way back behind the boat but his weight and the rod load had my adrenaline level amped up a bunch. His initial run smoked the drag and I hung on and enjoyed the ride! When I could make him out, right behind the boat, there was no doubt he was over 10 LB. Hooked lightly, the lure came out in the net so he was an easy release for me. He was close to the 11 LB. mark but I will call him 10.75 LB. for the record. At this point in the game, I am glad to just get a few photos with them and with great satisfaction, release them when possible. As mentioned earlier, he was my 6th brown over 10 LB. since 1999. I was blessed to be able to put my grandson, Colin, onto a couple over 10 as well so a total of (8) have made in into my boat. The next morning, I hooked up again on another big brown within 50 feet of the one the night before. I wasnít as lucky this time as the brown chewed me off after an initial hard run. You win some, you lose some!!
Allan called me from Lower Twin during opening weekend to bemoan that it wasnít going that great for him this particular trip. He did say a few anglers had caught (4) over 10 LB. just on the opening weekend though! I know from fishing both Upper and Lower Twins going back into the early 80ís how tough they can be. After many trips up there over the years, with my Dad, I finally got a nice 9 LB. hookjaw from Upper Twin back in 1990.
Neither produced any over 10 LB. that I know of this last year. Both lakes have produced California State Record browns with at least (3) I know of over 25 LB. topped by fellow Brownbagger, Danny Stearmanís current record of 26 LB. 8 oz. caught back in 1987. I was actually there the day he caught it! John Minami caught what I believe is one of the most beautiful giant browns ever out of Lower Twin in 1983. At a little over 26 LB. that was the previous record before Dannyís.
And last but not least, another Brownbagger and good friend, Dan Stewart, caught his biggest brown to date with this massive hen that weighed right on 17 LB. She tapped out to 33.5 in. and I will be picking her up soon for the mount. As told to me by Dan, he wasnít that sure just how big she was at first but when she finally came to the boat, his line was straight down about 75 feet and just slid right on by the boat like she didn't know she was hooked. He said when he finally got her up and could see her it was ďnervous timeĒ as it took several passes to finally line her up for the net. It is the scariest time of all and you will find yourself praying that they donít get off. A lot of big fish are lost right at the boat and it may or may not have anything to do with an anglerís mistakes. You are usually holding your breath that they are hooked well. If an angler makes a mistake, it is usually that they try and hurry the fish and donít have a loose enough drag. Anyway, God smiled on Dan as he slid the big hen into his net and officially landed his 9th brown over 10 LB. Congrats Buddy......nobody works as hard as you do on the browns!!
With the wife still down in California, I still have a couple of trips up my sleeve so check back soon for another report!