We released this killer hookjaw right after the photo.
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When I was standing behind Phil Hamblin's boat last week when we were up at Crescent Lake together, I noticed the name on his boat. "Making Memories" is what he chose to name it and he explained about his fishing trips with his grandkids and how much it meant to them both. It says a lot about why we fish......to make memories. In the end, that is what we will have to look back on......great memories of the people we fished with and the experiences we shared. The big fish we caught and better yet, the really BIG ones that got away! Those are the ones we never forget and make the best stories!
It didn't take too much coercing to get Jan to head up to East with me as summer finally seems to be getting here. The weather was supposed to be warming all week and the moon was hitting the new moon phase in the middle of the week. I was excited to get up to one of my favorite lakes. Speaking of memories, it was just last summer that I caught a nice 10 LB.+ hookjaw in early June and then put my oldest grandson, Colin, onto his second brown over 10 LB. in late Sept. from this special lake.
Being only 40 miles from my house, I usually take the trailer up first and we set it up and then I go back and get my boat. It is a little to late in the game to try and break my wife in on trailering and so I don't. We got up there early Mon. evening and I did get out for a few hours and worked skinny water on top in front of the resort. Nothing big but several browns to around 3 LB.
Tues. morning I got out early and worked several areas I have caught fish from regularly over the years and scratched out a few browns to around 2.5 LB. I picked up Jan around 10:00 a.m. and we worked until noon with another 5 browns in the same size range. That evening I was on my own and tried out some new paint patterns I got from Dan Stewart and Brad Stout. Brad had a chub pattern that was "over the top!" A really beautiful paint job that is hard to describe....lets just say it is a killer looking chub! Both these guys can really paint and have some great patterns. I caught browns on both of their lures though nothing of an size....at least so far!
I was scheduled to take my uncle, Dick Arnold, out on Wed. morning. I picked him up at the Hot Springs ramp around 8:00 a.m. and we worked some different runs for most of the morning. He had to leave by 11:30 so I was hoping we might hit a few better fish. That is exactly what happened and around 10:00 I saw the downrigger rod start bouncing and he got to it just as the brown had popped the release......usually the sign of a better fish! As I removed the other rod to allow him to work his fish, I could see that his rod was loaded up pretty good. " How does it feel?" I asked. "Like a good one," He smiled. It stayed down and that is usually another good sign of a bigger trout! When he finally got it within 50 feet it came up for the first time. We both got excited when we could tell that it was a male brown probably at least in the 26-28 in. range. The lure was clearly hanging out the side of his mouth and I could tell he had at least two of the trebles in him. When I slid the net under the big male, we knew immediately that this was the biggest brown trout my uncle had ever caught. A couple of years ago, under similar conditions and around the same time of morning on East Lake, he caught a nice 5 LB. hookjaw with me. This one topped that fish by at least 3 LBS. After a couple of quick photos I worked with him and released him to fight another day. Actually, the current regulations at East require you to release all browns that are over 16 in. That reg. should be changed to one over 30 in. next year, I believe.
What makes this really special is that it was my uncle who introduced me to fishing when I was just 5 years old. During my adolescent years, it has Rich, as I have always called him, that took me to Railroad Canyon and Hemet Lake's in Southern California where we would chase after bass and trout during those early years in the 50's, when I was growing up. Memories that are still strong.....memories I will never forget!
About a half hour later the downrigger goes off again and results in another hookjaw around 4 LB. Those two fished capped our morning! Not bad with only 3.5 hours to fish!
Thunderstorms moved in Thurs. evening and I caught a few more little browns to finish up. The next morning a steady rain settled in and things slowed so we decided to head home. It was good to get up to East and I look forward to next month when the thermocline will be established.