This story was originally published in April 2021.
I didn’t grow up fishing. My first serious introduction to fishing was fly fishing in my twenties, and I was hooked (pun intended).
Since then I have fly fished for salmon in Alaska, brown trout in Iceland, brook trout at Libby Camps, salmon at Grand Lake Stream and striped bass at York Beach. I now consider myself a true fly fisherman snob. So when my better half, Travis, suggested I go trolling, I looked down in disgust and replied, “Isn’t trolling for people who can’t fish? You just sit there and don’t really do anything, do you? »
“It’s relaxing. Trust me, try it,” he replied.
“Okay fine, but I’m using my fly rod,” I said.
The truth was, I owned nothing but fly rods. I caught my 6 weight rod with a sinking line from LL Bean and tied it on a black phantom. Travis grabbed his lead rod and we got into our 16ft aluminum boat. Argos, our dog, gracefully and enthusiastically jumped into the bow. We recently purchased a house on Crystal Lake in Gray, and this was our first time fishing in open water. It was April 5 and the ice had only recently melted. The water was as flat and smooth as a mirror.
Travis started the engine but gave no throttle. We drove at about 2 mph. I dropped some line on my reel and held the rod in my hands. Travis turned on the fish finder – a large number 12 lit up on the screen indicating we were only in 12 feet of water. We were so close to the shore that I could see people watching television in their homes.
Fifteen minutes into our troll, I heard the click of my reel and felt the familiar tug on my line. The tip of the rod bends and bounces. I started charting and Travis put the boat in neutral. The fish came in easily.
“It’s a brown,” Travis said as he scooped the fish into the net. The silvery fish was long and thin and speckled with large black spots.
“Our first open water fish in the lake! Let’s save it for dinner. We can call this cove “Brown Town”, I said. Argos licked the fish in approval and we continued our evening walk along the shore.
As I let the line back into the water, I noticed a juvenile eagle flying off from a nearby pine tree. Half a dozen mallards also took flight, no doubt worried about the presence of the eagle. A week before, I had seen an eagle half-heartedly trying to catch a duck. The mallard dived for long periods before finally flying away, away from the eagle.
“I’m on it!” I screamed as my rod bounced up and down.
Fifty feet behind the boat, a fish leaps into the air. “Catch the net!” I shouted.
“It’s not even near the boat, calm down,” Travis replied with a laugh.
“He just jumped again! Feels decently sized!” I say excitedly. When the fish was near the boat, Travis slipped it into the net. It was a healthy rainbow trout. I admired the iridescent rainbow stripe on its otherwise silver side. After a quick shot and with a powerful kick, she swam determinedly through the icy water.
A neighbor on his lawn gave a thumbs up. His two pugs kept yelping at us.
“Let’s call this place, ‘Pug House.'” Travis suggested. “Now, do you like to troll?” he asked with a smirk.
“You’re right, it’s a good mix of relaxation and excitement and I can always fight fish on my fly rod,” I replied, studying the sky, now shades of cherry and plum as the sun was beginning to set. The cry of a distant loon echoed over the low hum of the engine.
I started making a mental list of things to bring for our next evening troll: a more comfortable chair, cane holders, a speaker for music, and snacks.
“I could get used to fishing doing nothing,” I thought as we drove home with a fresh dinner.