Photos By: Jamie Keown
We had set out a few weeks back to get some film footage of some hefty rainbows we had located on one of our favorite local streams. The weekend prior we had scouted and found that several large fish had grouped up in a series of shallow pools. I had filmed for a few hours and captured some good shots when I decided to put down the camera and pick up the rod. With nobody filming (of course), I hooked a giant hen rainbow.
I made near 20 casts to this fish without luck. The fish had been positioned in a way that I could barely see her and thought I was getting a good drift of my flies past her nose. Turns out I was and it was just my offering she didn’t care for. A quick fly change and then she ate. I knew this was a large fish as soon as I hooked her. She screamed upstream and the line which was at my feet shot through my finger so fast it left a burn. My pal Jamie was on the tail end of the run with the net. Every time I managed to unglue her from where she was holding and get her close to the net she would take another run. My forearm and wrist felt just how heavy this fish was. I buried the butt end of my 4wt rod into my chest to give myself some leverage and relief. After several minutes we finally landed the fish. Trying to get her out of the net for a photo was like playing catch with a greased watermelon. It never gets old no matter how many big fish you catch and release. I still find myself shaking with nerves and adrenaline.