September 23rd, 2002

State Record Brookie
By James Castwell

It kind of jarred me, my thoughts and emotions when I read about it. Some guy fishing from a dock in front of a lodge while his wife uses the restroom, puts some Power-Bait on a hook and shatters the Arkansas state Brook Trout record. Happened not too long ago. The story carried a picture of him standing by a big sign advertising the place they where staying holding the five pound fish.

What got to me were the string of thoughts going through my head as I read it and afterward as well. Things like, 'He did what? On Power-Bait? The biggest Brookie in the state and not on a fly? A state well known for it's wonderful fly-fishing, and this guy uses bait? How could he?"

A whole string of thoughts, mostly ones I was ashamed for thinking and that is why I am writing this. Was I wrong to feel that way? Or would I wished he had used a fly rod so he would have felt even better. Better? Good-grief, he just caught the state record Brookie, how much better do I want him to feel?

Am I jealous? Gosh, I hope not, no, I don't think I am. Would I like to catch a fish like that? Yer kidding, right? Sure I would. If I did, would I release it? What would you do?

Ah ha! Now we're getting to the point here. This guy had no idea he would catch that fish, no idea of what the state record was, he was just killing time waiting for his wife, the fish was under the dock. I know I have taken pictures of fish, mostly big ones, or at least they seemed big to me at the time. Should I try to make a decision in advance in case I do catch a very notable fish?

Well, knowing me, there is little chance of that happening, but, some of you may actually have it happen. It may turn out to be a record or not, only one way to tell or find out. If you think it is a record, you going to kill it? It may be something you want to address now rather in the heat of the moment.

The fact is, I have caught a Brookie, a few pounds bigger actually. This was many years ago, it was in Canada and we ate it. It was delicious. I was fishing from a canoe with a Granger fly rod. Now the fish is gone, the picture has been lost and the rod got broken and is gone too, I was twelve.

As much as I can still see the picture, I can remember it well, I was very proud of it and myself. As much as all that, I wish now I had released it. Was I wrong to kill it? I don't think so. There were plenty of fish and many that size at that time. Fishing, even fly-fishing then was mostly to obtain fish. I did what was considered the thing to do at that place and time. I still wish I had released it. I would feel better about myself today. I was the most beautiful Brookie I have ever seen. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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