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Mountain Home Magazine

Freddie's Fish

Apr 01, 2021 10:45AM ● By Kevin McJunkin

My brother Bruce and his son Freddie were up visiting one summer from North Carolina. Bruce is a fish hawk, and apparently Fred has inherited his dad’s fishing aptitude. When he was nine years old he fought and landed his first Citation-sized (a North Carolina tournament fishing award) cobia, a forty-six-pound brute that was longer than he was.

We had a couple of hours to fish before a family obligation. I wanted to take them to a small local trout stream, that will remain unnamed, where a couple of years before I had caught and released a twenty-plus-inch brown trout. But the sky was dark, the wind blowing hard, and a storm was coming. I checked the weather radar and noticed that the storm was centered over the stream and heading our way on the prevailing winds.

We decided to drive through the storm to the stream. Hopefully, it will have passed, and we would have a brief window to fish before the next wave of storms came through. We arrived just as the rain and wind tapered off and found the stream slightly off color and rising slowly—perfect conditions—and the trout on the feed. Freddie expertly flipped his orange panther Martin spinning lure into the head of the first pool and took a twelve-inch brown.

We worked upstream until we came to the Big Fish Hole. I told Freddie to cast his spinner just above a leaning bankside hemlock and slowly retrieve it. A submarine slowly rose out of the tree’s big root ball and struck the lure. Freddie was hooked into something big. The fish rolled several times, exposing its cream-colored belly. Freddie’s stiff saltwater spinning rod bent double as he put the butt to it before it could wrap the line around a root and break him off. It was a brown trout at least two feet long, especially big considering the size of the stream! But then the hook pulled out of his mouth...

Freddie exclaimed “Wow, that was the best trout I ever hooked!” I replied, “I’m sure you will see more like that one.” Bruce winked at me and said, “Good guiding.”

Was it the same fish I caught two years ago? We’ll never know. I tried for that fish several times after that, but never saw or touched him.

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