If you’ve ever met Ryan, you know how passionate he is about fly fishing. He lives and breathes fly fishing. He's gone after everything from tarpon to bass, but is fish of choice, is a trout, be it a Rainbow, Brown, Brooke or Cutthroat. He ties all his own flies; he reads only fly fishing books and magazines; he watches fly fishing on TV; he practices casting in the yard; he named his canoe "The Trout Stalker;" and he has a collection of fly rods that put my handbag collection to shame. He’s been a serious fly fisherman for over 10 years. He’s been on numerous fly fishing trips to Colorado, Pennsylvania, Montana, Florida, Arkansas, and will conquer Alaska this summer.
And after all of this, he’s still never caught his "dream fish." He’s been close more than a dozen times. He’s missed them, he’s hooked them, he’s battled them, he’s let his friends have the opportunity instead, but they’ve always gotten away from him. Don’t get me wrong…he’s caught a million absolutely beautiful large worthy fish that anyone would be more than proud of, but there’s always the potential for more. There’s always the "one" that got away.
This past weekend, Ryan and his buddies went to Arkansas for their annual "Beer Drinking, Trout Fishing Arkansas Man’s Weekend" (that’s my title, not theirs). Every year they go and have a great and manly time, but Ryan comes home once-again disappointed that someone else caught "the big fish." He usually catches "the most fish" (because he’s very talented), but that’s never good enough. So you can imagine my surprise when I get a message on Saturday exclaiming, "I CAUGHT THE FISH OF MY LIFE!!!"
After hooking Walter once and having the fish throw the fly, my most persistent boyfriend stalked, hunted and landed him again. His dream fish!! I am SO proud!! Walter (as Ryan’s father has affectionately named him) is a Brown Trout, wild (not stocked) to the White River in upper Arkansas. Although they didn’t have a tape measure, it’s estimated that Walter weighed nearly 25 pounds!!! This is calculated from some generic scientific formula based on the fish being about 34 inches long with a 22 inch girth. He was caught on a 10 foot 5 weight Sage Z-Axis rod with 4 pound tippet, which is incredibly hard to do without snapping the line. And no, he didn’t keep Walter. Ryan’s strictly catch-and-release, which means he’ll live to be caught another day.