On a recent shorefishing trip in Milwaukee my mind started to wander. While looking contemplatively at the water lost in my own little world a gentleman came over to ask how the fishing was going. "Pretty good" I said, "You?" The strangers face was over taken by a huge smile. "It's amazing!" "Look at the size of these fish!" He was right, compared to the brown trout of the Driftless these fish were huge. It was only after a little bit of conservation that I truly understood what he meant. His name was Craig and he had flown all the way from California to catch a brown trout. "Don't they have browns in California?" I asked. "Yup, but not like these, I fly out every year." "Looking for a male over 20 pounds." "Been trying for 12 years to land one." Holy Crap! I thought to myself that's some serious dedication. The deeper the conservation went the more his excitement and enthusiasm grew. This guy loved brown trout, specifically big brown trout, more specifically big male brown trout. He talked about their colors and strength. He waxed poetically about the hook on the jaw and how they pursued their prey. He even helped me net a fish and I could tell that he was just as excited to look at it as I was. Brown trout have him hooked. That got me thinking, why do we care so much about certain species of fish?
Seriously, every angler I know has that one specific species that keeps them fishing. For Derek it's largemouth bass. Tristan? Small stream smallmouth bass. JJ's always in pursuit of the mighty musky. My buddy Rob is a salmon junkie through and through. We all have that species we talk about, think about, dream about, and spend countless hours pursuing. I'm sure you have a favorite species too. Maybe it was the first type of fish you caught. Perhaps it's the one that grows the biggest in your area. Could even be that these particular fish are the hardest thing you've ever tried to catch. Maybe as in my case it was the species that seemed so far away that it was ridiculous to even think about. Now it keeps me up reading, studying, and watching videos desperate to get back to the beaches they frequent. Desperate to feel the surge on the line and thickness of their tails. They haunt me the same way your favorite species haunts you.
I still dream almost every night about catching one that's even bigger.
I can honestly say that I have no idea what makes certain species of fish so special. Why we're willing to spend so much time and resources indulging in their pursuit. Why a common brown trout to me would make Craig fly halfway across the country. Why a largemouth bass wakes up so many anglers on a tournament morning. Or why so many of my friends are willing to put their life on the line in crazy conditions to catch a salmon from a kayak. I read somewhere that we all have an animal that speaks directly to our spirit. Maybe that's where this connection comes from. Something out there in the universe that says the closest thing to ourselves is a fish. Whatever it is I'm sure glad we all have one. I for one believe that my life if richer because of it. What about you? Do you have a favorite fish species? Do you know why you can't get enough of them? If you've got a second leave me a comment below. Until next time... Tight Lines.