“If you can see the Road Runner, it’s too shallow,” TJ Stallings said. “Work it just above those rocks and just out of sight.”
I could indeed see my lure, so on the next cast I allowed it to sink longer before I began reeling. Sure enough, I connected with a 12-inch brook trout.“Are you sure you don’t want to cast here?” I asked TJ.
“No. You catch the picture fish.”
TJ had found this spot earlier, and it had far outproduced any other place we’d fished. When we returned to the area to finish the day, my son and I intended to work just upstream or downstream and leave TJ his spot, where he not only had found good action, but where he had unfinished business with a couple of memorable rainbows.
TJ would have nothing of that. He grabbed his camera bag instead of his rod, and he instructed us to catch the picture fish from the spot he’d found. And then he explained exactly how most fish were positioned so we could be efficient.
We caught four typical stockers with TJ watching and snapping photos before it happened. A trout nabbed my Road Runner and when I set the hook, I felt added resistance and saw a big flash of rouge. Eventually I landed a rainbow that was almost certainly one of the fish TJ had hooked earlier in the day. Not an absolute giant, but notably bigger than other fish we’d caught and beautiful for those photos we all wanted.
So while I actually technically hooked and landed the fish, I’m still calling that one TJ’s trout!
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