Fortunately behind Tom Klatka during a recent trout fishing trip — next to him, actually — was a good woman who also happened to be really good with a landing net.
You see the woman — his wife and frequent fishing partner, Ferri Lockhart — in the picture above. Now here’s Klatka’s full story:
“My wife and I enjoy being outdoors and fishing provides us with a really good excuse for putting off our chores to be outside. We especially like to fish for trout in the small, local creeks. There aren’t very many women who fish for trout, so other anglers usually notice when my wife is fishing.
Sometimes, a fellow angler will say that I am one of the luckiest guys around because if my wife likes to fish then I can fish whenever I want to fish. Sometimes, other anglers say that I am unlucky because they like to fish in order to get away from their wives. Well, I consider myself lucky for many good reasons, and I learned another one last Saturday.
The day was warm and beautiful so my wife and I decided to fish Glade Creek. We walked upstream, waded with the current, and hop scotched over the primary holes where anglers had congregated. Being in the water was fun, but the fishing was unproductive so our creels remained light and empty. We eventually made our way to the bridge and decided to fish around and under the mountain of debris caught by the bridge abutments during previous high water. Within a half hour we landed three nice rainbows, and surrendered a couple hooks to the debris.
Things slowed down for a while, then I managed to hook what seemed to be a loose branch under all of the debris. I slowly pulled the branch through the debris hoping it would become free and my line would not break. Well, when the splash occurred and the trout jumped, I realized the “branch” was the biggest trout I had ever seen!
Luckily, the fish decided to swim upstream a bit, so I was able to pull him closer and closer. The short, ultra-light rod was bent in half and the four-pound test line was stressed to the max as I tried to keep the fish away from submerged debris. Based on its size and strength, I knew help was needed so I called for Ferri to help net the fish. In a flash we were side-by-side while the trout swam between our legs. It felt like the line was about to give as I pulled the trout away from our legs and closer to the net. In a split second, the trout’s snout rose above the water and Ferri glided the net under it just as my line broke.
She got it!!!
As she lifted the net out of the water we both realized it was too small to hold the fish. She clutched the net against her body with her right arm and used her left hand and arm to hold the fish in the net. At that point, I could see she was as nervous as I, so I decided to not tell her my line had broken and the only thing keeping the fish from the water was her left hand.
I tried to secure the trout onto a snap of my chain stringer, but the snap was too small. Luckily, Ferri had a small nylon stringer we used to secure the fish. The other trout we had caught (9 ½, 10 ¼, and 11 ½) looked so small next to the big trout. We tried to fish longer but our adrenaline had spiked and we could not keep our eyes off of the kahuna trout.
We arrived home about a half hour later, snapped some pictures and got out the kitchen scale and a tape measure. The big rainbow was 22 ¾ inches long, with a girth of 12 ½ inches, and it weighed 4 pounds and 14 ounces. It was a warm and beautiful day, and fishing Glade was a good reason to leave our chores behind.”