Here is an excerpt from Trout Bum, by John Gierach, a book I’m currently enjoying. This excerpt caught my attention because I got a case of what John describes as “Big-Fish Syndrome” on opening weekend. Let me tell you, if I keep the attitude I had over the weekend going I am not going to enjoy my season to its fullest.
Get yourself a light rod, fish the small streams until you’re used to the scale of things, and then hook a 12- or 14-inch brook trout or a 15-inch cutt. Sooner or later it will happen. That fish will be breathtakingly large. You may panic and break him off.
I can guarantee that unless you happen to be a victim of the Big-Fish Syndrome. That’s a disease that affects people who have a mild character flaw anyway and who then fish Bristol Bay, the Big Horn, or some other water where the landing of countless fish over 20 inches (that mystical number) “ruins” all lesser fishing for them. Don’t laugh; I’ve actually heard people claim that. When I was a boy in the Midwest, the same condition was known as “The Mopus”, in which the sufferer became filled with crap right up to his heart.
Though all fishermen have a thing for big trout, most are immune to the more virulent strains of the Syndrome. To those who aren’t, I can only say that catching average trout from average streams may be a lousy job, but someone has to do it.