Tommy Ladson: How I Caught the Biggest Trout of My Life (Just Don’t Tell My Teachers)

As a senior in high school, I thought I owed it to myself to take a “sick” day from school and do a little fishing this week. It was the best decision I ever made!

I woke up early and got all of my fishing gear packed and ready to go. I met my girlfriend, Alli, at her house, and we were on our way. I decided to go to an old fishing hole my grandfather showed me on the Lehigh River when I was a little boy. After what seemed like a 10-mile walk, we finally got to the spot, which was under an old bridge. Once we got there we came across an old man fishing with his fly rod. He said he was trying to catch a huge fish out in the deep hole of the river, but he couldn’t get him to bite. I looked out into a deep swirling hole and that is where I saw him: a huge rainbow trout. At first glance it looked like it had to be at least 30 inches long, but when it comes to fish I always exaggerate. Who doesn’t?

The old man told me to have a crack at it, so I did. I rigged my go-to bait, a green Power Bait, and cast the line a little up river from the trout. The bright, green ball slowly disappeared under the water heading directly to the trout. I felt a quick tug and my heart stopped. I jerked my rod fiercely in anticipation, hoping that I had the trout on the end of my line. I started to shout, ” I got him!”

But as fast as I could yell the words, the old man pointed out that the fish was swimming on the other side of the river. My heart dropped because I knew I didn’t have the trout on my line, and I now thought I was just snagged on a rock.

I was just about to cut the line and start getting a new hook ready when Alli said, “Your line is running up the river.”

I immediately lifted the tip of my rod straight up into the air and felt another giant tug. I was excited once again, and my heart started to race faster then it did the first time. I loosened my drag and prepared for a big fight. I was using very light line so I didn’t want to take a chance of the line breaking. I let the fish run with the line back and forth, over and over, until I finally tired him out. After a 15-minute fight, and a two-minute struggle to get him in the net, I finally got to lay eyes on my prize. I lifted my trout out of the net and stared with amazement.

In my hands I held the the biggest trout I had ever caught. It was an enormous rainbow trout that measured 21 3/4 inches and weighed 4 pounds. After looking over my trout for a few minutes I took some photos and went back to fishing. I didn’t catch anymore trout that day, but I still feel like that was my luckiest day of fishing. On my first cast of the morning, I landed my biggest trout…ever!