Once upon a time, I think I called everything a “twenty-incher”. I was young, new to fly fishing and wanted to impress my elders. Can anyone guess what the most shocking item I purchased that year was? Yes, a tape measurer.
How could this happen though? All of a sudden my 20 inchers were 16 inches long, my 22 inchers were 18 inches long, and all of a sudden I gained a whole new appreciation for the “twenty-inchers” that I had been landing left right and center the last few years.
Throwback to 2011, my good friend Brett with the largest rainbow trout I have ever seen
When I ask people at the launch how their day of fishing was, it is such a common response to hear “lots of twenties, nothing much bigger” as if they are disappointed with the outcome. I wonder if it was a coincidence that all the fish I landed that day were 16 to 18 inches, without anything much bigger.
It didn’t take my 16-year-old self long to realize that maybe there was a chance I had never even laid my hands on a true 5 or 6 pound rainbow trout. Of course I thought I had, so what did I do? Started taping everything.
After putting the de-liar to enough fish, I slowly learned how to make a somewhat accurate approximation of a fish’s size. I will honestly say in the last decade I have landed less than ten fish that were actually thirty inches or better. Taping fish is a great way to stay humble, and will give you a new appreciation for landing a bunch of “twenty-inchers” in a day!