My Montana cutthroat replica arrived a few days ago, looking as if it had been freshly snatched from the Bitterroot. It’s been 11 months since I caught the trout, and seeing it again brought me back to a really good memory – positive not just because the trip was a celebration of our 10th anniversary, but also because it occurred in a remarkably beautiful place as one puzzle piece in an exceptional vacation. Furthermore, in a life filled with what some people might say are too many days chasing fish only to throw them back, it was my first fly fishing experience.
Unlike the other mounts in our house, the decision to purchase this replica was not preordained. I’d always said that I’d get a replica made when I caught a double digit largemouth, so when I caught a 12 pounder on my birthday in 2012, I ordered one that afternoon. Before our second trip to the Amazon, the Redheaded Wife and I had decided that if either/both of us caught a peacock bass of 18 pounds or more, we’d get a replica made. She caught two nineteens and I caught a twenty and a twenty one, so we each earned one for the wall. When I went trout fishing, though, I had no such prior notions. In fact, nearly a year later, I still don’t know whether this fish was a “trophy” for the Bitterroot or for anywhere else, and I really don’t care. This one is less about some semi-arbitrary marker of trophy status than it was about rediscovering what I loved about fishing in the first place.