In Washington, the shadow of Big Foot roams the forests. In Scotland, Nessie patrols the shorelines of Loch Ness. And in South Park... there is Greybeard. For those that have not heard the story, please sit down but don't turn out the lights.
It was six years ago and I was fishing Eleven Mile Reservoir
with a few friends. Walking out on the ice the only thing you could hear was the faint sound of an auger a few miles away and a slight breeze whipping its bitter cold tone in your ear. While setting up my hut in my favorite honey hole at Stoll Mt, I felt extremely confident that I was going to have a great fishing day. As I finished getting set up inside the hut with my cleaned out holes, I noticed that I was sitting on relatively clear ice with very little snow cover but still very patchy. The morning fog was losing the battle against the sunrise and the started to burn away illuminating the ground underneath the ice.
I was setting my first pole up when I noticed a blazing shadow that cruised underneath. At first I thought my eyes were still getting adjusted. Nonetheless, I blew it off. The fishing started out with a three-pound rainbow and later a 22 inch pike. Fishing in 7 feet of water, the water was clear and everything down the hole looked like I was staring at a large LED television.
I changed up tube jigs and went with a three-inch rainbow fresh water basic jig with a 1/8 oz. jig head. After the jig hit the water, something simply did not sit right. The early breeze from earlier moved to zero wind outside the hut, which was a rarity for Eleven Mile, yet the water in my hole was moving. It was as if a sudden force was causing a current moving the water. Puzzled as I was, I continued with rapid jigging actions on my jig. Again, the same sudden dark feature that illuminated the bottom of my hut earlier presented itself again. And within seconds... BAM!!!! My lure disappeared.
The jig was gone and my line was feeding off the reel and max speed. The drag was set to the tightest point but continued to feed at a rapid rate. Suddenly it stopped.... I could not see anything underneath my hole... I started reeling in the slack and while doing so I saw him. Greybeard. An incredibly large cutbow
trout that measured well over 29 inches and easily 12 plus pounds. His enormous spotted tail resembled the sail of the infamous Santa Maria. His age and experience in life was reflected by the chipped scales and the infamous scar. The scar was obvious that he had once battled a large northern pike
. The scar measured over 6" in length while pale white flesh around it was evidence it never truly healed.
The trophy fish continued to manhandle my jig that was clearly over powered by his massive girth. And then... right when I thought I was gaining leverage it happened. The Jurassic fish moved purposely underneath my hole and lifted his head straight up. And just like a Dean Martin show he p