I'm relatively new to FishExplorer.com. I found FishExplorer.com one day while I was looking for conditions pertaining to a specific reservoir I wanted to go to. I eventually became a member because there is a lot of great information here.
I've been fishing off and on for most of my life. I like to fish from shore most of the time using basic techniques and basic forms of bait. I am a catch and keep type of fisherman because I like baked and fried fresh fish from time to time. I've never been one for records. I am more than happy to catch a small fish, especially if its big enough for a meal.
I was up at Antero one day last month and boy was it cold. It was 25 degrees with some frost on the ground and the infamous South Park winds were howling. I figure the wind chill was probably around 5 degrees or lower. My fingers were constantly numb even with gloves on and I was shivering the entire time I was there.
I fished in a couple of spots for a couple of hours without a bite so I walked about 40 yards down the shoreline. My fingers were still numb and I was shaking so bad I could barely put the night-crawler on the hook.
I cast my line out using a simple Carolina rig with a nighcrawler on a size 6 hook and wham, I had a fish. It took me several minutes of wearing the fish down before I could get a view of it. It took me a lot longer than it normally takes me that's for sure. I knew my fishing line was light so I let the fish take as much line, and do what it wanted until I could tell that the fish was worn out then I slowly reeled it in.
I was surprised by its size. I was even more surprised after I finally landed it that I was able to catch it on my ultra light St. Croix fishing rod with 8 pound test mono fishing line. I was not expecting to catch a fish that big. I thought for sure that the fish would have snapped the tip of my rod off or snapped my fishing line before I could land it but obviously that did not happen.
Because my fingers were numb and I was shaking so bad from the cold I had a really difficult time getting the hook out of its mouth and putting the fish on the stringer. I realized that I had the beginnings of hypothermia so I decided to leave. I warmed myself up in my truck and as an after thought, I laid the fish down on the ground and put my tape measure under it to show my friends just how long the fish was. It came to around 25 inches long as you can see by my picture. As for the weight, it have no idea. I did not have a scale to weigh it at the time.
After I got home I was logging my fish into my journal on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife app. I like to keep a record of what I have caught and where. I found that the fish I caught qualified for a Master Angler Award so I figured why not submit an application. I never knew the Master Angler award program existed. I detailed how and in what conditions I caught it in, attached my picture, included information on any witnesses I had and sent it off.
I received my certificate and master angler patch from Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Wednesday. I also noticed yesterday that my name is on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife app (which is why I do not mind posting my certificate with my name here since its public knowledge anyway) in the master angler list under the rainbow trout section.
I apologize for my lengthy post but I believe the story behind person and the efforts that person put in to landing big fish catches are just as interesting as the big fish that were caught.
It certainly is nice that Colorado Parks and Wildlife recognizes you for the effort you put into what you love to do. Its also nice that you can show everyone, and maybe brag a bit, that you did in fact "catch the big one" and have proof to back it up.
I was just wondering if other anglers on the forum view the Master Angler award program the same way.
PS: on a side note, I still have a big 10 gallon bag of fish meat from that fish in my freezer. I'll have to eat some more of it for dinner this weekend.