Friday, June 15, 2012

Conclusion: Supertrout

It burst from its hiding place beneath a submerged log, and it was moving so fast

that at first I couldn’t identify it. But one look at David told me all I needed to know—at long last, here he was. The legend was true; it was Supertrout!

He seemed to be everywhere, flashing like a ball of mercury struck by a hammer. For a minute I thought he was just making a boastful appearance before vanishing into his hiding place. He didn’t immediately charge the three baited hooks resting on the sandy riverbed. But Supertrout was only pretending to retreat. At the last minute he spun around and dashed toward my baited hook.

He bit hard and sped back for the safety of his log as line screeched from my reel. I didn’t realize it right away, but I was crying. I didn’t want to catch Supertrout! I didn’t even like fishing! I liked to stand beside the river and daydream. Now I was to be cursed by catching this stupid fish, and I could see that he was sooo beautiful. I didn’t want to kill him.

David tried to rip the pole from my hands, but Dad brushed him away. This was to be my moment. If I’d known how to fish, I might have tried to lose Supertrout—since there were ways to hook fish, there must be ways to unhook them—but no matter what I did, Supertrout wouldn’t let go of my bait. David could see that Supertrout was about to reach the other side of the cove, where he could wrap the line around the dead branch of a log and snap it. If there had been time, and if I’d liked him more, I might have worried about David because he was starting to foam at the mouth. He looked like someone about to turn inside out.

When Supertrout reached the far side of the cove, I realized David was screaming at me. “Reel him in! Don’t let him get away!” Then he yelled, “Don’t give him his head!” whatever that meant. I truly would have preferred passing the pole to David, but Dad had made it clear that, want it or not, this fish was mine.

I began to reel Supertrout in. Perhaps I was strong from opening tight lids on jars of peanut butter and mayonnaise, but I surprised Dad and David by managing to pull Supertrout to the riverbank. The great fish glinted in the sunlight as it flipped about on the gravel. I just stood there and stared at it, aghast. Dad picked up Supertrout and bashed his head on a rock. I shrieked in misery as blood gushed from his gills. Dad later claimed this was the merciful thing to do, so the fish wouldn’t suffer.

There was a rusty measuring guide embossed on the lid of Dad’s old tackle box, but it only went up to twelve inches and the now lifeless body of Supertrout was more than twice that. I didn’t want to fish anymore, or ever again, but David continued for awhile, even though his heart wasn’t in it. He probably tried to convince himself that Supertrout had a twin. I noticed him looking at me with something close to hatred. On the way back to camp, he didn’t want to be seen with me and walked on ahead. With Supertrout dangling from a chain in my hand as Dad and I returned to camp, people pointed and clapped me on the back.

Legends should never die. I hope the Loch Ness monster, the Abominable Snowman and Bigfoot are never found. Supertrout spent time in our freezer, and for awhile Dad would bring him out to show people just what a great little fisherman I was, but eventually the fish became “cruddy” and was thrown away. Cats overturned our garbage can, and I caught a glimpse of Supertrout’s skeleton in the gutter in front of our house, not a fitting end for a legend.

The day I caught Supertrout, Dad drove us home with Uncle Manuel snoring in the front passenger seat. David and I were in the back, and David was staring out the side window with his back to me as much as possible. I leaned forward. “Dad?”

“Yes, son.”

“Do you think fish have souls?”

“I don’t know. Probably not.” He knew I was sad about Supertrout.

The moment felt right and once again I took my best shot. “Dad?”


“Can I have a German Shepherd?”

He surprised me by saying, “No promises, but I’ll run it past your mother when we get home.”

Later, the answer was still no, but I figured I was making progress.


  1. What a thoroughly enjoyable story, and I so empathized with you not wanting to catch the trout, and asking if it had a soul. That would have been me.

    This is a story you should submit for publication, IMHO~

  2. What a sad ending. No German Shepard and the supertrout was wasted. You should have at least had a supertrout dinner. The cats were happy though. Excellent story.

    Have a terrific day and weekend. :)

  3. Was there ever any thought given to "catch and release"? Seems like a waste if you weren't going to eat him. One good thing did come from this, however. We got a GREAT story. ;)


  4. Catch and Release is a relativly new concept. In the day we kept everything big or small. Beautiful fish often became fertilizer. Sometimes the "Good old days" sucked!

    THis story did not suck! You should take up fishing so we could get more of these stories.


  5. A heartbreaking tale! But so well written!

  6. It is a sad thing when a moment of triumph is a bittersweet memory... I wonder if your brother has ever gotten over it ...

  7. Very much worth the wait for Part Two. Sad that the big fish didn't at least get eaten or otherwise put to good use (although I suppose the cats considered it a VERY good use, and maybe that's what Supertrout's purpose was all along. God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.)

  8. I loved this story and totally understand the feeling that legends should not be caught. A very well-told tale.

  9. Aw, poor Supertrout. Though it probably wasn't the real Supertrout. I mean the real one was probably twice as big as the one you caught.

  10. It does seem a shame that Supertrout didn't even become a meal so he or she would have been useful and died for a purpose. Dying at the end of a hook for nothing is a sad thing for a fish. I would not have wanted to catch anything, either.
    When we were kids my dad took the fish off and baited the hook for me. I went fishing as an adult, but I was the pole holder while other people went to the bathroom or got food or beer...and I prayed the whole time nothing bit on the hook. I always felt too sorry for the fish--and the live bait, for that matter.
    This is a great story and, I agree, maybe you should try and get it published someplace. :)

  11. Well, Supertrout chose you. Much the way a toddler tumbles all over a person who doesn't like kids, and a cat twines through the legs of a dog person.

  12. I don't like to fish because I hate to see them struggling to breathe. Also, I was bitten by a cricket once and it hurts...a lot. My husband at the time told me that crickets don't bite. "Well, then, what did it just do to me?"

  13. Great story, Stephen, and I, too, think you should have received a German Shepherd for your deed.

  14. What a great story!!! Bittersweet for sure as you didn't get joy from the catch and neither did David. I am with you though. I wouldn't of wanted Supertrout to be caught either. It spoils the future anticipation of trying to catch him. The bashing him would have crippled me emotionly for life. More so than I am ....

  15. Oh, i would have felt as you, i would have wanted to remove the hook and send him back on his way.

    Fabulous story.

  16. Older brothers! Who would ever want one?

  17. Beautifully told story. Guess you have retired from fishing at an early age, as a champion of sorts.

  18. Congrats on a great story. Family and fishing...wonderful.

  19. Great story! You do have the gift for story telling.

    I love love love the expression "He looked like someone about to turn inside out." Must remember and use it. At work.

  20. As much as I love to fish, I think Supertrout would have been returned to the water... Obviously, not an option for you, but I bet David would have liked second chance! An excellent story.

  21. What a great story! Isn't that the way things always go, the person obsessed with something is seldom the one that actually accomplishes the task. Does David still enjoy fishing?

    This story reminds me of the movie, "On Golden Pond", the monster fish was named Walter in the movie.

    Always enjoy reading your post. You are a wonderful story teller.

    1. Thanks for the reminder about "On Golden Pond" I liked the movie but had forgotten about the fish.

  22. Rather crafty sly ending. I predicted wrong. I thought the super trout would get away.

  23. Great story!
    We caught a 30 pound snapping turtle. It, too, met a miserable end. In our backyard. In an empty can used for chlorine tablets.
    It was a mean bastard, but it deserved better.

  24. That was a sad end for Supertrout ending up in the gutter like that. But boy weren't you clever asking for a dog. I bet your mother was the strong "NO." It looked like Dad might have said yes.

  25. I think what impresses me most is the fact that you were able to land this fish by your muscle development from opening jars of mayo and peanut butter. You should write a new fitness book.

  26. Love this Legend of Supertrout--sad ending and all ;)

  27. I enjoyed your story. i think life is a little bit better with a little bit of legend ...
    you did get that German Shepard eventually, right?

  28. For a brief moment your story reminded me of the Hardy Boy books I read in my youth.

    Childhood adventures imagined or otherwise are a treasure. Thank you!

  29. awww you sure were a nice kid!

  30. You tell a fine story, Stephen. I've only recently become interested in fishing (five years) and I'm pretty sure that if I had caught a legend, I'd want to return it to the water, also. After a few quick photos, of course. I wonder how your brother remembers the story..