Thursday, April 7, 2011
The Legend of "Happy Ending"
Within the crystal clear waters flowing in front of Sunburst Ranch lurks a monster that only a few have been fortunate enough to see. Prior to April this fish had only been seen lurking amongst the shadows preying on unsuspecting baitfish and crawdads. Occasionally fishermen might see a flash and feel a quick tug only to be disappointed by a missed hookset or sudden breakoff. Last Friday this denizen of the deep would meet his match as gladiator of the fly fishing world Chris Conant would be treading on his territory. Armed with only a fly rod Chris would hook, and eventually bring to hand this legendary trout. A glorious trout wearing a suit of gold adorned with brown jewels and white accents had finally been conquered. My sharp ears were able to pick up the sounds of a skirmish occurring on this field of battle, and I arrived in time to witness the culmination of a vicious fight. I congratulated Chris on his victory and watched as the ousted king returned to his lair. Following this release Chris announced that his week long campaign would end now as no further battles were needed.
Fast forward five days and welcome the arrival of a new gladiator from the other side of Missouri. Kevin Keens had been on a successful week long quest throughout the state of Missouri in search of legendary trout. While a successful campaign had taken place, Kevin decided to go looking for one final battle prior to heading home. Several nice fish had been brought to hand that morning when a jarring strike reinvigorated our weary warrior. An epic battle ensued ending in a well earned victory for Kevin, albeit at least 100 yards downstream from the front lines. I was once again summoned to the river so record of this monumental battle could be burnt in film for further generations to enjoy. As this 23 1/2 " monster was released Kevin raised his fly rod in victory announcing this too would be the final battle of his campaign. As the only one to witness both defeated opponents I am left wondering if this could possibly be the same fish. One would think a king such as this would not fall prey twice in the same week, but the size of the fish and location thereof lead me to believe this could be the case. We will never know for sure if this is the same fish or not but we do know both were released unharmed and continue to prowl the run in front of Sunburst Ranch. Hopefully the next few weeks will provide more battles in his home waters adding to the lore of the fish we now call "Happy Ending".