The fish was better than nice. Though we didn’t put a measuring tape to it, the fat, spring brown trout was probably 17 or 18 inches. It was my first fish of the day. Joe quickly reached up with his other hand and pulled out the hook, put the fish back in the water, and let it go.
The whole process from strike to release had taken less than two minutes.
“Thanks Joe,” I said grinning like he’d just released the first fish I’d ever caught.
“Cast right back in there,” he said.
I did and two minutes later Joe released another brown.
Down stream, just out of sight around the bend, my fishing partner, Gavin, was finding his groove too. Joe had him fishing the inside of a slow, deep hole next to a gravel bank. He stood at the edge of the water and caught seven fish without moving his feet.
What does the perfect day of fishing look like? For Gavin and I, it was a warm day in late April on the Ruby River in Southwest Montana. The sky was clear, the weather was warm enough for t-shirts, and the water was high and murky.