You know how to tell when a fisherman is exaggerating? His lips are moving.
What do fishermen lie about most? The size of their catch. When you look up the word ‘Fish-Length-Overestimation’ in the dictionary you will find the following: “The act of habitually and impulsively, but not deceitfully, overestimating the length and/or weight of a fish that has been caught or lost. Synonym: Fisherman.”
As a fisherman, I know that I have been guilty of this more than a time or two. Actually, I was the poster child for fish-length-overestimating. For years, I always caught 18-20” fish. But once I began measuring everything I catch, now a big fish for me is in the 15-17” range. Could this just be a coincidence? If measuring your fish is guaranteed to help you catch smaller fish, you may ask why would you use it? Here is why:
In 2009 I went on the hiking trip that was the reason I began measuring my fish. The day was sunny, warm and calm. I hiked up to a lake with a friend and surveyed the clear-green water. I saw a couple fish swimming around.
But then I saw it; the trout of my dreams; a rainbow trout so big it could swallow a 14” cutthroat and call it an appetizer; so huge that you dare not let small kids swim in the lake; large enough to make my knees shake at the prospect of catching it.
I pointed out the behemoth to my friend: “Check out that huge fish”. I received a nonchalant response: “Yes, that is a nice fish.” I scratched my head, confused. Then all of a sudden he saw it: profanities were flying; his hands were shaking; his English was nothing but gibberish. I smiled and said “Now you see the fish I was talking about!”
At that instant we started stringing up our fishing rods and blowing up our rafts; needless to say we were ready to fish in record time! I had been fishing for about 30 minutes when I finally felt a heavy tug on the end of my line that could only have come from the leviathan I first saw. As I battled it, I was confident the fish on the end of my line was the trout of my dreams. The monster took run after run, peeling out line and taking me to my backing. I knew I had hooked The Big Fish.
When I finally worked the fish close to my raft, I attempted to grab the fish and haul it into my boat. But I had a problem – the fish was too big! I decided the only way to land the fish was to grab it by its mouth. I lifted the head of the fish slightly out of the water and snap!! My leader broke and the fish swam slowly out of sight. Even several years later, I still shake my head with disgust. I only hope that I have an opportunity to catch a trout that big again.
As I lay in bed sleepless after losing The Big Fish, I came to a resolution: I am going to carry a net! After searching online I settled on the Measure Net. It is lightweight, it floats and it has a tape measure built right into the netting. After landing the fish with a Measure Net, you can quickly and accurately see the fish’s length without pulling out a tape measure or using the ‘fisherman’ method.
Now I release many of the fish I catch. The beauty of the Measure Net is that in just a couple seconds you can get an accurate measurement and release your fish without even touching it. For years I landed fish up to 20 inches by hand, but after losing the fish of my dreams due to not having a net, I will carry it with the hope that one of these days I will be rewarded for doing so – even if all the fish I’ve caught since buying the Measure Net have been smaller!
Check out the Measure Net website here.
Many thanks to Tyler Goodman for a picture of his Measure Net in action!