Words by Tim Homa
Dear Speckled Trout,
I love you. I also hate you.
Pursuing you has given me all of the feels. Pain, frustration, and jubilation are the rollercoaster of feelings that join your company.
Locating you has required countless hours scouring google earth, watching Youtube videos, reading articles and blog posts, and striking up conversations with complete strangers on Instagram for validation and encouragement. Not to mention, all the endless mental and written notes of water temp, tide, wind, and moon phase.
In my pursuit of you, I have willingly launched my kayak in the most ridiculous of weather conditions and temperatures just to have a shot at encountering you. I’ve built up a stupid amount of shoulder, back, and neck pain from battling intense currents just to find you.
Your headshakes caused me to start over. After experiencing the headshakes of your larger selves for the first time, I knew I needed completely different rods. My pursuit changed to find the perfect balance of flex and back bone to be able to absorb and handle your overly dramatic temper tantrums.
The thump that accompanies your strike is unmistakable and inexplicably addicting. Normally, a fairly cost conscious consumer, your strike had me happily buying up any $8-$10 twitchbait I could find. Now, several years into this, spending $12-$15 on custom lures has become the norm (don’t tell my wife). All in the name of feeling your thump. Shout out to Affirm and Afterpay for making those purchases possible.
My conversations with normal people have gotten dumber. When catching up with friends and family who have different pursuits such as building wealth, running businesses, or being productive members of society, I speak about you. “I don’t know which clean energy company to invest in, but I did catch a couple citation trout last week,” I would say. “They are a different ballgame when they get over 24 inches, their headshakes….nevermind.”
You have attracted a cult-like following of anglers who hunt for your strike. An unspoken code of conduct exists. Information is relayed to those who are trusted. Patterns, but never locations, are discussed. Don’t ask, don’t tell, but encourage and communicate. Most importantly, admiration and conservation of your being is a must.
Following a vicious strike, your immediate surface headshakes and tailwalking are what keep me coming back. A truly savage display after being fooled into delivering my lure a kill shot. Once in the net, admiring the beauty of your spots, snaggle teeth, and subtle hues of blue and purple are why I let you go. Not to mention, you seem to reward persistence and respect.
You’ve been a real pain in the ass, but I wouldn’t change a thing. With each passing season my admiration, determination, and excitement grow. My encounters with you are steadily on the rise. If it improves my chances, re-read the last paragraph where I said “I let you go.”