When someone asks why I release nearly every fish I catch, I have a friend who says “Tim likes to play with his food.”

I didn’t always do it this way. Much like Howell Raines, I was schooled in the Redneck Way. Sure, fishing was fun, but a bucket full of bluegills proved that I was doing my part to feed our family. I wasn’t just goofing off.

I still remember the first time I tried to release a fish—not because it was too small—but because I wanted to let it grow and make more fish. I couldn’t do it. We didn’t need the food, but I needed to show someone my conquest.

Most of the brook trout I catch are small, so when I let them go I ask only that they grow freakishly large for this little river, and—one day—reward me by turning an otherwise slow evening into one I will never forget. Too much to ask? Maybe not.


Categories: Fish Tales

1 Comment

howard levett · May 11, 2016 at 6:02 pm

As I small stream guy who revels in equally small fish, I release them not to grow larger, but just to make sure they are there the next time I come to visit.

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