This article, written by Capt. Gerry appeared in the December 97 issue of the "Salmon River Success" magazine.

Recently, I met SRS publisher Troy Creasy in the parking lot of a local tackle shop. If we are not fishing, then most of us "fish heads" can be found hanging at the local shops talking about our fishing exploits. Since I had not seen Troy since his return from his annual Alaska guiding stint, he was quick to offer his congratulations regarding the NYS Record Brown Trout recently caught aboard my charter vessel the Dixie Dandy. You may recall that it was Troy who guided a lucky angler to the NYS Chinook record a few years ago, a 47lb monster.

Troy suggested that the subject of my next SRS article cover the experience of boating the record brown. Being of the modest persuasion, I hemmed and hawed something about not wanting to toot my own horn. However since Troy is the boss, I had no choice but to agree to his wishes., I immediately quit my hemming, slowed my hawing, and jumped at the opportunity. So much for the modesty ploy!!!

On June 10th at about 9AM we hooked up with a huge brown that turned out to be a new NYS record. As you might expect it is the highlight of my fishing career, and one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. Now, if you want to know how we did it, read on! I am going to tell you about our presentation program and what must be done in order to capture one of these bruiser browns. There are two things that seem to be absolutely essential to catching a huge brown trout. The first requisite is that you troll for them in Mexico Bay between Catfish Creek and the High Rocks area to the west, secondly and most important you must bring your lucky charm because you need a lot of luck. The rest is just icing on the cake.

Why Mexico Bay? Consider these facts. On May 27, 1990 Al Materazzo boated a 30 pound 5 ounce lunker that was later certified to be a NYS Record. Al’s fish was caught east of NineMile near the high rocks. On that same day Jim Vrooman hooked and landed another huge brown that weighed in at 27pounds 8 ounces. Want to guess where Jim was when he hooked up? If you said between Catfish and the "rocks" you would be right on the money. Al’s fish came shallow in approximately 15feet, while Jim’s beauty came 25 feet down over about 70 feet of water. In this area it doesn’t take long to go from 15 to 70 feet, so the lunkers were close in close proximity to on another. I can document plenty of huge browns taken from this area over the years. In fact on this very same day the Charter boat Joanie B boated a brown trout double that consisted of a 17 and 18 pound trophies. May and June seem to be the best months for these Mexico Bay biggies.

On June 10th we were trolling in front of the high rocks heading east into the bay. Wind and water clarity conditions found us working in the 20 to 25 foot range. Our troll was a slow 1.8 to 2 mph with a presentation of stick baits and light spoons set back from 60 to 120 feet. Our set included 3 lines off each planner board and two downriggers. As we headed in an easterly direction we had just cleared the end of the cliff area and were in front of the gravely shore when the outside rod on the starboard board vee’d toward the water and jerked free of the Jolly release. By the time we jumped to the noodle rod it was doubled to the water and the Penn 940 reel spooled with 8 pound test was purring nicely as the fish commenced its run away from the boat. MY angler Tony Brown, (a great name for a brown trout record holder isn’t it?) is an experienced angler who can handle a rod. As the fish ran out we looked a each other and I uttered the oft used expression "nice fish", not too original, but certainly appropriate. No sooner had I said that and our large fish made a rumbling tumbling surface roll, it looked big, no on second thought it looked huge. All eyes were following the line into the water when it happened. The 9 foot rod sprang toward the heavens and stayed there, in an instant the "C’ shaped "fish on" bend had disappeared and the rod returned to its fish off position. That beautiful fish was gone, just like that, and our euphoria turned to ----well if you fish I’m sure you know the feeling. Tony looked at me and asked dejectedly, "What did I do wrong?) Not a thing Tony, I said as I made every effort to not show my disappointment. We reeled in the line and found the our Smithwick Rouge with its black and silver finish was missing, we theorized that when the fish rolled the six pound test leader gave way to the fish’s determination and struggle to get free. The fish had won the battle and we were left with thoughts of what might have been. We checked lines, reset and continued heading east. Earlier I talked about fishing in Mexico Bay and having good luck in order to catch a lunker, well we were half way there as we were in the right spot, but the only luck we had was bad. A big brown would live on to get even bigger! Score it fish 1, fishermen 0.

We trolled on and then made a wide turn and headed back toward the west. The lost lunker was hooked up at about 8:15 AM, at 9:AM our luck would change. As we trolled to the west, the middle position custom noodle rod bent toward the bottom, I didn’t buck or jerk it just went down and stayed down. Tony was on the rod in an instant and held firm as the lined spooled out in a slow steady manner.

At first I thought we might be stuck on bottom but we were fishing in 24 feet of water and the Smithwick was only down several feet, and the line we being played out in a steady rhythm rather than that the raspy hooked on bottom sound. No this wasn’t bottom, it was a fish, a big fish, a really big fish. We cleared all rods and reeled in the planner boards, I was taking no chances. As Tony worked the fish I never once thought that it was a giant, it was certainly a nice fish but after losing that lunker just minutes before I was not really ready for what I was about to see. As we got this fish closer to the boat it swam back and froth off the stern just far enough away to remain hidden in the depths, it seemed like an eternity until a shadowy shape emerged from below. The first thing I saw was a huge eye, it was looking right a me, or so it seemed. As the fish cruised about 25 feet off the stern I got my first good look and thought that we had hooked a rather large salmon, its jaw had a huge hook and its head was massive. The fish again disappeared into the depths with another run towards freedom, but Tony and our equipment held firm. Minutes later we had the fish just 15 feet from the boat, it rolled on its side and its huge head with those big eyes poked to the surface. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t a king. Its mouth was totally white and the base of its tail was very thick. At that moment I knew I was looking a the biggest Brown Trout I had ever seen. At that moment I probably made the best decision of the battle, instead of blurting out, Wow That’s the biggest fish etc. and getting everyone more excited, I kept my mouth shut. I did not utter a word. In my mind I kept thinking that if this was indeed a brown trout we probably were going to set a new record. As the fish loomed closer and closer it seemed like a eternity was going by. Now was not the time to rush things, but how long would those tiny hooks hold firm. What kind of luck would we have? Was it meant to be? The monster grew more weary and as I guided the net under its massive shape it became engulfed in the webbing and was hoisted into the boat. The fish was ours, we had won the battle! There were cheers, hand slaps and yes even a few expletives about just how big the fish was. Remember my condition that dealt with good luck, well consider this, when the fish lay on the floor of the boat we noticed that the lure had come free, in addition, not only had the lure come free, the hook was no longer attached to the lure or the fish, it was laying on the floor of the boat. Luck be a Lady and Lady luck was with us. A few more seconds and that fish would have escaped. Today some three months later the possibility of losing that fish still haunts me.

We weighed the fish on our boat scale and it read 34 pounds. Realizing that my scale was bouncing around and did not have certified scale accuracy, we immediately headed for the Salmon Country Marina and the certainty of their certified scale. We called ahead to alert them that we were coming in to weigh a fish so when we arrived several people had gathered to see our catch. We placed the fish on the scale and broke into cheers as the dial moved past the current record weight and stopped at 33 pounds 2 ounces.

Tony Brown had done it, he had caught a NYS record fish. We were in the right place, Mexico Bay with it proven record of producing big browns and we had luck both good and bad. When we lost that first fish I would never have dreamed of catching another so close and so soon. But why not, remember the catches of Matarazzo and Vrooman. Two big browns in the same area at the same time! Could it be that the fish that we lost was the fish that we finally caught. Doesn’t seem likely does it? Were two huge browns in the area that day? What brings these monsters to the area and why is it always late May, early June? I don’t know why, but I do know that it happens.

So now you know the secret to catching the big ones. Fish in Mexico Bay and bring your lucky charm. It’s that simple!