It was the first day of spring, and I was taking Chase bream fishing. The weather had been warm for several weeks, but the water was still nice and chilly. "It might be too early for them to bite," I told him, just in case they didn't. It's hard enough to keep a six-year old's attention, especially if there's not much action.
Bream are temperamental little creatures, and if for some reason they don't want to bite, you can hang it up. You can, however, aggregate them enough that they will go into a feeding frenzy, but it takes a great deal of begging on certain days. This particular day they were in one of those moods. I started working the deep under-cut bank of the creek we were on, and they just weren't getting the idea. My son was losing confidence in me, and fast.
Unexpectedly, something took my offering and nearly jerked my spinning rod right out of my hand. I saw a silver flash under the surface as I lifted the rod to pull in the fish. I was thinking bass or a monster chain pickerel, until I saw the silvery sides with a pinkish tinge-- it was a rainbow trout.
First of all, this warm water creek in the foothills of Greenville County was not somewhere you'd expect to find a trout. The water is too slow moving with massive amounts of silt and debris for a trout to survive for long. The only explanation I could think of was that someone must've caught a trout up in the Saluda and didn't want to clean it, so they threw it in at the bridge above us.
The fish was a nice one, 14 inches. I threw him in the bucket, his mistake. On the next cast, same thing-- 14 inch rainbow. My son and I both had trout at the same time, both of those, near 14 inches. I had to be dreaming. We stopped and took the bucket of trout to show my dad, who said we were liars. My brother-in-law went back with us, and caught a few, as well.
We were starting to feel guilty for the luck we were having, (not really) so we quit while they were still biting and made a pact in blood that we wouldn't tell anybody else about our honey hole.
The next day, same thing. I talked my dad into going with me after work. After all the junk he talked, he wanted to catch a few, too. We walked down the bank together, and I showed him where to drop his baited hook in. A trout grabbed it and he fought the fish out from under the bank. When he went to lift the fish, he stepped in a stump-hole up to his thigh and fell backwards, and the fish landed on his chest and flopped around until I could stop laughing long enough to help him up.
We caught trout there until the water became to hot in mid-summer. Nobody believed us.
A few years later, a man that lives up the creek from us said he'd heard we caught a ton of trout on our end of the creek. He said another neighbor had mentioned this to him and this was the first time he had the opportunity to ask me about it. He thought it was a joke, until I confirmed it.
He had a friend from a hatchery stock rainbow trout in two beaver ponds behind his house, not realizing they wouldn't stay put. He said he thought the raccoons were eating them, because he wasn't seeing any trout, and they weren't eating the trout chow he was throwing out for them. What had happened, evidently, was they washed over or through the dams in one of the heavy rains we had, right down the creek.
He was a good sport about it as I described our fishing adventures at his expense. He said it made a good story, at least. I told him to give me a call the next time he decided to stock his beaver ponds so I could get the grease in my fish-fryer hot.