Fool Me Once
It's rare you ever get to meet a fish twice but that's exactly what happened this week. We'll call her Olive, not because of her color but her beady eyes and slender build.
We first met Olive on Sunday. It was a warm February day in Austin, perfect weather for the fish to catch some sun in the cool but warming water.
My buddy Joseph, amongst a host of other fish, caught a beautiful 23.25" bass near a spot where we don't generally have a lot of success. An awesome 'tournament fish' as they call long, slender fish that no matter the weight would score the same on a measuring board. We admired her for a moment, a fish that big a in small river system is astounding, and took a few pictures before Joseph released her back into the water. Usually that means goodbye, forever. The odds of catching the same fish again are pretty slim. Fish move around often and the big ones don't get that way by being gullible and falling for the same trick twice.
Fast forward to 4 days later and I'm back in the same area, looking to repeat the success we had on Sunday. Unfortunately it had rained a few days in between and the water was stained, which usually shuts the bite down. It did, with the exception of one bite. Not 30 yards from where Joseph found Olive originally, I hooked into what I thought at the time was an absolute GIANT. Turns out it was Olive, I guessed she missed the spotlight.
Here's a close up of the fish from each trip. Look for unique features that aren't easily repeatable. A combination of dark/light scales or blemishes can give a fish away. Check out the dark scales behind her fin, in both photographs.
Besides the story of long lost friends reuniting, one thing to take away from this is that CPR (catch-photo-release) is an important consideration. Especially for the bigger fish. Let 'em go so they can grow! Hopefully someone else will have a chance to meet Olive in the future, or maybe some Olive Jr's.