Thirty-Inch Liars

by | Jun 13, 2016 | 6 comments

My story, Thirty-Inch Liars, is over at Hatch Magazine today. Here are a few excerpts…..

— — — — — — — — — —

… I once read through a publication that printed, “Thirty-inch wild trout are common in this stretch of water.” Now, I don’t care what river in the continental United States you want to put up as an example. None of them have thirty-inch wild trout as a regular thing and certainly not in my home state of Pennsylvania. And yet, every fisherman in the parking lot seems to have a thirty-inch fish story, don’t they?

… And thirty inches seems to be the benchmark where fantasy replaces reality.

… You know what I hear when someone says a fish was “about two feet long?” I hear: “I didn’t measure the fish.”

… The magnificent brown trout of my dreams suspended aloft, just between the rise and fall of a leaping trout, only ten feet away. I could have reached out and touched him with my rod tip. It was the biggest wild brown trout I’ve ever seen, and it was hooked to my line.

… I did everything I could to hold on, running parallel to him in shallow water, rod tip high, keeping the line tight until he turned at the tailout. One hundred and eighty degrees. And then he faced the current.

— — — — — — — — — —

Find the full article at Hatch Magazine.

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody home means there’s no trout in the slot you were fishing. And sometimes that’s true. Nobody hungry suggests that a trout might be in the slot but he either isn’t eating, isn’t buying what you’re selling, or he doesn’t like the way you are selling it.

Does it matter? It sure does!

New Structure | Old Structure

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

. . .The flow of the fly line through the air is finesse and freedom. Contrasted with nymphing, streamer fishing, or any other method that adds weight to the system, casting the weightless dry fly with a fly line is poetry.

The cast is unaffected because the small soft hackle on a twelve-inch tether simply isn’t heavy enough to steal any provided slack from the dry. It’s an elegant addition that keeps the art of dry fly fishing intact . . .

Angler Types in Profile: The Gear Guy

Angler Types in Profile: The Gear Guy

I think every angler has some gear obsession. It’s part of us. Because fishing is the kind of activity that requires a lot of stuff. Big things and small. Clothing and boots, packs and boxes, lines and tools — and all the stuff that non-fishers never imagine when they think of a fishing pole. So it’s understandable that we pack our gear bags with stuff we know we need and then add in everything we think we might need. Time on the water is limited, and we want to feel prepared.

But nothing signals rookie more than a clean fisherman.

We Wade

We Wade

We wade for contemplation, for strength and exhaustion, for the challenge and the risk. We wade for opportunity . . .

A Comprehensive List of Fishermen’s Excuses

A Comprehensive List of Fishermen’s Excuses

Fishermen are full of excuses for failure — because we get a lot of practice at not catching fish. Mostly, Troutbitten is here to share better ways to catch trout, but here’s a big list of explanations for when you don’t. Why’d you take the skunk? This list of reasons will help explain it all away.

These excuses can roughly be grouped into three classes:

Conditions — where you blame the weather or the water.
Fish’s Fault — where you blame the fish for not eating your flies.
I Wasn’t Really Trying — these excuses are centered around the inference that if you really wanted to, you could have caught more trout . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.


  1. I couldn’t agree more with your excellent Hatch essay . I loved your line “You know what I hear when someone says a fish was “about two feet long?” I hear: “I didn’t measure the fish.”” It’s not exactly that you are calling the guy a liar, but when someone catches a 20″-24+” fish on most rivers it is a rare event and you want to know whether it is 20″ or 24+.” As you pointed out those few inches make a huge difference. Just knowing that a big fish lives in your river changes your perspective. It’s like hiking in grizzly country. You don’t see them often, but knowing they are around heightens your experience.

    • Dan, you perfectly described why measuring to those benchmarks is important to me too. Cheers.

  2. I loved the story. Here’s mine. 15 inches is a real trophy and I don’t care whether someone believes me or not. I did see a pair of brown trout that were for sure pushing 30 several years ago. They were doing the mating dance and I was too embarrassed to take pictures.

    • Howard, what state? A pair of wild thirties, you think?

      And I agree, for sure, that fifteen is where “Good Trout” starts.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest