Flowers, candy hearts, chocolate-covered strawberries—these make the ideal Valentine's gifts. Unless you’re an enthusiastic 10-year-old fisherman. Then you’d much rather receive an 11-pound, 2-foot-long chocolate trout!
Or at least a rainbow-colored one.
That’s the Valentine’s gift Joshua Brauer of Hazelwood did receive from January-Wabash Park Lake in Ferguson. Right around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 13, 10-year-old Joshua hooked an incredible 11-pound rainbow trout that measured 25 inches.
The gift didn’t come easy. And it was certainly not free of effort! For starters, armed with Berkley Powerbait on a size 14 Eagle Claw treble hook at the end of 30-pound test, Joshua had to cast his line over a hundred yards of frozen ice to land in open water. Perhaps with a false sense of security, the lad stepped away for just a moment.
The fish must have been waiting for that very instant to grab a free meal.
According to Joshua’s father, Fred Brauer, the unmanned pole suddenly seized and took off like a big catfish had it. It went shooting for the water. Only the concrete barrier at the lake’s edge foiled the crafty fish’s plans and prevented the whole rig from escaping into the depths. Joshua’s dad quickly grabbed the pole and called to his son. Fred recalls thinking, “What the heck does he have here?”
“This isn’t a regular fish,” Joshua realized as he began the six-minute struggle to bring the big trout in. The pole was bending so much “it looked like he was deep-sea fishing,” Fred remembers.
With everyone on the bank cheering him on, Joshua finally won his hard-fought battle and brought the fish to shore. The angling veterans who witnessed the event were heard to exclaim that one could fish all their life to get something like that. Having started fishing at 5 years old, Joshua certainly set his bar high!
Joshua’s story reminds us that outstanding fishing experiences can be had by anyone, anywhere in Missouri. Even at a suburban St. Louis County lake on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
Now, just what does one do with an 11-pound rainbow trout? Trout almondine, perhaps? When asked what would be his recipe of choice for the big trout, Joshua simply said, “Mom would probably know that.”
Let’s hope Mom didn’t have her heart set on chocolates of the candy variety this year.