Ad Spot

May 6, 2021

Alabama man can tell story about the one that didn’t get away … and was big enough to break record

Mike Richards was “wading” in the crystal, clear waters of Georgia’s Soque River, rhythmically casting a fly line back and forth, his thoughts drifting to landing a big one, a rainbow trout that does not get away.

In his mind and in this place, Richards was as far from the sleepy, Tarentum community as he could ever be. He was a fisherman and he was fishing for the big one.

But, Richards never dared to dream of landing a rainbow trout that would carry the title of Georgia State Record. That was never a thought.

Mike Richards didn’t grow up fishing on river banks. His love of fishing came later when he and his buddies would get together for a weekend of camping and fishing in the North Georgia mountains.

And, fishing private areas of the Lake Burton-fed Soque River almost guaranteed a fun and successful fishing trip.

“You pay to fish these private areas and you fish to release,” Richards said. “It’s all for the fun of fishing and the hope of bringing in the big ones.”

The late March weather was perfect fishing weather. Richards and his buddies were fishing with a Paradise Fishing guide in a private area of the Soque River.

“Every night, the fish in the private area of the river are fed protein so they are heavy fat,” Richards said with a smile. “That makes for good fishing. The water is clear and you can see the fishing running. I saw this really big rainbow trout and I cast for him, over and over but he was not taking the bait.”

When the big, fish hit Richards’ line, he didn’t realize it at first but, when he did, he couldn’t pull it in. In fact, in the trying his waders filled with water and several times, Richards found himself in the river waters.

“I just had to let him run with my line,” Richards said. “For about 20 minutes, it was him and me. Him trying to get away and me trying to keep him from it. That’s the beauty of fly fishing.”

When Richards got the fish to the net, he knew he had caught a big one but he didn’t know how big until it was measured.

Richards’ catch was 24 inches around the girth and 36 inches long and weighed 19 pounds and 13 ounces and topped the standing Georgia State Record for rainbow trout.

“To think that I had caught something that amazing with a fly made of feathers, hair and thread and no bigger than a gnat.” Richards said.

The fisherman watched as his dream catch was released back into the Soque River to, perhaps, be caught again or maybe not.

Richards had a record-breaking fish tale to tell.

However, there’s a snag in Mike Richards’ record breaking fish tale. He didn’t have a fishing license.

He was fishing in a private area of the river and no fishing license was required. So, his state record for rainbow trout is unofficial.

But, Richards said, never mind. Official records aren’t of importance to him.  He had the thrill of the catch and, too, the holder of the state record is the son of his fishing guide.

“I met Mark Cochran about 15 years ago when he was a young boy,” Richards said. “He has the official Georgia State Record at 13 pounds, 5 ounces. I’m proud for him.

“I’m satisfied with the unofficial record. I caught the big one that didn’t get away. Fly fishing is a whole ’nother degree of fishing and that’s enough for me.”

News

Alabama cop accused of murder takes stand in trial

News

Alabama doctor, husband who admitted to opioid distribution headed to prison

News

Alabama Trooper charged in child rape reportedly used fake FBI letter to hide sexual allegations

News

14-year-old faces charges in Alabama murder

News

Jury views video of Alabama officer shooting suicidal man

News

Alabama House committee advances lottery, casino bill

News

Officials: 15 cows killed by lightning strike in Alabama

News

Four people killed when plane crashes into Mississippi home

News

National effort to bail low-income people out of jail expands to Alabama, other parts of South

News

Search suspended for college student missing from Alabama island beach trip

News

Mississippi mother sentenced for sexually assaulting her two sons

News

Alabama House to debate medical marijuana bill

News

Forecasters: Damaging storms to plow through state, southern US into Tuesday night

News

Saying COVID-19 ‘absolutely now a managed’ pandemic, governor to end virus order

News

Inmates jump in to save Alabama prison guard after scissors-wielding inmate attacked her

News

Search continues for Mississippi student who went missing during swim off Alabama island

News

Officials seek victims of former Alabama coach charged with transmitting obscene material, solicitation of a child

News

Cause sought in fire that killed Alabama petting zoo animals

News

Owl gets lodged in truck, shocks rescuers when it survives hours-long trip from Alabama to south Florida

News

Jury selection set for Huntsville officer’s murder trial

News

Charges filed following crash into Joyride cart on Tuscaloosa ‘Strip’, two University of Alabama students injured

News

Alabama petting zoo engulfed by fire, killing approximately 75 animals

News

Judge says teen suspect in football game shooting tried as an adult

News

Night hunting of feral hogs, coyotes to be legalized in Alabama