Christopher Bauman had spent two hours fishing from the shore at Glade Run Lake in Middlesex Township.
It was a cold and rainy late-April day and darkness was looming.
Bauman had already caught four trout that were of normal size. Then he felt a tug on his line and began to reel in what he sensed was considerably larger.
“It put up a real good fight, started jerking around, and I was afraid I was going to lose him. There are normally a lot of people fishing there, but on that day, there was only one other guy and he was way off, about 100 yards from me. I thought, 'What a bummer! No one else is going to see this.'”
Bauman, 49 of Saxonburg, won the battle and the fish was soon dangling beneath his pole. What had been lured by his mealworm was a 23-inch rainbow trout.
“A normal one is about 13-14 inches,” he said. “Eighteen inches is big, but this one ... 23 inches! It's definitely the most impressive fish I've ever caught.
“The hook had gone right through its lip and the only way he was going to get away was if my line broke, which was possible because I was using two-pound test line and that fish weighed more than two pounds.”
A stranger helped Bauman get a visual record of his catch.
“There was somebody walking their dog near the lake. They saw me reeling this thing in and stopped to watch. They were nice enough to take some pictures.”
Just after the pictures were taken, Bauman put the fish back in the lake.
“I always release whatever I catch, but I regret not keeping this one,” said Bauman. “I could've had it mounted, but at least I got the photos.”
Bauman said it was his mother who taught him how to fish when he was 10 years old.
“As a kid, all I wanted to do was cast and reel, but she'd cast and let her line sit there for two hours. That's the biggest thing I learned from her. You have to leave it out there, be patient.
“She passed away two years ago, but she would have been really happy to see that fish. The only fish bigger that I've seen taken from Glade Run was a 27-inch brown trout that she caught. She was the best fisherman I knew.”
Bauman has also fished at some local creeks, but says that Glade Run Lake is “definitely my spot.
“It had been a while since I fished, but then COVID-19 hit and so many things were shut down. There wasn't much to do and I decided to go get a license.”