It’s one thing to catch a monster brown trout, it’s yet another to do it all by yourself at three years of age! But young Buffalo Creek resident, Christopher Albright did just that right along his backyard and southern Logan County, West Virginia waterway, Buffalo Creek. To top all, he caught the behemoth 25-inch specimen on four-pound test monofilament line!
His mom Stacy and coal mining dad Larry are proud as pie. They’re having the West Virginia “citation” class trophy wall-mounted for the youngster. An ardent hunter and also a fisherman of sorts, dad admits to never having caught anything the likes of the big brown. Both parents attest to the youngster’s love for fishing, which they wholeheartedly support.
Mom indicates that the three-year old generally uses night crawlers for bait and has previously caught a couple foot-long rainbow trout but nothing like this. His most frequent catch however, is the common creek chub. In fact, it was a six-inch creek chub on the end of the line that was engulfed by the monster trout. The smaller catch had in fact become the bait for the bigger fish!
Dad was present for the entire 35-minute battle that ensued between the boy and the fish. The equipment he rigged up for the youngster included a Johnson closed-face, spin-casting reel mounted on the lower half of a two-piece fishing rod. The sagest move by dad however, was for having the drag set extremely loose so that the light line wouldn’t break.
Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, dad encouraged young Christopher to just keep on reeling even as the fish took line out as quickly as he took it in and then some. Each time the fish caught a glimpse of the bank, it went back out to the deep portion of the pool.
When the beautiful fish was finally landed, they could hardly believe their eyes. Photos were snapped and a shared copy went to Uncle Sam’s Sporting Goods at Man, West Virginia, where the famous coalfield stream mouths with the Guyandotte River. The folks at Uncle Sam’s and the local Buffalo Creek Watershed Association were jubilant.
The stream famed for the 1972 mega mining disaster is making headlines of a different sort these days. It has been turning up plenty of rainbow trout in the past few years since its historic return to the state stock list and now this.
The big brown trout is most likely a several year old graduate of the experimental fingerling brown trout stocking program conducted in cooperation with the state DNR, DEP and the Watershed Association. When I scanned, then e-mailed a copy of the big fish photo to DNR trout chief, Mike Shingleton, he quickly replied, “Wow!!!!”