A snowstorm didn’t stop Eric Underhill and his friend from taking a guided fishing trip on Arkansas’ famous White River last Friday and it was a good thing, as guide Craig Yowell called the conditions ideal.
“Friday was miserable,” Underhill told Field and Stream. “Bitter cold. We could barely feel our fingers. It was in the 20s, but with the wind, it felt like about 15.”
Yowell explained that the day featured a low and dropping barometer with the darkest daylight skies seen all year. Yep, it was ideal.
The result was a catch of a lifetime for Underhill, who had hoped to catch German browns in the 3- to 5-pound range.
“Did I expect to catch a 25-pound brown?” Underhill told Field and Stream “Never.”
But he did, and it was just after he asked Yowell of Cranor’s Guide Service what the biggest fish he or a client had ever caught. The 13-year guide said his was a 19.1-pound brown and a client got an 18-pounder.
“I said, ‘Wow, those are hogs,’” Underhill said, and then his reel started going off. A fish had taken the minnow that he had bouncing off the bottom.
After a 10-minute-plus battle as it ran upstream, the trophy brown was in the net.
“Craig feathered that throttle just right to hold me in place, and he kept the fish from diving into the trees,” Underhill told Field and Stream. “And he kept the fish in the net and the net in the water until the trout started to revive.”
The fish was weighed in the net before being released. The weight was 25 pounds, 8 ounces.
Donald Cranor of Cranor’s Guide Service reacted to the catch by saying on Facebook that he was glad his guide didn’t take his advice 10 years ago.
“He told me his dream was to be a guide,” Cranor said. “I told him the same thing every time. Stay in school, it’s a hard life. I’m glad he didn’t listen to me. I would hate to be the one that discouraged him from being one of the best fishermen to ever drop a line in the White River.”
Photos courtesy of Cranor’s Guide Service.