What's a trophy?
I use the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries guidelines for a trophy catch. Through the VDGIF Angler Recognition Program, a panel of experts sets minimum trophy requirements for length and weight in 25 freshwater species. Anglers who make a qualifying catch register their fish online or at a weigh station and receive a citation plaque for the catch.
I left Virginia on a week-long solo expedition to east Texas to target alligator gar, one of North America’s largest freshwater fish. After a week of camping and fishing in the blistering hot Texas backcountry, I was rewarded with a prehistoric monster measuring over six feet long and weighing over 130 pounds! It was a fish and an adventure I will remember for the rest of my life.
Favorite fish story?
It was a balmy August night and my girlfriend, Harley Canty, and I were beached on a rock in the middle of the James River targeting carp and gar. I cast out a live bluegill and a massive blue catfish shot up and crushed the bait. The rod bent to the cork, within seconds my 10-pound braided line was gone and I was into the backing on my small spinning reel. Desperate, we jumped in the kayak. I fought the fish from...