It's a story as old as time:
Man goes fishing, returns with no fish, but but manages to hook the tale of the one that just barely got away.
Fortunately, an editor decided the results were newsworthy enough to make the September 7, 1901 edition of the Basalt Journal -- if only because it gave him an excuse to poke some fun at a fellow townsman caught telling a real whopper while supposedly under a herbal influence.
To be fair, the Journal's news section didn't exactly ban trivia. Also included was word that Miss Lena Fifield of Eagle was in town visiting Mrs. Craig (that must have had the boys a-callin') and Dr. Rucker has been sick all week.
But the real gem is the calling out of a Mr. J.G. Ould, who claimed he had been fly fishing when he snared a fourteen-pound trout. The fish got away (of course) and it seems nobody believed him. The size, they said, was due to Ould smoking "hasheesh," which everyone knows makes things appear ten times their normal size. (Side note: Can someone please track down this size-warping cannabis please? We really want to try it.)
So was his story really bullshit? We would like to think not.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife records, the largest trout ever caught in Colorado was a fifty-pound Mackinaw snared in a pond in Gunnison County circa 2007.
We're not really fisherman here, but from what we can tell, Ould was most likely trying to reel in either a Rainbow or a Cutthroat, which have records at nineteen pounds and sixteen pounds, respectively.
Not to mention that fishing equipment in 1901 wasn't anywhere near as reliable as modern gear, including high-tension fishing line capable of pulling in a fourteen-pound fish. Which makes his story entirely probable. Synthetic fishing line wasn't even available until 1953. Before that, fishermen used oiled silk and horsehair/linen combinations.
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So maybe old J.G. was toking up a bit of the good stuff down by the river when fishing; we know all of our fly fishing friends up in Eagle County do the same. But we're pretty sure it had nothing to do with the record trout that got away.
(Fisherman, feel free to correct us on our assumptions if we're way off base.)
More from our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive: "1904: Dockworker's secret stash makes him talk like a god" and "1914: Hemp used as a weed killer."