Outdoors | Anglers aren't always to ones telling fish stories on the Internet

Special to the HeraldMarch 30, 2014 

Clayton Weesels, left, and Capt. Brett Sweeny show the 30.25-inch trout caught in Texas. Once the photo made its way onto the Internet, the fish was reported to be 40 inches long. PROVIDED PHOTO

Living in a digital world has not only changed fishing, it has changed the way fishing stories are spread.

What used to be taking an angler for his word has now become verified (or disproven) with detailed documentation of events. These stories are often backed with pictures and videos, either proving an angler's story of how big a fish was, or the opposite, having others question, "did you measure or see that right?"

A bizarre occurrence happened to Capt. Brett Sweeny of Matagorda, Texas, after he posted a picture of one of the many huge trout he specializes in catching. If the stories were true, the large trout he caught on Dec. 3 would be a Texas state record at nearly 40 inches. That's quite an accomplishment because the current record is 15.6 pounds and 37.25 inches.

"I have no clue where it started, and I tried to correct the story," Sweeney said about the large trout, "but it seems no one wanted to hear the truth."

The "story" originated after Sweeny posted a picture on Facebook of a 30.25-inch trout that weighed more than 10 pounds caught by Clayton Weesels with Capt. Sweeny. Soon it was hitting forums, Facebook pages and text messages, growing with each successive posting.

"Social media seems to have a trend of exaggerating things to what people want to believe is out there," Sweeny said. One blog titled it "40-inch trout caught in Laguna Madre." Another forum posting was titled "39-inch trout in Baffin Bay."

Sweeny is one of the best at catching huge trout, but 40 inches in unheard of. He specializes in wading the expansive Texas flats to target trophy-sized fish. Sharing a bit of advice on how he does it, anglers in Florida waters can apply this locally.

"Wading is an advantage to get shallower and fish 'sweet spots' at a proper casting angle and cover areas quietly and more efficiently," Sweeny explained. "Spring in March and April is usually the time of year to catch the heaviest of fish. Fish move shallow, tides are good, and lots of bait shows back up in bays. Moon phases play a huge role in trout-fishing. The best days seem to be the days leading up to the big, dark moons, while the back side of the moon seems to get tougher. Big trout feed in small windows of time, and you have to be in front of them when that time occurs."

Capt. Brett Sweeny of Reel Addictive Adventures can be reached at 979-533-3021 or his website, captainbrettsweeny.com, for anyone looking to take a Texas road trip for monster trout.

Speaking of monster trout, next weekend will be the Sticken Pigz redfish and trout tournament. The tournament is based out of the Palma Sola Bay boat ramp and is fairly priced at $75 to enter. The combination of largest slot redfish and trout by weight will be the winner.

The tournament had more than 50 boats last year. For more information, or to enter contact, Mark Cruz at 863-698-9127.

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