The Studio

On a small Minnesota stream, an eight-year-old boy made a slight cast up and into the current. From the bank, his father watched with patience… gently instructing as he thoughtfully documented the moment on his phone.

The small caddis fly pattern bobbed in the waves, eventually floating directly in front of them both, and, as if on cue for the camera, a tiny brown, from somewhere deep in the run, rose for and ate it.

Neither father nor son could contain their excitement.

Scot Simmons reminded his son, Cooper, to keep the line tight. Cooper did everything just right. He landed the fish. And both father and son soon admire a trout this young man landed on a dry fly… all by himself.

“That moment on the creek filled my soul in a way that completely overwhelmed me,” said Scot Simmons, some weeks later, as he recollected that moment.

A video of all this has been shared thousands of times across the Instagram platform. The outpouring of positivity, support, and direct messages that spawned only strengthened the elder Simmons’ bond with the greater fly-fishing community.

Scot Simmons has dealt with various forms of anxiety, PTSD, and depression for most of his adult life. He admits he hasn’t always made the best choices in life. More recently, considering the tragic murder of George Floyd in his hometown of Minneapolis, Simmons has wondered if “that could have been me.”

He is committed to creating a better life for himself and others and strives to be a better role model for his family. Fly fishing has helped him find this equilibrium.

Learn more and support the Twin Cities Chapter youth education program HERE.

One thought on “The Studio

  1. Your description of the fight and behavior of the fish you’re hooking into does indeed sound very much like a Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara). These are known to be large, powerful fish that often take up residence in or near structures like reefs or wrecks. They are opportunistic feeders and are more than capable of swallowing a 6-8 inch pinfish with ease.

    However, a few other species could potentially be responsible as well. Here are a few possibilities:

    Large Amberjack (Seriola dumerili): Known as “reef donkeys” for their strength and tenacity, Amberjacks can easily reach the 100 lb mark and would be capable of gradually pulling line out against a heavy drag setting. They are also known to head straight for cover when hooked. Large Snapper, such as Cubera or Mutton Snapper: These are usually not as large as Goliath Groupers or Amberjacks, but a particularly large individual could potentially give a similar fight. They are also more likely to cut you off on structure, though, so they’re a less likely possibility. Large Black Grouper: This species can reach sizes comparable to Goliath Groupers and would behave in a similar manner when hooked. Jewfish (a common name for Goliath Grouper in some regions, so this may not be a different option if that’s what you meant by “Goliath”). Large sharks: You’ve ruled these out based on your experiences, but it’s worth mentioning that some species of shark could potentially behave in the way you’re describing. Remember, even if it is a Goliath Grouper, it’s important to release it unharmed, as they are protected species in many regions, including Florida. Be sure to check local regulations before you go out to fish. And of course, be prepared for a fight.

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