Totally agree a 40" fish on the fly or any gear is an accomplishment, your personal best of 46" in normal growth and weight conditions definitely put you over the 40lb mark. Old school had 16" at legal keeper status
wow it's amazing how hard they worked to maintian the species
.But a 40" fish weighs in the 20's,there have been spring migration days on the canal when they were like catching schoolie rats,they fight longer and harder but they were hitting everything like a kamikaze schoolie. IMHO a milestone is something not easily or readily obtainable, hence the 40lb mark. I mostly aim my opinion from a shore catching basis,from a boat 40lbs is still a cow but it's more obtainable.