Share your story of the one that got away! We all have likely plenty of examples!
The one that got away
A number of years ago a good friend (inexperienced fisherman) from work and I were fishing the Wisconsin Dells past the Rivers Edge Resort. It was early fall and a Saturday. We were scheduled to pull the boat around 3:00pm as Steve needed to get home by 6:00pm as his wife was going out that evening for an annual “girls night” out.
We were doing one last drift over a deep hole and Steve (who had loaded up his jig with 3 minnows) said that I needed to back up as he was snagged. Turns out Steve wasn’t snagged but had a huge sturgeon on. We fought that fish for the next 2 hours, frequently calling his wife explaining we weren’t at a bar but her husband had a huge fish on. She was kind and said just catch the fish and take a picture!
As said earlier, Steve didn’t fish much. He would often reel his line and not actually turn the fish at all, but he put a lot of line twist into his fishing line. We chased that fishing up and down a good hundred yard stretch. When it started to run, it was like being hooked to the back bumper of a truck. Once we got it close to the boat and the water was churning from the front to the end of the (16 foot) boat on the side where Steve was trying to get the fish up. Eventually we started losing light and Steve’s fishing line started wrapping itself around the top tip of his rod and he couldn’t give the fish any line. I unwrapped it a few times but unfortunately I didn’t get there fast enough the last time and that huge fish snapped his line. It sounded like a gun shot. We never did get to see that fish....Steve, a former Marine Captain almost cried as he felt so bad not getting a glimpse of his big fish that got away!
His wife says Steve’s got the greatest “big fish that got away” story of his whole family!
13 years old in 1975 and my second season of deer hunting in my life. As I walked down a Oconto county fire lane close to our home kicking at stones and clumps of dirt as I walked ,the kinda of buck that only appears in your dreams while you are sleeping gets up right along side the fire lane and takes off and makes a turn to cross the fire lane oh about 20 yards in front of me. I get my 3 shots off with a 12 gauge that was pretty much bigger then I was. And never ever touch him. I still have dreams about that buck and I dont think I have ever seen a bigger buck again in my life. Alive or dead. I was one nerveous,scared,excited young teenager thats for sure.
I snagged a mattress in Milwaukee harbor trolling for brown trout that snapped my rod in half because drag was too tight. Does that count?
I have lost a lot of big fish over years, but the one that pains me most was never hooked. I was living in St Louis for a summer in college and dedicated my time after work to catching a big striper. I spent hours fishing Carlisle spill way. One night I am reeling in a fouled up rattle trap that is skipping across water when a monster blows it up coming out of water like shark week. Completely missed bait, and never would hit anything else. Drove me mad and I never caught one that summer.
I've always enjoyed scouting. When my boys were of age I got involved in a big way. I especially enjoyed the camp outs. One year our troop drove north to a place called Camp Demmer. It was the hard core camping....in tents. The other side of the lake was cabins and hot water. So I have a 12 year old in the boat and he's trying for his fishing merit badge. I have a 14' boat. I show the kid on my cave man electronics that line on the bottom of the lake was a big fish. Heck, I had to keep his attention somehow. I told him to keep that yellow jig bouncing off the bottom. Sure as heck if he doesn't get a bite 2 minutes later. His rod tip was nearly in the water for the next 10 minutes. He says that the fish is coming up. Ok I reach for the net. Crap, no net. It's still in the car. Well this fish comes up and it's the biggest northern I've ever seen. She stretched from the middle seat to the back of the rear seat. It's tuckered out and just lying there so I grab under the gill plate with one hand and put the other around the neck. It was so thick I couldn't get a decent grip. So I decided to give the heave ho and flop it into the boat. The fish had her own idea and gave a swoosh of the tail just as I was lifting. It zoomed forward and literally flew out of my hands. I nearly went to tears. Not just for loosing the biggest northern I've ever seen, but the the look on the scouts face went from jubilation to horror. I felt so bad for him. And must have apologized a dozen times. He went from being the hero of the troop to "Ya ya ya . We've heard that one before"
This one is about my casual fisherman brother. We were out trout fishing most of the day, and my bro was having a tough time catching them on the rod I had set up for him with 6 lb test. So on the way back, I stopped at a small river I knew had good bass fishing, and we waded out there still in our trout fishing gear. Well, a half hour in, I hear him whooping it up that he had a giant fish on. Looked like a mid size carp to me from a distance, but I waded over there. I had his drag set so the line would not break.
I saw the fish, and hoolie crap! At the end of his line was the biggest largemouth ihad ever seen. I had once caught a 23.5 inch largemouth full of spawn that had a 10 inch bass in its stomach, weighing 7.5 lbs. This fish was longer and maybe 8 lbs! I got a real good look at it, because he played it out and then grabbed the line and lifted it out of the water before I could stop him. So of course the 6lb line snapped. I almost managed to grab it, but it slipped thru my hands and swam away. Needless to say, it was a devastating lesson for my brother to learn.
Our last night in Canada ( Eagle Lake ) two summers ago and we're on the way back to the lodge. Friends grandson asks to make one more stop at a gravel bar we had not fished all week. Only 2 minnows left so we let the kid use them. I tie on a jig with an amber colored fake minnow. After a few casts with no fish I decide it needs help, so I also thread on a yellow twister tail. The rig looks foolish, but hey, we're done for the week. In 25 fow I rip the jig up about 3 feet and let it fall with a tight line. I hook and land a 26" walleye....what ?......make another drift and BAM, another just about rips the rod out of my hand. This one I can't get off the bottom. I've landed a few in the 28-30" range, so it's not my first rodeo with big eyes. Only use 6 lb line so I let it tug for a while then lift the rod up about 4 feet, but it heads right back to the bottom. Try again, same result. Decide I need to show this fish who the boss is, so I lift and reel in some line this time. Big mistake. I get it maybe 8 feet up and down it goes, pulling the knot off the jig head. Never had that happen to me before. That fish was an easy 30" plus. Planned to go back there this July, but the border is still locked down. I'll be back there next year !!
Along time ago on a lake far far away ...actually Sawyer Co. fishing walleye with my dad using my go to bait old orange an black Lazy Ike. Couple of casts into our trip...wammo.. new it was a Muskie. With light tackle got it to the boat dad tried to net it ..low 40's range..a head shake later and we watched the big one slowly swim away. Looked at my bait and the hooks were actually ripped out.... retired that lure never to be used again , and still have down in the basement......liked reading all the other stories brought back lots of memories.
Utah. Ya I fished there too until the idiots built warming fires next to the RR ties! That ended that spot! CARPIO
My dad took me to Omro for the spring walleye run. 1968-69 Fishing off the railroad trestle. Everyone is fishing cane ploes in the main current and its a bit crowded so I go over to the north upstream side and there is a lot of debris and doesnt really look like a good place be cause of all the snags. I get one a big one right in front of an abuttment and start yelling to my dad. Well I got impatient, we didnt have a drop net, we kind of had a half ass one made from a landing net, so we kind of depended on other fishermen to help us out. Just as he gets to me Im pulling up on this big walleye, gills flaring out with its mouth wide open and it flops. Still see it in my mind today.
Fishing a beautiful north wood's Lake today! Clear water....Huge tree in the water. Casting the edges and then BAM. Big fish on. Near all the brush! Horse it in, but also leave a bit of give....drag...6 pound line. Then I see it....HUGE SMALLIE. Get it near the boat after a struggle, keeping it out of the brush. It's going nuts. Lip it. Gets away. Secure my line. Lip it again. Lift it a bit. Splashes off. Fish trashing. Nowhere to go but in the sticks. Lip it a third time....slips away. Then.... nothing....line breaks! And, then I realized that all I had to do was turn around and grab my net....just didn't realize how close it was! Was too focused on keeping the giant out of the brush.
It was hard to take the next cast! Nothing could compare. But, brush it off, keep fishing, and try not to let it bother you too much....there's a lot more to life than any fish. But, at the time, it hurts!!!