Share your story of the one that got away! We all have likely plenty of examples!
The one that got away
Ne Bab. My buddies wife did the same thing on little st. Germaine with a BIG walleye only the cig was between her fingers! CARPIO
Late-90's. Lake Michigan. My buddy and I were out in my first boat trolling for salmon. Downrigger trips and the reel starts screaming. Still screaming, still screaming. We decide that as the spool is quickly emptying, we'd better start pulling lines so we could chase this fish. We get everything out of the water and turn. I start gaining some line back while my buddy is driving the boat. Somehow this fish manages to avoid other boat's spreads and the chase carries on. We finally get it played out and stop the boat. We can see the fish at this point and it was a king all of 30 lbs. It still had some fight and I gently played her to the side of the boat. My buddy goes to net it and it dives under the boat. It manages to find the only thing still in the water, the lower unit and uses it to cut the line. I slammed the rod on the floor of the boat and sat with my head in hands. My buddy managed to net the j-plug minus the hook harness. I didn't feel like fishing anymore and drove back to the marina. That was the biggest salmon of my life. I haven't even caught one that big in Alaska.
Story about my old man and the monster walleye.
We were fishing in Ontario, Canada many years ago. Dad was in a boat with his brother. I was in another boat with my cousin, fishing about 50-100 yards away.
We are on the walleyes really good at this time. One after another. It is the middle of the day, water is pretty dark in color.
Dad starts fighting what appears to be a very big fish. No musky in this lake, but there are some lakers and large pike. He's fought this fish for about 5 minutes now. Rod bent in half. Boat is being dragged around our area.
He gets a little closer to us, so I move us closer to him. Can't really see anything.
After about 8-10 minutes, which seemed like an eternity, there is a splash on the water, net goes into the water and comes back with a 12 inch walleye.
Dad sits down in disbelief. Says he lost he biggest walleye he's ever seen, even on a wall. Says it was 36 inches if it was an inch. Now...Dad's caught a lot of muskies in his life. Most in that 34-40 inch range. He knows full well what 36 inches looks like in the water.
I asked him what happened. He said he felt a huge fish on right away, not this little 12 incher. Our best guess is that the 12 incher at his jig and minnow, then got inhaled by the huge walleye. He said he never saw the small fish in the walleyes mouth, it was completely inhaled. When it got off, he said it opened it's mouth and simply spit out the little walleye. We looked at the little walleye on his rod, couple scrapes in it, but it wasn't manged and it released healthy and full of life.
I never saw that fish, but I have faith that dad knew the size. After that I started to troll some larger rapalas on the bottom with some weights on the line. Those larger profile baits selected walleyes in the 22-27 inch range. Our jigs and minnows were too small and we were only catching 12-17 inch eyes.
Every year we'd go back I'd make sure to bring larger rigs for those fish. We've done well on that system for bigger walleyes, but we haven't broken 30 inches up there.
These stories are awesome guys. Keep it up!
My father, nephew, and I were trolling for walleyes on the St. Louis River one day in June, many years ago. Bottom bouncers, crawler harnesses. Dad gets a hit, sets the hook. Moderate bend to his rod, he gives us the estimate "fairly nice......better have the net ready." My nephew reels in his line and picks up the net - back then we were new to fishing the St. Louis, we were used to catching "eater" walleyes, so the net was only about 24" at the widest. To us, "fairly nice" walleyes began at 20".
Suddenly, Dad's rod completely doubled over, drag began screaming. At first we speculated that he got snagged as the boat kept moving - we hadn't stopped the trolling motor, but then his line arced off to the side, and we could see the rod pumping as the fish powered away from the boat. It made a few runs, Dad kept his cool and played it for several minutes. Finally, he started gaining some line back.
Anyone who's fished the St. Louis knows the water clarity is like really strong tea. His bottom bouncer appeared above the water's surface and we still couldn't see the fish, 3 feet below it. Then the fish turned 90 degrees to make another run and came up to the top. What first appeared to be a hammer head shark was a muskie with a walleye clamped in its jaws. It made a couple more runs and Dad was able to bring it to the side of the boat. I've caught a couple northern over 40" in my life, and this fish made them look small. My nephew looked at the muskie, then at the net. "What do you want me to do?"
We had no intention of keeping it but it was picture-worthy. My nephew took a swipe at it, getting the head in the net and not much more before it bottomed out. Over half the fish was still outside the net. It thrashed, somehow the hooks from the crawler harness didn't get caught in the net, and the muskie made one more run. Dad brought it back to the side, my nephew made one more ineffective swipe at it, and it finally had enough and spit out the walleye.
The walleye ended up being 19", with a pair of slashes from the muskie's teeth on each side. Back at camp, we set a dollar bill down between the teeth marks, with about half an inch of space on each side.
I have lost a lot of big fish, but none in spectacular fashion. they always just shook loose probably from over playing them. That is why I kind of horse fish in now, need to trust gear.
Opening day three years ago I had a pike completely engulf a spinner bait from behind. It hung up on weed and I popped it loose when I saw fish following. Bit bait clean off five feet from boat, was in that gator size range. That was cool to see.
Last year I had a musky take a 15” smallie. I was fighting fish and it did complete 180 in direction it was swimming before I saw ski.
The wife and I were fishing Lake Hancock one day, and the wind was non-existent. We decided to go around to a spot that is always windy and give it a try. It wasn’t 10 minutes later, and my wife had a gigantic walleye(could have been close to 30”) on her pan fish rig. I got the net ready and waiting for her to get fish close enough. As soon as the fish surfaced, it went 90 degrees and easily snapped her line. I heard about this being my fault for 2 or 3 years! Then last year on pan fish rig, on our lake, I tied into the biggest smallie I’ve ever seen. She got the net, and was unable to get the beast before it broke the line. She doesn’t bring up the walleye story anymore. It stinks losing both of them monsters, but I don’t have to hear about losing her walleye anymore.
One night I was fishing the harbor in Port Washington. The browns and kings were running. I was casting around a #9 chartuse Shad Rap and doing pretty good too. Caught a couple kings. Anyways I was hooked up and fighting one and smoking a Marlboro. I was also explaining to one of my new to fishing friends how to pump the rod and get line back. Well that fish's first run ends so tried to pump some line in. Soon as I did I brought the rod too close to my ugly face and that Malboro popped and burned through that 15lb mono. "That's that!", i said. But I could feel my face flush and Im pretty sure I was red as a tomato with embarrassment.
Was on the WI river with my (then) girlfriend. Fishing flatheads. The clicker on my heaviest rod starts singing. I set the hook with this pool cue and 100lb braid and it heads downriver and i couldnt slow it down. We pull anchors to chase it and it. Made it to a log jam and got me hung up. I have caught a 45 lb flathead and it felt like a minnow compared to this fish. Was on a 10" semi alive sheephead. Probably a giant sturgeon. Will never know....
Im crappie fishing my buddy is throwing a beetle spin. He gets a hit and the line starts peeling out ,15 pound spider wire. Fish does a lateral run. I already guessed what it was. Goes about a hundred feet, leaps out of the water about five feet. Its a muskie. We are in a canoe, no net. wind blowing. OK we are going to beach it. He gets it to the side of the canoe and I paddle in backwards. We can tell how big it is , because the seats are four feet apart, and it was longer than that.It is lip hooked and we backed in to a bulrush weedy shoreline, so there are weeds out past the front where he is holding it next to the canoe. Its all settled down but not played out. We are just looking at it and how huge it is. I stand up to get on shore and, it explodes from seeing me stand up. To this day, I think it did that because I stood up too quickly and scared it. Biggest freshwater fish I have ever seen beside a sturgeon. Sawyer county