Share your story of the one that got away! We all have likely plenty of examples!
The one that got away
One common theme we all share-once you lose that big fish, it's really hard to keep fishing that day! The pain goes away, but not for a while!!!
My son wanted me to share this story, but it doesn't belong in the Halls of this thread. Anyways, carp fishing on Lac LaBelle in Oconomowoc about 20 years ago. Right below a dam that connects up to Fowler. Man, I can still smell that smell. A good smell of churning water. Anyways, we loved to shine for big carp and fish for them there. Had some corn on. Forgot to open the bail. Had a big Ugly Stick rod that was lying on the concrete block and then I saw it wiggle two or three times. Then, all of a sudden, it instantly rocketed in the air right into the water never to be seen again! I made a half hearted lunge, but there was no way I would have caught that thing. It bulleted into the water so fast, it was quite remarkable. Must have been a really nice fat La Belle carp!
To all who have posted..........WE FEEL YOUR PAIN !!!!
Okay, theirs been in a few. One stands out. Vacationing with a then a young family in the Hazelhurst area,renting a cabin on a lake void of walleye and musky.Decided to awake early and trailer boat to better waters. While on a class A lake a violent thunder storm kicks up. Quick dash back to the launch , in my haste must have hit the power door locks on the mini van. Van running, trailer in water, locked out! There is nothing around this launch(cell in vehicle) looking for a rock to break cheapest window when another fisherman shows up to launch. He cannot as i have it occupied. Using a planner board and another gadget able to get out of there. Decided to put boat in lake we had cabin rented on.First night found a deep weed edge, set up with slip bobbers and leaches.After catching a 23" and 17'' walleye hooked into a 14'' class bass. While half heartily reeling it in a sudden thump and a drag pulling force taking the bass to the bottom? My ugly stick and 8 pound line could not budge whatever latched onto that bass. I still wonder???
Back in the snagging days I was up on the golf course at Little River. I cast into a small sized pool and ripped into a big king. It leaped out of the water at least 3 or 4 feet high right in front of me. I could even see the hook in its back. I had a lot of experience in snagging and caught a lot of big ones but this one was WAY larger than any I had ever even seen. It looked like 48 inches. Splashed back down and gone. I will have that picture in my head till I die. I dont think I have ever seen another king that big, it was a freak. This was about 1977 or 78 when the kings grew to max size.
Bugle Trout's first post about losing the 30 lb. salmon got me thinking about my days fishing Lake Michigan tributaries for fall run salmon.
For about 8 years I would take one day each fall to fish salmon. One fish that I could have lost, should have lost, but eventually ended up catching was a king that measured a little over 43" and was in the low 30 lb range or so. During the battle, the fish stripped the teeth on the main brass drive gear of my Garcia 6500C. I could only gain line by jiggling my reel handle until I re-engaged good teeth, then crank 75% of a reel handle turn. The fish would pull out drag, I would barely make ground. This continued on for quite awhile, pulling me downstream through 7 pools and over 7 riffles. I eventually caught up to the fish, pulled it into shallow water, measured it, photographed it, and then released it. It was the most exhausting fish battle that I can remember. It truly was a fish that should have gotten away.
July 2019 - My daughter hooked a very large northern in excess of 40 inches on an Ontario fly-in casting a gold spoon. The fish was too big for the net, but I managed to scoop it into the bottom of small boat on the 3rd try. Unfortunately, the treble hooks got fouled in the net, and the pike, with one mighty tail slap managed to throw the hooks and launch itself completely over the side of the boat. It all happened in the blink of an eye. It was my daughters biggest fish ever and I would have loved to have captured the moment in a picture, but at least she, my wife and I have a memory to share for the rest of our lives.
Last spring. Sturgeon Lake, Ontario. I was vertical jigging next to the boat for walleye. I had 6 lb test, a plain jig and a minnow. Something grabbed the jig, bent my rod over and the line instantly broke. I didn't have him on the line for more than a second or two. I didn't see the fish. My cousin who was up front running the bow mount saw it and said, "if you would have seen what that was, you'd be really pissed". He estimated the pike at nearly 50". Said it was the biggest pike he'd ever seen.
I've had a couple over the years. Back in the 80s, a friend of my dad had a party at his place on Lake Geneva. Being the obsessed little angler I was, I spent the whole time fishing the pier and boat slips. I remember dropping a brown jig and twister tail down, feeling a little weight, and reeling up thinking I'd snagged some weeds. Wouldn't you know it, up comes a 8-10lb walleye. As soon as I saw it I yelled for help and it dove and broke my line.
Back in the late 90s I was on the Wolf River off Hwy 156 with a friend of mine. Labor Day weekend. First time on that stretch and just anchored up along the breakwall just north of the road. I had a spinner rig and crawler on a bottom bouncer hanging out behind the boat and noticed the rod tip bounce ever so slightly. I picked up the rod and set the hook and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ went the reel! First down river, then across, then up river....Still no idea what it was. It came right under the boat and I couldn't even budge it. Went back down river and by this point a guy and his son who were on shore were walking by and from their elevated location could see that it was a northern "well over 40 inches" he told me. Not long after, it surfaced, gave one shake and the whole rig came flying back at me. Talk about a string of expletives lol!
Back in the early '70s, my Dad younger brother and I would spend two weeks on the Big Chip fishing. We were mainly Bass fisherman in those days and were just getting started musky fishing. Back then Bruce Tasker who was a big musky guide on the Chip used to bring in 30 pound fish at 11:00 at night and lay them on the bar floor at Herman's Landing. This got us interested in trying night fishing. So the next few nights we went out at 10:00 and only fished until midnight. One night we were straight out from Herman's fishing Fleming's Bar. It was a calm night and we were all throwing surface baits. My brother was in the front of the boat, and all you could hear was our baits chugging through the water. Back then figure eighting your bait wasn't mentioned much if at all. All of a sudden, it sounded like my brother did a cannon ball off the front of the boat! Apparently he had a follow by a huge fish and didn't know it, and when he lifted the bait out of the water a huge fish took a swipe at it and missed! That had all three of us shaking and we thought maybe night fishing isn't for us.
I've been fortunate to have caught many large WI muskies and walleyes over the years. I also enjoy taking people out musky fishing who have never experienced catching a large fish (not guiding...just as a friend). To go with that there are way too many stories of lost fish (broken lures, broken line, broken rods, straightened hooks, muffed net jobs, etc)....but here are just a couple.
1997 - I had a friend from work in the boat with me one day. He had never fished for muskies before, let alone fished with a bait caster. The day before we went fishing I got him comfortable with the bait caster, how to cast, and how to properly retrieve the crankbait I was going to have him fish with. One item I stressed was if you ever don't feel the resistance of the lure, you need to set the hook immediately (re: the biggest fish often overtake the bait and you miss them before you even knew they were on). Fast forward to the next day. About 30 minutes into our day, my friend states "hey my crankbait isn't wobbling right anymore". I said "let me look at it". When he lifted it out of the lake, there were 3 streams of water coming out of the crankbait. 2 near the tail and 1 toward the head....the hollow bait was completely flooded. I quickly measured the bite marks at just over 4.5" wide. I showed him the damage and informed him sometime in the last several minutes you had a 30 lb+ musky grab your crankbait and he punctured it. For comparison purposes my 53" musky mount (12" long head) has a lower jaw bite width (tooth point to tooth point)of 4.5" and my 57" musky mount (13" long head) has a bite width at 5".
1998 - I was fishing with a friend in an area where I had caught several large fish before. I was fishing with a special modified crankbait of mine. After the initial 4 cranks of the reel handle and twitch, my lure disappeared (no weight). I instantly set the hooks and my rod bent over like I set hooks into my house foundation. There was no give at all and the fish pulled 3 short drag bursts off my reel (zip, zip, zip). 5 seconds later there was no weight and I picked up the retrieve again....feeling the thump, thump of the "crankbait". WTH happened! As I got the lure back to the boat...horror. All I had left was the metal diving lip and a chunk of the crankbait's head. This fish was just that big that it completely bit through and broke the solid bodied lure (not a hollow lure). A few minutes later a very large musky was on the surface about 15 yards upwind of the boat trying to throw the remainder of the crankbait.