Share your story of the one that got away! We all have likely plenty of examples!
The one that got away
I'm out with my wife for a pontoon boat ride. We have a 24' boat. I'm trolling a deep diving crank bait. Suddenly there is line screaming from the rod. I'm spooled with 8 lb. test. I throw the shifter into neutral, grab the rod and hang on. Move to the front of the boat and it starts to do an about face. I cannot turn this fish around. He pulls my boat around for 45 minutes. Every time I gain some line he strips it back off. I was able to raise the fish twice. Once it was only 12' from the boat. Both times he was facing away from the boat, and I still could not turn this fish around. I don't even think he knew he was hooked. It was a giant flathead. The head was easily 16 inches wide. My wife is screaming "Oh , I'm glad we got the big net......Oh I'm glad we got the big net". This fish was well over 50 lbs. So he turns and goes for the deep water. I'm thinking " No problem. I'll just wear him down and get him in." The boat turns and out we go. My rod is totally bent over and line is coming off the reel. Then he stops, turns and heads straight for the shore. The boat turns again and we're in hot pursuit. He get's a burst of energy and line is stripping off like there is no drag at all. He heads right for a dock, wraps me around the dock pole and snaps me off. The residents were on their deck watching and and agreed that the biggest fish they have ever seen in our lake. Two years later I hook and land a 43 lb. blue cat, thanks to an equipment upgrade. That flathead probably outweighed the blue by 20 lbs. Pictured is the blue cat.
It's sometimes a combination of events that add up to failure. The arm of the down rigger bobbed for a while then bent down and released. The big king stripping out line more than once, slowly came to the back of the boat. Get the net ready, and my buddy with the big stomach and short arms just couldn't figure out how to get the fish in the net. I was excited too but on my next big pull to get the fish in range he jabbed at it with the net turning the fish and the hook flew out and we watched the big dorsal fin head out then disappear. Those are the fish that kind of haunt the dreams for a while after. I ragged at my buddy to "GET THE FISH IN THE BOAT!", but there was blame to spread around. My crunched up treble was a little flatter and had a tine bent out a ways. Big fish do that, but my rigger release was set way too tight at the time, which could have caused the hook to bend too. I bent the hook back back into shape, tossed it into the lake weeks later and a big rainbow bent a tine of the same hook, but it snapped this time and another big fish got away.
about 10 years ago a buddy and I were fishing Oregon dam on the rock river from shore. I go over by the little tunnel cove right by the ramp below the bait shop. kept throwing far into the tunnel shoot with a minnow, and WHAM! I had on what felt like the biggest fish ever in my life. 6lb. test was not gonna hold this beast. I played and finessed, but after about 10 seconds my line gave. everyone was clapping like I was a star. lol
Ice fishing this season. Flag goes up. Get to it pretty quickly. Slow slow spin. Set the hook, something heavy...then....feel nothing! Pull in the line. The sinking feeling....yup...no hook! No bite off either. This was on me. Didn't tie a great know at all as I see curled up line at the end of my fluorocarbon leader.
45 minutes later. Same hole. Flag goes up. Run over. Nothing going on. Suddenly, the tip up spindle just goes berserk! Within 5 seconds I'm almost spooled. Tip up bounced on the ice from the pressure. set the hook! Nothing but my hook comes back. Had 2 shiners on this hook. Both gone!
Same fish both times? I'll never know. My guess...an incidental musky was in the area and grabbed the line.