Posted In General
SAFC Pro Staff - Dan February 2nd, 2016
I was chatting with a friend of mine recently about a trip he’d taken to Costa Rica over the holidays. It was a last minute trip for him and his wife, but he managed to sneak his fishing rod into their luggage, you know, just in case. On one of his first days, he noticed a shadow cruising the shoreline and ran for his rod. A few casts in, he hooked the shadow and played it for a solid 15 minutes, even getting to within 10 or so feet of being landed, when the shadow suddenly spat the hook and disappeared into the ocean.
It got me thinking about the ones that I’ve lost over the years. I’ve always been fairly lucky when it comes to ocean fishing, I can’t think of any monsters of the deep that I’ve fought and lost, but when I think about my personal fishing stories my mind always drifts back to a large northern pike I’ve been fortunate enough to fish for, and lose, over the years. One particular fish always comes to mind.
The last few years I’ve been lucky enough to make it to a fly-in fishing camp in northern Canada and I’ve always fished one particular area of this lake on the last day of fishing. The first time I met this fish, my reel started screaming and, after a few minutes of struggling to keep with it and furiously reeling in any slack line that I could, the pike dove under a log and snapped the line. I talked about that fish constantly for the next year. How could I not? It was the single biggest fish I’d ever hooked into in freshwater and, of course, I knew that without ever having set eyes on the fish. Fast forward a year and, once again, on the last day of fishing I was able to get back to that same spot and try again. Sure enough, after few minutes of trolling around, I hooked into that fish again—okay, realistically, I know it’s not the same fish, but it’s always the same fish when you’re telling fish stories, that’s how Walters, and other legendary fish, get their start.
This time around it was different. The first fought hard and ran like it was running the 100 meter dash against Usain Bolt, but not only did I manage to lay eyes on this fish, but I also managed to get it into a net that was ridiculously too small for this fish. Now, there is no way to talk about this fish without exaggerating. It’s hard not to when your pumped up on adrenaline from the fight and from getting the fish into a net, and, of course, I was also alone. However, this pike was easily 40 inches long and, judging from the scars and battle marks on its back, it had been defending its territory in that lake for a very long time.
Just as I was getting ready to make another attempt at getting the fish into the net, it flipped its tail and disappeared like a rocket into the murky depths (just in time, too. Pike are capable of hitting speeds approaching 7 meters per second when they’re in escape mode. Had I had the head of that pike in the net, I would have joined that fish in the water). The best part about meeting the one that gets away, besides the stories, are the lessons learned. Every time I hook into, and lose, this giant pike, I learn from my mistakes. Next year, I’m taking a bigger net.
Now that I’ve told you my story, tell me yours. Leave a comment below and tell us the story of your one that got away. Maybe you lost a giant tuna right by the boat or the biggest tarpon of your life was on the line just long enough to launch itself out of the water, creating a memory you’ll never forget, or, even better, it starts an obsession that fuels your dreams. Whatever the case may be, we want to hear your story!
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