Thursday, November 5, 2009

The One That Didn't Get Away

I don't remember my age and some of the details are a little fuzzy but here is the story of the largest bass I have ever caught close to 20 years ago.

It was summer and I was wanting to practice on some fly fishing for our family vacation in Colorado at the end of summer. There was a set of sandpits about a mile from our house. It was just a phone call for permission and a short bike ride down the road and I would be fishing. I had been down there numerous times as I never have been able to fish enough.

I either had a mosquito pattern or a elk hair caddis tied on. I almost always fly fish with one of those 2 patterns for bluegill. I remember casting for bluegill then pulling my line in to entice a strike. As I was pulling in the line I noticed a fish rise to a dragonfly about 20 feet off shore. The water neer the bank was perfectly calm. Towards the middle of the sandpit there was a ripple from the slight breeze we had that afternoon. The fish had risen right where the water went from calm to ripple.

Instantly I pulled the rod up and began whipping the fly back and forth and landed the fly in the exact spot the fish had risen. Almost instantly the fly was engulfed and I pulled up on the rod tip. The fight of a lifetime was on.

I let the fish run while putting a little pressure on the spool. Not too much since I only had 2 pound tippet and didn't want to break the line. I would reel her in a little then she would go on one of her long runs. My heart was beating hard the whole time. The world slowed down around me and for about 20 minutes I battled the fish. She jumped clean out of the water a couple times. I wondered how I would ever get that big of fish into shore without breaking the line. I wanted that fish more than I had ever wanted anything before. If I lost her it would be devestating.

Finally I got her close to shore where she wrapped up in some moss. I didn't even hesitate to go in after her. I slid one hand under her belly and reached in her mouth with the other. I had her on shore. There was nobody else around to witness the beauty of the catch. I couldn't just release her. I had to get a picture. I quickly found some strong fishing line on the shore and made a stringer so I could leave her in the water while I rode home to get a bucket.

I rode the bike as fast as it would go up hill all the way to the house. I ran inside and breathlessly asked Mom to get the camera ready and tried to tell her the whole story in 3 seconds while I was back out the door. I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket out of the garage and rushed back to the sandpit.

I filled the bucket with water and put the fish in it headfirst. The fish was so big the tail stuck out the top of the bucket. I rode home quickly again. Mom was outside with a camera. We took a couple of pictures then I grabbed the deliar out of my tackle box and weighed it. It went 7 1/2 pounds.

I took it back down to the sandpit and turned it loose. I made sure to hold it by the tail and move it back and forth in the water until it swam off on its own.

I still don't know how I ever got that fish in with 2 pound tippet. I don't remember much else about that day but I do know I had a smile on my face the rest of the day. Even now, anytime I think back about that day, I get a proud smile on my face.

No comments:

Post a Comment