Fighting a big one, most of us have had those moments that you will never forget. These moments don’t always contain victories but are memorable nonetheless.
I’ll bet many of us have had the exact circumstance that is the core of this story. Some things might not make us proud, but they sure bring a smile to our face when we recall the moment when the rod bends under the weight of a monster strike.
For the past 48 years, my main fishing partner has been my wife. We have fished many local waters as we have moved around the country. One of our all time favorite haunts are the clear waters of eastern Ontario. For many years, we have been bass fishermen with a particular preference for smallmouth. Fishing in Ontario also means an angler just might tie into one of those toothy critters at any time.
While vacationing at K/O Lodge near Deep River, Ontario, we were fishing on an electric only private lake. We were in a back cove area enjoying a day of fishing and just admiring the nature we were experiencing. The wife was sitting in the rear of the boat with a lure in the water. She was just taking it easy and really wasn’t fishing just sitting and enjoying the day. All of a sudden, I heard her say “OH NO!” I immediately turned to look and a very large, I mean humungous, northern pike snatched the lure and took off. The fight was now on. Unfortunately, the fish hit the lure right at the boat and not much line was out. The fight only lasted a couple of seconds and ended with a resounding splash right next to the boat. The fish broke the line and still had the bait in its mouth as it slowly swam away alongside the boat. I guess it was kind of a victory lap on his part. It was a truly exciting and heart stopping moment. We both remember the event that happened over 35 years ago.
More recently we were fishing at Santee Cooper Reservoir. This lake is known for its large bass and attracts a lot of tournament fisherman. These lakes also contain super huge catfish and striped bass as well. Aside from the gators, the catfish are the largest of them all. It is not uncommon to see folks with catfish greater than 40 lbs and some boast catfish twice that size, but I have never seen one. What this means is, from time to time you just may hook into one of these whiskery monsters. When you are rigged for bass this can represent a real problem and just getting a fish like that to move is a real chore.
On a particularly quiet day, we were just drifting down a creek channel making casts and not having a lot of success. All of a sudden the wife proclaims that she has a fish on and called for the net. I immediately put my rod down and got the net and headed to the rear of the boat where she was in the throws of a battle with something big. I mean the rod tip was jumping all over the place. Her effort to move whatever was hooked up was futile and was only overworking the drag as she reeled for all she was worth. Then I noticed we were drifting with the current and made me think that she might not have a fish. As the wife tires, she asks me to take her rod and land this monster she has been fighting. I took her rod and swapped places with her on the back deck. I shortly realized she had not hooked a fish but one of those infamous Santee stumps. We both started laughing while I finally was able to get her rattle trap free of the stump. Although it was a bit of a disappointment and a slight embarrassment for the wife, it was exciting and the source of many stories with our friends. I have since let her know that anyone who fishes has done battle with a stump thinking they had just hooked Moby Dick. I let her know in that situation she did the right thing and should not be too embarrassed.
FISH ON !