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Sympathy Please: What Lost Fish Hurt You The Most?

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June 12, 2012

Sympathy Please: What Lost Fish Hurt You The Most?

By Joe Cermele

The photo below was taken at about 2:45 p.m. this past Sunday. If you want to know why the horizon is all wonky and there's half a finger in the shot, it's because it was snapped with a cell phone hastily during the utter chaos that ensues when a mako shark is on the line. In this particular instance, it was a 150-pound mako that inhaled a bluefish strip not 20 yards behind my boat, giving us three incredible jumps before sounding. So what's the big deal? I'll tell you.

For starters, we were hunting thresher sharks and black tips a mere 15 miles from land. It's a fun summer time catch-and-release game that's great when you want a bigger tug than a flounder's. But the chances of a large mako ending up in the spot we were fishing, while not impossible, are extremely rare. The fish caught me and the crew completely off guard. More importantly, it was the first mako ever hooked on my boat. Though my single-engine outboard can get me 30 miles off on a calm day, for the most part, makos are out of my range.

So there we were, frantically clearing the deck and working the engine to manuever the fish. Though I don't often kill sharks, this mako was special, and we decided to take it. Within 10 minutes I had it boatside, but the flying gaff bounced off when we took a stab and it dove again. Swing and a miss. For the next half-hour I worked the shark back to the surface and just as we got it boatside again, within two feet of the gaff, it shot backwards, shook its head and bit through the leader. Twenty minutes after that photo was taken, my smile turned to a frown.

Though I've lost thousands of great fish in my life, none has ever stung quite as much as this one. It's been two days and my stomach is still in a knot. I know I'm not the only one to feel this pain, so let's hear your best (or worst) fish loss story. I need some cheering up.

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from -Bob wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I once hooked an enormous palomino (enormous = 8-10 pounder) on ultralite tackle while fishing the Pine Creek Gorge in northcentral PA. The whole battle took place just downstream of an arch bridge, where maybe 20 guys had congregated to watch.

My best friend bumped him off with the net.

So – not only did I lose the fish of a lifetime, I also had my own live studio audience. It was a long, quiet ride home…

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from dtbc333 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

My worst was what would have been my personal biggest largemouth bass. Was fishing off a little jon boat with a buddy along a rock dam when it slammed a zoom trick worm on a shakey head. The lake we were on has really thick weeds, and i was immediately worried she was going to get deep in there and maybe spit the hook. All was going well and she was staying high up out of the weeds, and after a jump I got a good look and was able to tell it was without a doubt my personal best. Approx 5 minutes later I had it just up to the boat, was holding my rod in one hand, reaching down to lip the fish(didn't have a net) with the other when the fish turned, shook it's head and the hook popped out. Gone in a flash. Still hurts a little to think about. Not sure what it would have gone on the scale, but I'd guess a little over 7. (I know, not too big in many parts of the country, but our state record is only 11-6)

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from Micropterus24 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I was casting big jerkbaits for muskies in northern Wisconsin. We hadn't gotten as much as a follow in three days when I get a huge blow up in the reeds, had him on for maybe 2 seconds and he shook it, but left me with some nice teeth marks in the side of my grandma lure as a reminder.

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from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

This isn't nearly as bad as loosing your mako, but hopefully it will brighten your day a bit. Near the end a summer a few years ago I hooked into a nice sized smallie on this little creek that you can almost jump across in places. When I got her in to me and I can feel my line snap, but I see the line moving up my guides (it broke down at the reel) and I drop the rod, jump out and snatch the end of the line out of mid air (no sh**). So I back up on shore and hand line the fish up on the bank. It was our best smallie of the year by far, probably 4.5 lbs. Since I dragged it through the rocks and I wasn't sure about keeping/releasing yet I wanted to get the dirt and rocks off her so I very very firmly grabbed the lip with BOTH hands, took her back in the water and I think you can guess at the rest of the story. Nowadays I have a net!

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I just had this conversation with my father in law Saturday night after losing a fish. "You've fished with me for years and have seen me lose fish that had YOU upset, but I've always been of the 'That was an awesome bite which got my adrenaline pumping' and 'hey, that's part of fishing' view, but I think a trout just broke my heart and I might not bounce back."
This past Saturday at about 8:30PM at Lackawanna State Park, while back-trolling a deep diving yellow perch patterned Rapala from my very basic and cheap kayak, a rainbow trout of a size that is such a fish story that I won't even in float it out there hammered the lure. I fought it on gear terribly unsuited to the task for over a minute, a good portion of which the fish was on the same plane as my eyes. I knew right from go that I had a problem and that the telescoping rod that seemed like a great idea while fishing from a tiny cramped boat clearly didn't have the backbone to keep tension on this beautiful giant of a fish that was alternating between going skyward and running at me. I lost it when it leapt directly at me less than 20' from my little 'yak. I'd be hard pressed to remember another time when I shouted some inarticulate cry of dismay at the heavens while more than 150 yards from the nearest person. I laid back and stared at the stars which were just becoming visible for a moment. I then trolled that portion of the lake until full dark knowing that God is rarely so kind as to give those kind of second chances.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

A whole lot easier to tell the whopper story about the big one that got away, then if you land it. Fish appear bigger in the water than in the net out of the water.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Just typed a story worthy of a Pulitzer only to have the Spam Gremlins take it away. This is a test post.

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from Joe_Cermele wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Sayfu, I know a 150-pound shark when I see it. Come East some time and we'll take you out. We've got swim fins and a mask for you, too. You can jump in and tell me how much bigger they look in the water than out of it : )

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Sayfu,
1- I'm not going to hurl names, so I'll leave it at: That hurts.
2- That's why you never tell people you're a fisherman when you want to earn their trust. It's not deemed quite as bad as a used car salesman, but still considered a special sort of liar by many.
3- Of course the "one that got away" stories are the best. The one's you landed you have pictures and everyone says "wow, that guy got lucky."

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from CL3 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

jcarlin: I may be able to corroborate your story; I was shore-fishing the Bullhead Bay boat launch area at LSP this past Sunday morning. The lake was very calm. I saw some "wake" out a bit and thought it was very odd. I had my binocs with me and I look and I swear it was a huge fish, I thought muskie at the time. it was BIG, and I was a ways away. maybe it was this monster rainbow you speak of?!

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from Pacific Hunter wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

So this fish has haunted me for years. I was a youngster, maybe 8-10, and we were out fishing for salmon in the Ocean with my grandpa, a neighbor, and my dad. We were a coho short of a limit and were trolling our way back toward the jetty when all of a sudden the downrigger rod slammed. I fought this fish for what seemed like and eternity with friends and family cheering me on. I remember my arms were nearly numb from the fight and my dad asked if I needed help but this was the biggest fish of my life, I wasn't going to give up. Finally I got him to the side of the boat and I slowly backed up bringing the fish in perfectly, head just below the surface. The family friend went to net the behemouth Chinook and got the tail but the head was still out of the net and the fish was too long to fit it. Anybody who has tried to net a big fish tail first can guess what happened. I literally watched as this fish headed for the deep and could not control it. I cried like the kid I was for a good fifteen minutes. 20 years later if feels like it was just yesterday. Since that time I have literally landed thousands of Chinook and I guarantee he would have been tickling 50 lbs, at least that's my story and I am sticking too it.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Joe, No shark wants to mess with me. My hands are registered lethal weapons. The last fight I lost to a shark I woke up in a cold sweat! No thanks, I will decline the invitation. I prefer the spotted trout types in my freshwater rivers. But I did hurt my back trying to lift the picture of a whopper I caught the other day.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

CL3,
I appreciate that, but there's a lot going on in that lake. I would be suprised by nothing. I just mentioned to the wife that we haven't gone up there to camp in years and I have no idea why we stopped. Beatiful park, nicec shadyc spacious campsites, and a lively lake.

Couple of years ago fishing along the shore opposite of bullhead bay towards the Creek (Kennedy on the park map)my daughter was pulling in a frantically struggling bluegill when a musky took a run at it. Wasn't particularly large for a musky, but when that white torpedo came boiling by the look on my daughter's face was priceless.
At one point Saturday evening I saw an odd wake moving along at a fast jog in the middle of the south portion of the lake and paddled over to investigate. Followed a muskrat across the open water for about 5 minutes at a jog pace.
I was fishing at the boat launch just to the south of the 407 bridge mid-day on Saturday with my 4 and 9 year olds when a little girl of maybe 7 caught an 18" rainbow which went home with her. I took the picture for them with her dad's cell phone and saw him measure it.

I saw while paddling the shallows more overall mass of good sized panfish with some really nice bass mixed in than I could credit. You could tell me you pulled nearly anything out of that lake and I'd believe you. And if it's a rainbow in the 2' range, please post the pictures to this site, because I need to see it and know.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

CL3,

Since one good turn deserves another, my "fish story" encounter occurred about directly in the center of the main body of the lake, a little to the right if you're looking from the pool. I have caught nice sized fish on the north side of the lake as well, but as the light was failing there were some large swells and ripples happening in that area beyond that one great strike. If you know that lake and live nearby I hope you appreciate it. Its a 2 hour drive and a camping trip for me.

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from Noah Gates wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Lost the biggest pike i (would have) ever caught(not that huge;). I thought my fly was stuck in weeds, so i started horsing it in, then the rod doubled over, the fish jumped and spit the fly. My dad's bud from maine wanted to see a nasty Vermont northern, but failed to even show him a perch. ah well, i'll get him this year!!

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Ausable River, fishing with Dad and younger sister, between Cook & Foot Dam. No luck the whole day sun falling behind the trees and Dad says," Lets troll back to camp " any time on the water can be good. Experimental combo time, I tied on my older sisters Cotton Cordell Magnum perch BIG-O and as they say big bait big fish and add 9" MANN black jelly worm to the last treble. Dad said get'em in the water and away we went straight across the river, not 10min into the troll I'm hooked up, Dad wants to know if i'm fast up(snagged) I say this is all fish. Couple minutes and the biggest Walleye of my life is along side our boat I'm 10 or 11 yrs old Dad says,"hand me that rod" yeah, dad got the rod and the fish makes a run under the boat and cuts the line...little Sis my biggest fan sees her brothers back the rest of the trip home. She remembers it like I do and we both love dad so, its really a good memory as those were are best years with him & Sis. Years later, same water, Dad with his friend & I, I hook a small pike and Dad says,"hand me that rod" he gets the rod and I lean over and touch that line with the smoke I had lit and cut that fish off, we laugh ourselves to tears and he says," we even ?" his friend Bob never understood that inside joke. Miss ya Dad

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Inflatable Raft $249.99

Fishing gear $$$$ who's counting...

Gas to location $136.00

Packing in to remote lake with my loaded pack frame (about 5 miles) $10,000 calories.

Once on location it was getting close to dusk, and before I even set camp, I decided to take a quick trip out into the water. Only to find that I've forgot to bring my air pump. So I huffed and I puffed and almost passed out as my lungs screamed at me to get that raft inflated. After what seemed like an eternity I got the raft inflated and cursed why I decided on getting such a large raft for just one person. After a few minutes to regain my composure I grabbed my rod, my tackle box, a bottle of water and a quick snack to take to the water. At the time I was sure I was forgetting something, but couldn't put my finger on it. Decided it must be the high altitude and the workout that I'd just performed. So I launch the raft and paddle out into to around the center of the lake. I affixed a Mepps dressed Aglia, and give it a try. About the third cast it feels like jaws has just taken my lure. After myself and my raft are cruising at about 10 knots I realized I might have a little trouble with this fish. After a lengthy battle with this fish I'm getting it up next to the raft and get my first good look. It was a behemoth rainbow. Reaching for my net I realized just what it was I had forgotten(not that it was even on par to handle a fish of this size). So I reach into the water and grab the fish by the lips and yard him into the raft. Bad idea. Fish went ballistic once in the raft. Under normal circumstances this might have worked, but the fish which had two out of three hooks in its lower lip, had managed to bend them to a 90 degree bend. Which also protruded out of its lip. Well this rainbow proceed like a state of the art sewing machine to poke a thousand little holes all over my raft. So quickly thinking I re-yarded the fish back into the water. I then quickly started paddling to shore. Once I got within about 20 feet of the shore the fish would take me back out into the lake. Probably would have been funny to watch, as the fish drug me back into the lake despite my best efforts to paddle to shore. On my third attempts to reach land the line went slack. I reeled in the line to find that the two hooks on the treble had broken. I guess it might have been good timing though, because my raft was literally sinking as I made it to land.

I made camp, spent the night, and then fished from shore the next day and caught a couple of mid sized rainbows. After I made it back home I measured just about how long the fish was and when I had it in my raft. (it was somewhere close to 30 inches)

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from Proverbs wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Relax, Sayfu. The one thing in F&S fishing blogs bigger than 'the one that got away' are the egos, Mr. Merwin being excluded.

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from buckfan125 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

One day I was creek fishing with my dad, when I got a monster bite from a fish. I was a little deeper than my waste in the water fighting a monster Smallmouth. It was so big that I actually thought it was a carp! I was fighting the fish and trying to back up towards the bank at the same. When the fish was only a foot or so in front of me, it threw the hook. I would estimate it was 21"+ and around 4 pounds. A monster in any small creek!

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from CL3 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

jcarlin: good stuff. I know all of the spots you talk about. I'm there almost every weekend because I'm lucky and it's 10 minutes from my house...! And you are right, the lake has at least one of each species of fish found in PA!

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

It was either the last week of July or the first of August on the Yellow Stone river. Hopper season was just starting to get good and we were catching numbers with some really good fish mixed in. Day two of our float trip and I had been manning the oars for the majority of the trip. It was my boat and I love putting my buddies on good fish so I was happy to do it. Well after watching my friends Tbone and Bob catch a few I decided I wanted in on the action as well. I asked if anyone would row. Bob, bless his soul, volunteered for the job. Now Bob is a good fisherman and is often invited to go on float trips with us however he has very little experience rowing. The few times he had rowed on past trips i think we would have been better of if i just took to oars from him and designated him to beer duty. But I felt like it was time he started to pull his weight. So with me in the bow giving instructions he starts to get the hang of it. He got us into pretty good position on river left and we start to fish. We are floating along and I make a long cast tight to the bank. My hopper is floating perfect right on a seem close to some boulders. All is calm and then my hopper just gets inhaled by a monster Brown. Ive caught quite a few big trout but this was easily the biggest and by biggest i estimate over 26". Tough to tell for sure but I got a pretty good look when it rolled after I set the hook. So its game on! The fish was swimming up stream we were heading down and I needed Bob to get the nose to face the bank on the left. "Back left Bob" the boat was turning right "Bob, pull back on your left Oar" He started pusing with the left. "Bob, Damnit, turn the nose to the bank" He paniced even more and was flailing like a fish out of water. Well at this point the stern was facing left shore the fish had taken out a bunch of line which was now being drug under the boat. My rod was bent in a U tip in the water and then it wasnt bent anymore. The fish of a lifetime was gone, never to be seen again. When the fish got off everyone was silent. No one said anything for what seemed an eternity. I finaly sighed loudly and started whispering "its ok. Everything is ok.. Bob its not your fault" Haha and then i yelled lots of four letter words as loud as I could. Bob was still silent. I finally turned around to give Bob the death stare. He was defensively holding my guide net. He said really softly "Dude, I'm so" Before he could finish I simply said "SHHHHHHHHHHHH' and turned back around. We can laugh about it now but it was very tense for the rest of the float.

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from jdwood wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Like DTB, my worst experience losing a fish was with what would have easily been my largest largemouth in Mass. It would have been in the 7-9lb range. I hooked it on a Strike King Mini King, it was my favorite lure. I was fishing with an old rod a neighbor had given me that he picked up in an estate sale. I was only fishing 8lb test and in a fairly weedy lake. My one downfall was I used to keep my drag cranked down to the max. Well I hooked into this beast right next to a small patch of lily pads. It ran right at me at first, so I'm winding it in saying fish on its just a little guy. Well I just about got that out of my mouth as the fish kept moving past our old wooden skiff and spun the boat a bit. I battled with it for a couple minutes and it gave three terrific leaps in the evening sunset and made a run for deeper water... and thats when it happened. The loudest piercing ping that will ever be etched in my memory as that line parted ways and I watched the end of my line go limp. Quite a few exclamations came out after that one.

Then to boot a week later I let the drag out too loose to not risk breaking another one off and lost a 4-5lb bass in the brush on the shoreline.

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from jbell6826 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

My dad hooked onto a 48" Muskie in Canada. He reeled it in all the way to the boat only to have my cousin knock the lure out of his mouth with the net. Thats his story.

Mine, I had a really nice three pound trout on my line. It was running down stream from me, right about to where my brother in law was fishing. Seeing this my he tells me, " Nice fish, I'll get em for you". Figuring he was going to at least use the net, I said sure, go for it. My brother in law reaches in with his hands and grabs my trout out of the river. Well of course the trout flops once or twice in his arms, kicks the lure out of his mouth and my brother in law drops the trout and proceeds to watche as it swims away. He looks back at me with his hands outward and just laughs. That hurt a little bit.

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from sgtsly wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

So years ago at my brother's place in Key Largo I lost my favorite rod and reel combo that I'd had for years and was my first rod and reel purchase at the PX at Fort Campbell. Not a lost fish and it was probably a manatee, swam into the rig and snatched it off the sea wall and headed west. So I'm never going to let that happen again. So I'm carp fishing Lake Allegan with my brother-in-law Memorial Day weekend and my oldest and dearest outfit is now at the bottom of the lake or the Kalamazoo River. New rod holders and tethers are now a permanent addition to my carp bag.

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from rdorman wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

hooked into a large black tip(100lbs give or take) while fishing for redfish...it was airial 75% of the time...jumping out of the air and charging the boat lol, we thought it was gonna jump right in...it then turned and did a couple of spiral jumps and bit through my leader(fluro...no wire for redfish...)

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from Trapper Vic wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

This one didn't necessarily get away and I really didn't catch it. My dad, the guide and I were fishing in an outpost lake not far from lake manitou in northern canada. We were trolling for waleye in this beautiful dark bottom but clear lake. At one poin we entered a bay and the guide seemed alarmed that we were not getting any hits. I recall him saying that there is probably a large northern keeping the walleye away. about that time I hooked what i thought was a perch or an under-limit walleye. after about 30 sec bam the line tightened as if hung up, realing in again, bam something hits the spinner again. The guide sitign in the rear near the motor told me not to bring the bait in just lift it out of the water as far out as possible. When I did this a huge northern came out of the water from under the boat. The guide was ready and netted that sucker. This was not your usual green northen but had a beautiful golden color I was going to mount him, 40 inches of awsome fish. We stop for shore lunch cleaned the walleye and left the nothern on a stringer tied to the boat. When I got back to the boat it was rocking like in a storm, I rushed down to the lake and there was the biggest snapping turtle I had ever seen just finishing lunch on my northern. All I got left are the pictures and the story! If I'm ly'n I'm dy'n and I aint never been sick!

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

When I was in the 9th grade, I was fishing the San Juan River, about 4 or 5 years after Navajo Dam was completed. In the Texas Hole, about a mile below the dam, I hung a humongous Rainbow Trout. Got him next to me, but the shoreline was muddy and weedy there (North side of the river). I tried netting the fish with my "normal sized" trout net, but this fish was in the 35" range. Huge pot belly on it. I wasn't prepared for how heavy the fish was, nor how big it was. The head went into the net, the hooks got hung up on the net, and as I started trying to lift the fish, the net bent and broke.
Later on, I realized that the fish was easily in the 20 pound range (I had witnesses, too!). State record for NM at the time was 12 pounds. And, that made me even more sick.

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from Blackdog1100 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Love reading everybody's posts, it feels good to hear stories more heart wrenching than some of my own.

Here it goes. I was fishing from the bank on an urban lake in Boston that is supposedly stocked with salmon. I was using spinners and had been catching small perch through the evening. On the next cast I got hung up on what I think was a rock. I fought with it for a long while and my spinner eventually broke free. Now that I knew there was some structure out there I cast right back near where I had been hung up. My spinner was hammered and my rod bent over, the fish never jumped, but I got it within 3 feet of the bank where I could see it and my jaw dropped. It was the biggest bass i'd ever seen in person, and suddenly my line went slack...I reeled in my line and looked at my lure to see only 2 hooks on my treble hook. Adding insult to injury a woman walking her dog behind me stopped to say "that was a really big fish."

I wasn't expecting anything special on that lake, and then there it was, and it got away!

I think I had weakened the hook in the process of freeing myself from that rock and it just snapped under the weight of the fish. I am left to wonder, had I bothered to inspect my lure would I have noticed the weakness and changed it? And if I had, would the fish have still been there to bite it? Would he be on my wall today?

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from Charlie Woodman wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

We all have a story to tell. Anyone that spends time fishing will certainly lose a big one sooner or later. Last year on the west branch of the Penobscot in Maine I had a most memorable loss. It was dusk with a caddis hatch on and I was fishing a size 18 emerger. It was two days before the end of the season and my last time on the river . I had landed a couple of nice salmon and was going to call it a night. I made a small cast and let the fly drift and bam,bam, two tugs, I set the hook and a salmon shot out of the water almost directly straight away from me. The fish made two feet off the water and at least 6-8 feet through the air. Just as the salmon came down the line snapped tight and there was an audible ping as the hook came out of his jaw. That was my last cast of the year as it was too dark to tie on a new fly and the fine wire of the hook had been straightened out enough to make it unusable. I dreamed about that fish all winter sitting at the fly tying table. I tied an extra couple of that pattern and hope to get another chance this year.

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from mexhunter wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

This very spring break i lost my very first marlin. it had been a boring morning where most of the fun came from whales and sea lions, not fish. i was watching the baits jumping around near the surface when a huge fin started trailing one. then a sword jumped out and then the whole fish. the guide threw a whole live fish at it and imediatly hooked it. i was handed the rod and before i even got a chance to reel, he was gone.

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from Anthony Salgado wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I caught an nice 12 lb+ catfish on an 6lb test, wasnt looking for him but he found me, as soon as i started to lift him out of the water he snapped the line taking my hook and bobber.... i wish i could have released him without it, I hate thinking that it might have been his last meal.

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from mselseth wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Lost my would be biggest bass to date when I was 12 and didnt know how to fight a big fish. I basically muscled and tugged and reeled as hard as i could and lost the fish 5-10 ft from the dock. Probably around a 6.5 or 7 pound bass.

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from bigz24bigbass wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

No one likes hearing a story end like that...

Lost a big one on a poor knot tie... Still losing sleep over it.

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from whiteeagle wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Out of Fire Island Inlet on Long Island, NY. 5 hours 35 minutes on a big shark--pretty sure it was a tiger. It was my first year shark fishing from my own boat, and equipment was still primitive and very limited. No belt, no harness. The drag in the #4/0 Penn Senator burned out, leaving me with nothing, so I jammed the tips of my fingers between the spool and the reel pillars, and I let the fish tow the boat (20 foot outboard) around that way for a while, the butt dug and bruising my gut, until it began to tire. Finally had it coming my way, taking no line on the out-circle while I gained a few inches every time it turned toward the boat. Then a bluefish hit a blob of chum on the line and cut me off, just as the fish was about to come within sight. The long tapering cut in the mono, with another chum blob right above it, told its story, and I've been known to bore more than one person recounting mine, in much greater detail than I tell it here.

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from Joe_Cermele wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Sayfu, I know a 150-pound shark when I see it. Come East some time and we'll take you out. We've got swim fins and a mask for you, too. You can jump in and tell me how much bigger they look in the water than out of it : )

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I just had this conversation with my father in law Saturday night after losing a fish. "You've fished with me for years and have seen me lose fish that had YOU upset, but I've always been of the 'That was an awesome bite which got my adrenaline pumping' and 'hey, that's part of fishing' view, but I think a trout just broke my heart and I might not bounce back."
This past Saturday at about 8:30PM at Lackawanna State Park, while back-trolling a deep diving yellow perch patterned Rapala from my very basic and cheap kayak, a rainbow trout of a size that is such a fish story that I won't even in float it out there hammered the lure. I fought it on gear terribly unsuited to the task for over a minute, a good portion of which the fish was on the same plane as my eyes. I knew right from go that I had a problem and that the telescoping rod that seemed like a great idea while fishing from a tiny cramped boat clearly didn't have the backbone to keep tension on this beautiful giant of a fish that was alternating between going skyward and running at me. I lost it when it leapt directly at me less than 20' from my little 'yak. I'd be hard pressed to remember another time when I shouted some inarticulate cry of dismay at the heavens while more than 150 yards from the nearest person. I laid back and stared at the stars which were just becoming visible for a moment. I then trolled that portion of the lake until full dark knowing that God is rarely so kind as to give those kind of second chances.

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from dtbc333 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

My worst was what would have been my personal biggest largemouth bass. Was fishing off a little jon boat with a buddy along a rock dam when it slammed a zoom trick worm on a shakey head. The lake we were on has really thick weeds, and i was immediately worried she was going to get deep in there and maybe spit the hook. All was going well and she was staying high up out of the weeds, and after a jump I got a good look and was able to tell it was without a doubt my personal best. Approx 5 minutes later I had it just up to the boat, was holding my rod in one hand, reaching down to lip the fish(didn't have a net) with the other when the fish turned, shook it's head and the hook popped out. Gone in a flash. Still hurts a little to think about. Not sure what it would have gone on the scale, but I'd guess a little over 7. (I know, not too big in many parts of the country, but our state record is only 11-6)

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from mexhunter wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

This very spring break i lost my very first marlin. it had been a boring morning where most of the fun came from whales and sea lions, not fish. i was watching the baits jumping around near the surface when a huge fin started trailing one. then a sword jumped out and then the whole fish. the guide threw a whole live fish at it and imediatly hooked it. i was handed the rod and before i even got a chance to reel, he was gone.

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from -Bob wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I once hooked an enormous palomino (enormous = 8-10 pounder) on ultralite tackle while fishing the Pine Creek Gorge in northcentral PA. The whole battle took place just downstream of an arch bridge, where maybe 20 guys had congregated to watch.

My best friend bumped him off with the net.

So – not only did I lose the fish of a lifetime, I also had my own live studio audience. It was a long, quiet ride home…

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Joe, No shark wants to mess with me. My hands are registered lethal weapons. The last fight I lost to a shark I woke up in a cold sweat! No thanks, I will decline the invitation. I prefer the spotted trout types in my freshwater rivers. But I did hurt my back trying to lift the picture of a whopper I caught the other day.

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from Proverbs wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Relax, Sayfu. The one thing in F&S fishing blogs bigger than 'the one that got away' are the egos, Mr. Merwin being excluded.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

It was either the last week of July or the first of August on the Yellow Stone river. Hopper season was just starting to get good and we were catching numbers with some really good fish mixed in. Day two of our float trip and I had been manning the oars for the majority of the trip. It was my boat and I love putting my buddies on good fish so I was happy to do it. Well after watching my friends Tbone and Bob catch a few I decided I wanted in on the action as well. I asked if anyone would row. Bob, bless his soul, volunteered for the job. Now Bob is a good fisherman and is often invited to go on float trips with us however he has very little experience rowing. The few times he had rowed on past trips i think we would have been better of if i just took to oars from him and designated him to beer duty. But I felt like it was time he started to pull his weight. So with me in the bow giving instructions he starts to get the hang of it. He got us into pretty good position on river left and we start to fish. We are floating along and I make a long cast tight to the bank. My hopper is floating perfect right on a seem close to some boulders. All is calm and then my hopper just gets inhaled by a monster Brown. Ive caught quite a few big trout but this was easily the biggest and by biggest i estimate over 26". Tough to tell for sure but I got a pretty good look when it rolled after I set the hook. So its game on! The fish was swimming up stream we were heading down and I needed Bob to get the nose to face the bank on the left. "Back left Bob" the boat was turning right "Bob, pull back on your left Oar" He started pusing with the left. "Bob, Damnit, turn the nose to the bank" He paniced even more and was flailing like a fish out of water. Well at this point the stern was facing left shore the fish had taken out a bunch of line which was now being drug under the boat. My rod was bent in a U tip in the water and then it wasnt bent anymore. The fish of a lifetime was gone, never to be seen again. When the fish got off everyone was silent. No one said anything for what seemed an eternity. I finaly sighed loudly and started whispering "its ok. Everything is ok.. Bob its not your fault" Haha and then i yelled lots of four letter words as loud as I could. Bob was still silent. I finally turned around to give Bob the death stare. He was defensively holding my guide net. He said really softly "Dude, I'm so" Before he could finish I simply said "SHHHHHHHHHHHH' and turned back around. We can laugh about it now but it was very tense for the rest of the float.

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from Micropterus24 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I was casting big jerkbaits for muskies in northern Wisconsin. We hadn't gotten as much as a follow in three days when I get a huge blow up in the reeds, had him on for maybe 2 seconds and he shook it, but left me with some nice teeth marks in the side of my grandma lure as a reminder.

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from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

This isn't nearly as bad as loosing your mako, but hopefully it will brighten your day a bit. Near the end a summer a few years ago I hooked into a nice sized smallie on this little creek that you can almost jump across in places. When I got her in to me and I can feel my line snap, but I see the line moving up my guides (it broke down at the reel) and I drop the rod, jump out and snatch the end of the line out of mid air (no sh**). So I back up on shore and hand line the fish up on the bank. It was our best smallie of the year by far, probably 4.5 lbs. Since I dragged it through the rocks and I wasn't sure about keeping/releasing yet I wanted to get the dirt and rocks off her so I very very firmly grabbed the lip with BOTH hands, took her back in the water and I think you can guess at the rest of the story. Nowadays I have a net!

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Just typed a story worthy of a Pulitzer only to have the Spam Gremlins take it away. This is a test post.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Sayfu,
1- I'm not going to hurl names, so I'll leave it at: That hurts.
2- That's why you never tell people you're a fisherman when you want to earn their trust. It's not deemed quite as bad as a used car salesman, but still considered a special sort of liar by many.
3- Of course the "one that got away" stories are the best. The one's you landed you have pictures and everyone says "wow, that guy got lucky."

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from CL3 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

jcarlin: I may be able to corroborate your story; I was shore-fishing the Bullhead Bay boat launch area at LSP this past Sunday morning. The lake was very calm. I saw some "wake" out a bit and thought it was very odd. I had my binocs with me and I look and I swear it was a huge fish, I thought muskie at the time. it was BIG, and I was a ways away. maybe it was this monster rainbow you speak of?!

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from Pacific Hunter wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

So this fish has haunted me for years. I was a youngster, maybe 8-10, and we were out fishing for salmon in the Ocean with my grandpa, a neighbor, and my dad. We were a coho short of a limit and were trolling our way back toward the jetty when all of a sudden the downrigger rod slammed. I fought this fish for what seemed like and eternity with friends and family cheering me on. I remember my arms were nearly numb from the fight and my dad asked if I needed help but this was the biggest fish of my life, I wasn't going to give up. Finally I got him to the side of the boat and I slowly backed up bringing the fish in perfectly, head just below the surface. The family friend went to net the behemouth Chinook and got the tail but the head was still out of the net and the fish was too long to fit it. Anybody who has tried to net a big fish tail first can guess what happened. I literally watched as this fish headed for the deep and could not control it. I cried like the kid I was for a good fifteen minutes. 20 years later if feels like it was just yesterday. Since that time I have literally landed thousands of Chinook and I guarantee he would have been tickling 50 lbs, at least that's my story and I am sticking too it.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

CL3,
I appreciate that, but there's a lot going on in that lake. I would be suprised by nothing. I just mentioned to the wife that we haven't gone up there to camp in years and I have no idea why we stopped. Beatiful park, nicec shadyc spacious campsites, and a lively lake.

Couple of years ago fishing along the shore opposite of bullhead bay towards the Creek (Kennedy on the park map)my daughter was pulling in a frantically struggling bluegill when a musky took a run at it. Wasn't particularly large for a musky, but when that white torpedo came boiling by the look on my daughter's face was priceless.
At one point Saturday evening I saw an odd wake moving along at a fast jog in the middle of the south portion of the lake and paddled over to investigate. Followed a muskrat across the open water for about 5 minutes at a jog pace.
I was fishing at the boat launch just to the south of the 407 bridge mid-day on Saturday with my 4 and 9 year olds when a little girl of maybe 7 caught an 18" rainbow which went home with her. I took the picture for them with her dad's cell phone and saw him measure it.

I saw while paddling the shallows more overall mass of good sized panfish with some really nice bass mixed in than I could credit. You could tell me you pulled nearly anything out of that lake and I'd believe you. And if it's a rainbow in the 2' range, please post the pictures to this site, because I need to see it and know.

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from jcarlin wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

CL3,

Since one good turn deserves another, my "fish story" encounter occurred about directly in the center of the main body of the lake, a little to the right if you're looking from the pool. I have caught nice sized fish on the north side of the lake as well, but as the light was failing there were some large swells and ripples happening in that area beyond that one great strike. If you know that lake and live nearby I hope you appreciate it. Its a 2 hour drive and a camping trip for me.

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from Noah Gates wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Lost the biggest pike i (would have) ever caught(not that huge;). I thought my fly was stuck in weeds, so i started horsing it in, then the rod doubled over, the fish jumped and spit the fly. My dad's bud from maine wanted to see a nasty Vermont northern, but failed to even show him a perch. ah well, i'll get him this year!!

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Ausable River, fishing with Dad and younger sister, between Cook & Foot Dam. No luck the whole day sun falling behind the trees and Dad says," Lets troll back to camp " any time on the water can be good. Experimental combo time, I tied on my older sisters Cotton Cordell Magnum perch BIG-O and as they say big bait big fish and add 9" MANN black jelly worm to the last treble. Dad said get'em in the water and away we went straight across the river, not 10min into the troll I'm hooked up, Dad wants to know if i'm fast up(snagged) I say this is all fish. Couple minutes and the biggest Walleye of my life is along side our boat I'm 10 or 11 yrs old Dad says,"hand me that rod" yeah, dad got the rod and the fish makes a run under the boat and cuts the line...little Sis my biggest fan sees her brothers back the rest of the trip home. She remembers it like I do and we both love dad so, its really a good memory as those were are best years with him & Sis. Years later, same water, Dad with his friend & I, I hook a small pike and Dad says,"hand me that rod" he gets the rod and I lean over and touch that line with the smoke I had lit and cut that fish off, we laugh ourselves to tears and he says," we even ?" his friend Bob never understood that inside joke. Miss ya Dad

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Inflatable Raft $249.99

Fishing gear $$$$ who's counting...

Gas to location $136.00

Packing in to remote lake with my loaded pack frame (about 5 miles) $10,000 calories.

Once on location it was getting close to dusk, and before I even set camp, I decided to take a quick trip out into the water. Only to find that I've forgot to bring my air pump. So I huffed and I puffed and almost passed out as my lungs screamed at me to get that raft inflated. After what seemed like an eternity I got the raft inflated and cursed why I decided on getting such a large raft for just one person. After a few minutes to regain my composure I grabbed my rod, my tackle box, a bottle of water and a quick snack to take to the water. At the time I was sure I was forgetting something, but couldn't put my finger on it. Decided it must be the high altitude and the workout that I'd just performed. So I launch the raft and paddle out into to around the center of the lake. I affixed a Mepps dressed Aglia, and give it a try. About the third cast it feels like jaws has just taken my lure. After myself and my raft are cruising at about 10 knots I realized I might have a little trouble with this fish. After a lengthy battle with this fish I'm getting it up next to the raft and get my first good look. It was a behemoth rainbow. Reaching for my net I realized just what it was I had forgotten(not that it was even on par to handle a fish of this size). So I reach into the water and grab the fish by the lips and yard him into the raft. Bad idea. Fish went ballistic once in the raft. Under normal circumstances this might have worked, but the fish which had two out of three hooks in its lower lip, had managed to bend them to a 90 degree bend. Which also protruded out of its lip. Well this rainbow proceed like a state of the art sewing machine to poke a thousand little holes all over my raft. So quickly thinking I re-yarded the fish back into the water. I then quickly started paddling to shore. Once I got within about 20 feet of the shore the fish would take me back out into the lake. Probably would have been funny to watch, as the fish drug me back into the lake despite my best efforts to paddle to shore. On my third attempts to reach land the line went slack. I reeled in the line to find that the two hooks on the treble had broken. I guess it might have been good timing though, because my raft was literally sinking as I made it to land.

I made camp, spent the night, and then fished from shore the next day and caught a couple of mid sized rainbows. After I made it back home I measured just about how long the fish was and when I had it in my raft. (it was somewhere close to 30 inches)

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from buckfan125 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

One day I was creek fishing with my dad, when I got a monster bite from a fish. I was a little deeper than my waste in the water fighting a monster Smallmouth. It was so big that I actually thought it was a carp! I was fighting the fish and trying to back up towards the bank at the same. When the fish was only a foot or so in front of me, it threw the hook. I would estimate it was 21"+ and around 4 pounds. A monster in any small creek!

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from CL3 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

jcarlin: good stuff. I know all of the spots you talk about. I'm there almost every weekend because I'm lucky and it's 10 minutes from my house...! And you are right, the lake has at least one of each species of fish found in PA!

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from jdwood wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Like DTB, my worst experience losing a fish was with what would have easily been my largest largemouth in Mass. It would have been in the 7-9lb range. I hooked it on a Strike King Mini King, it was my favorite lure. I was fishing with an old rod a neighbor had given me that he picked up in an estate sale. I was only fishing 8lb test and in a fairly weedy lake. My one downfall was I used to keep my drag cranked down to the max. Well I hooked into this beast right next to a small patch of lily pads. It ran right at me at first, so I'm winding it in saying fish on its just a little guy. Well I just about got that out of my mouth as the fish kept moving past our old wooden skiff and spun the boat a bit. I battled with it for a couple minutes and it gave three terrific leaps in the evening sunset and made a run for deeper water... and thats when it happened. The loudest piercing ping that will ever be etched in my memory as that line parted ways and I watched the end of my line go limp. Quite a few exclamations came out after that one.

Then to boot a week later I let the drag out too loose to not risk breaking another one off and lost a 4-5lb bass in the brush on the shoreline.

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from jbell6826 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

My dad hooked onto a 48" Muskie in Canada. He reeled it in all the way to the boat only to have my cousin knock the lure out of his mouth with the net. Thats his story.

Mine, I had a really nice three pound trout on my line. It was running down stream from me, right about to where my brother in law was fishing. Seeing this my he tells me, " Nice fish, I'll get em for you". Figuring he was going to at least use the net, I said sure, go for it. My brother in law reaches in with his hands and grabs my trout out of the river. Well of course the trout flops once or twice in his arms, kicks the lure out of his mouth and my brother in law drops the trout and proceeds to watche as it swims away. He looks back at me with his hands outward and just laughs. That hurt a little bit.

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from sgtsly wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

So years ago at my brother's place in Key Largo I lost my favorite rod and reel combo that I'd had for years and was my first rod and reel purchase at the PX at Fort Campbell. Not a lost fish and it was probably a manatee, swam into the rig and snatched it off the sea wall and headed west. So I'm never going to let that happen again. So I'm carp fishing Lake Allegan with my brother-in-law Memorial Day weekend and my oldest and dearest outfit is now at the bottom of the lake or the Kalamazoo River. New rod holders and tethers are now a permanent addition to my carp bag.

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from rdorman wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

hooked into a large black tip(100lbs give or take) while fishing for redfish...it was airial 75% of the time...jumping out of the air and charging the boat lol, we thought it was gonna jump right in...it then turned and did a couple of spiral jumps and bit through my leader(fluro...no wire for redfish...)

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from Trapper Vic wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

This one didn't necessarily get away and I really didn't catch it. My dad, the guide and I were fishing in an outpost lake not far from lake manitou in northern canada. We were trolling for waleye in this beautiful dark bottom but clear lake. At one poin we entered a bay and the guide seemed alarmed that we were not getting any hits. I recall him saying that there is probably a large northern keeping the walleye away. about that time I hooked what i thought was a perch or an under-limit walleye. after about 30 sec bam the line tightened as if hung up, realing in again, bam something hits the spinner again. The guide sitign in the rear near the motor told me not to bring the bait in just lift it out of the water as far out as possible. When I did this a huge northern came out of the water from under the boat. The guide was ready and netted that sucker. This was not your usual green northen but had a beautiful golden color I was going to mount him, 40 inches of awsome fish. We stop for shore lunch cleaned the walleye and left the nothern on a stringer tied to the boat. When I got back to the boat it was rocking like in a storm, I rushed down to the lake and there was the biggest snapping turtle I had ever seen just finishing lunch on my northern. All I got left are the pictures and the story! If I'm ly'n I'm dy'n and I aint never been sick!

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

When I was in the 9th grade, I was fishing the San Juan River, about 4 or 5 years after Navajo Dam was completed. In the Texas Hole, about a mile below the dam, I hung a humongous Rainbow Trout. Got him next to me, but the shoreline was muddy and weedy there (North side of the river). I tried netting the fish with my "normal sized" trout net, but this fish was in the 35" range. Huge pot belly on it. I wasn't prepared for how heavy the fish was, nor how big it was. The head went into the net, the hooks got hung up on the net, and as I started trying to lift the fish, the net bent and broke.
Later on, I realized that the fish was easily in the 20 pound range (I had witnesses, too!). State record for NM at the time was 12 pounds. And, that made me even more sick.

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from Blackdog1100 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Love reading everybody's posts, it feels good to hear stories more heart wrenching than some of my own.

Here it goes. I was fishing from the bank on an urban lake in Boston that is supposedly stocked with salmon. I was using spinners and had been catching small perch through the evening. On the next cast I got hung up on what I think was a rock. I fought with it for a long while and my spinner eventually broke free. Now that I knew there was some structure out there I cast right back near where I had been hung up. My spinner was hammered and my rod bent over, the fish never jumped, but I got it within 3 feet of the bank where I could see it and my jaw dropped. It was the biggest bass i'd ever seen in person, and suddenly my line went slack...I reeled in my line and looked at my lure to see only 2 hooks on my treble hook. Adding insult to injury a woman walking her dog behind me stopped to say "that was a really big fish."

I wasn't expecting anything special on that lake, and then there it was, and it got away!

I think I had weakened the hook in the process of freeing myself from that rock and it just snapped under the weight of the fish. I am left to wonder, had I bothered to inspect my lure would I have noticed the weakness and changed it? And if I had, would the fish have still been there to bite it? Would he be on my wall today?

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from Charlie Woodman wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

We all have a story to tell. Anyone that spends time fishing will certainly lose a big one sooner or later. Last year on the west branch of the Penobscot in Maine I had a most memorable loss. It was dusk with a caddis hatch on and I was fishing a size 18 emerger. It was two days before the end of the season and my last time on the river . I had landed a couple of nice salmon and was going to call it a night. I made a small cast and let the fly drift and bam,bam, two tugs, I set the hook and a salmon shot out of the water almost directly straight away from me. The fish made two feet off the water and at least 6-8 feet through the air. Just as the salmon came down the line snapped tight and there was an audible ping as the hook came out of his jaw. That was my last cast of the year as it was too dark to tie on a new fly and the fine wire of the hook had been straightened out enough to make it unusable. I dreamed about that fish all winter sitting at the fly tying table. I tied an extra couple of that pattern and hope to get another chance this year.

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from Anthony Salgado wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I caught an nice 12 lb+ catfish on an 6lb test, wasnt looking for him but he found me, as soon as i started to lift him out of the water he snapped the line taking my hook and bobber.... i wish i could have released him without it, I hate thinking that it might have been his last meal.

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from mselseth wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Lost my would be biggest bass to date when I was 12 and didnt know how to fight a big fish. I basically muscled and tugged and reeled as hard as i could and lost the fish 5-10 ft from the dock. Probably around a 6.5 or 7 pound bass.

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from bigz24bigbass wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

No one likes hearing a story end like that...

Lost a big one on a poor knot tie... Still losing sleep over it.

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from whiteeagle wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Out of Fire Island Inlet on Long Island, NY. 5 hours 35 minutes on a big shark--pretty sure it was a tiger. It was my first year shark fishing from my own boat, and equipment was still primitive and very limited. No belt, no harness. The drag in the #4/0 Penn Senator burned out, leaving me with nothing, so I jammed the tips of my fingers between the spool and the reel pillars, and I let the fish tow the boat (20 foot outboard) around that way for a while, the butt dug and bruising my gut, until it began to tire. Finally had it coming my way, taking no line on the out-circle while I gained a few inches every time it turned toward the boat. Then a bluefish hit a blob of chum on the line and cut me off, just as the fish was about to come within sight. The long tapering cut in the mono, with another chum blob right above it, told its story, and I've been known to bore more than one person recounting mine, in much greater detail than I tell it here.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

A whole lot easier to tell the whopper story about the big one that got away, then if you land it. Fish appear bigger in the water than in the net out of the water.

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