Well, Branden and his son Eric made the 4 1/2 hour drive to the "East Side" to participate in the first annual Cuz Fest. Heres the quick rundown as best as I can remember Cookout started at 8, coffee and donuts, followed by burgers and potatoe salad. Of course It rained the entire time. (Kutter was there too :smile2 Great BOC comraderie and not too many lies at this event. What great people we have on this board. I'm humbled to be around such fine people. All in all, we had 13 folks show up. We split up our teams, and I had Slider (Tim), Branden (BKS72), and Brandens 8 Year Old Son Eric in my boat. Thats when the FUN Started. First stop, Plattin Creek for bait. Tim (Slider) put on a bait catching show with that 10 foot net and in 20 minutes he had us some very choice Asian Carp and large Shad in the boat. Put the boat in gear and we hammered the throttle on the SeaArk and made a half hour run south on the Mississippi First spot, our lines went in at around 2pm. 30 minutes later a starboard rod was screaming that ol familiar song we LOVE to hear. The fish ran out 50 yards of line before we got it out of the holder. Branden grabbed the rod and tried to get his son Eric to come fight the fish as we knew it was a good one. Eric was being a little shy, and decided not to participate in that battle. (unbeknownst to us, he was saving all his energy for the GRAND FINALE) Branden made quick work of the fish, and in 10 minutes we had the 44 pound hog over the side of the boat. High fives and hugs, and cheers and jeers followed for five minutes. They were ecstatic, and CUZ was relieved. :smile2: It was my worst fear to not find some fish for them, and now that pressure was gone. oooh: Didnt get bit over the next 30 minutes and decided to change spots. There is two small wing dykes across the river which have been VERY good to Cuz over the years and I thought we'd try those. Vince and Gary were on my favorite one so we went to the one just above them. Lines went in with fresh asian carp, and we waited. Lots of small talk followed and some good fishing stories were swapped. At some point, Branden asked everyone which rod we thought was going to get ripped. Without fail, myself, Tim, Branden, and his son Eric ALL pointed at the same rod. It was positioned perfectly on a nice long current rip, and we FELT it was the one. Well...... IT WAS. 5 minutes later, That rod went down an inch or to, stayed there, then went darn near to the water and the drag started singing. I grabbed the rod from the holder and yelled for Eric. THIS TIME, he ran for the action. :smile2: (He knew he needed all his energy for THIS fish:smile2 He grabbed the smart end of that Surge 8 foot rod and Penn 310 reel and went to work. I merely held one hand on the rod tip to help him with leverage. I looked at Branden and told him, "Branden, this is a really good fish" Within a minute or two, Tim and Branden had cleared every line from the water, trimmed the motor up, and readied the net. They were like a finely oiled machine. Eric gained line at a steady pace. At one point, the fish rolled and did a spectacular tail splash 30 yards behind the boat, and I realized we had 70-80 pound fish on. I just kept saying REEL ERIC REEL. He kept cranking like a winch. At one point, the line went slack, and I felt my heart sink. I thought we had lost her, then the rod loaded up again as the fish dashed up river. Eric kept winching. The line went slack again, and this time I felt nothing on the tip. I said, "Eric, I think we lost her buddy" Eric loudly proclaimed "NO, ITS STILL THERE" Well, he was right. :smile2: It had run at us again. The tug of war went on for 10 minutes as we ran from one side of the boat to the other chasing that fish. Eric cranking the entire time. FINALLY, the fish surfaced boat side. Eric saw how big it was and FROZE. His eyes were the size of dinner plates, and the fish ran again. I said, ok probably yelled it, ERIC, DONT LOOK AT THAT FISH AGAIN, YOU KEEP REELING BUDDY!!!! I told him he could look when it was in the boat. He started to cranking again, and finally we had her in the net and I collapsed to my knees from excitement for that kid. I will never forget the look on Eric's face when he saw that fish. It is burned into my memory forever. I cant tell you guys how excited I am for Branden and his son. I can only imagine the pride Branden felt for his son, and then then the stark realization his 8 year old has a bigger fish then he does. :smile2::smile2::smile2: Branden, you got some work to do to catch up with him buddy. Eric, Great Catch, and GREAT RELEASE buddy. Eric watched proudly as the fish was slid back over the edge of the boat and free to fight another day. Many thanks to Gary and Vince for pulling anchor while they were getting bites to help with weighing and helping take numerous photos of the fish. It was a day I'll never forget, and I'm sure this young angler wont either. Lots of photos to follow, heres some to get you started.