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the one that got away stories

1101 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  nuthinlikeacat
i know i've got at least two decent catfish stories, and i'd like to here y'alls "one that got away" stories also.

i'll start it off with my best one.

my wife and the guy i was fishing with thought i was crazy for this, but i'd do it just the same if i could turn back time and do it over. only this time, i think i'd tell my buddy to bring his ill-caught cat to me.

there's a mitsubishi plant in my hometown that makes god knows what, but the recreational facilities that they have there are amazing, and it's all open to the whole town. anyways, they've got a little lake that's lightly stocked. i don't think i've ever caught anything from there but a headache, but i've tried a few times. one day when i was still a bachleor in kigh scholl me and some idiot buddy went fishing over there at the mitsubishi plant. that buddy of mine was one of those guys that said he was all about catfishing, but he couldn't sit still for more than five minutes at a time. me on the other hand, i don't mind sitting and watching my line for awhile.

well, he was bored so he started going aroud the pond with a bluegill setup trying to snag stuff and he finally managed to get a little yellow belly cat that was about 6 inches long and started yelling bloody murder for me to come and look at it.

now, i was fishing on a storm drain that was right on the edge of the lake that stuck out about 5 feet into the water. it had loops of wire sticking out of it that i had my rods hooked into. it was that really stiff lifting wire that they used to move that concrete drain cover with when they built it. i just had my rods hooked into them, and they were real tight just as if someone was holding them.

anyways, i rolled my eyes and went ahead to get up and go on over there and take a look at his "giant" fish that he snagged through the belly with a treble hook. but wouldn't you know it, for the first time in my life, i left my rods, without opening the bails first. don't know why i did it, but i did. so i walked the 50 feet to where he was looked at that poor little yellow belly sticking out of his hand. i gave him the good ol' "good job" and POB award (pat on the back) to keep him from pouting (he was 3 years older than me but never did grow up. but he did have a truck and could take me to fish farther away than the bluegill pond that i could walk to).

so i start heading back to where my two rods are at, and about the time i'd taken about five steps and still a good 40 feet away, i see my one rod starting to bend something fierce. something was taking the bait and it wasn't playing. i could tell by the steady pull instead of jerking yanks, that it was either a cat or a carp. i also knew that the only carp in there were grass carp and there's no way they would've taken chicken liver. so i took off at a full sprint to those rods. just as soon as my first foot hit the concrete of that storm drain, that cat got my rod loose from the wire and in went my rod.

well, i never missed a step. didn't slow down to think about it or anything. still at a full sprint, i jumped right in the water with that rod and swam after it. sadly, i can sprint a whole heck of a lot faster than i can swim. the butt of my rod was only inches away from my outstretched fingertips, but i just wasn't quick enough. i chased it about 15 feet into the lake before it went down to deep for me to be able to see it anymore.

i tell you folks, i think i'm a masculine enough man, but that almost brought me to tears. i wanted that fish. he could keep the rod and reel if he wanted it that bad, but i at least wanted the thrill of fighting him into the shore.

you better believe i've never again stepped away without opening my bails.
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I guess my most heart wrenching experience of losing some fish was when I was living in SC for about 5 years. I was doing some pretty serious catfishing down there.

Anyway, I had my boat tied off to a tree on the bank with about 20 feet of rope, tightened that up and then dropped the front anchor. I was fishing a flat point that dropped from about ten feet to 30 feet to the main river channel, in the upper end of the lake, where the river came into the lake. And, a large creek emptied into the lake, just to my right. I was fishing 3 or 4 rods, using the gizzard and entrails (from a gizzard shad) for bait. At somewhere around 10PM, all my rods went down at about the same time (I did not have rod holders, so just had them propped up here and there inside the boat). Apparently a school of channels were going through. If I recall correctly, I managed to land two of the ones that hit my rods at that time. Anyway, I strung them, using a very heavy duty(1/4 to 3/8 inch braided cord) clip stringer. Since, my livewell was small and would not accomodate fish much over about 15 inches or so. Soon thereafter I landed two more heavy channels and added them to the stringer. I was quite proud. I continued fishing, all the while feeling those good sized cats surging on the stringer and moving the boat. I got a few more hookups but managed to lose them. They would come to the top and roll and roll and manage to spit the hook. Anyway, all the action was over by midnight. I started getting ready to head for the launching area, started pulling my stringer up and thought, "Hey, it sure feels light for those 4 big catfish on there". But, I reasoned, "Well, given the buoyancy of the fish in water, I am not really feeling all of the weight". I keep pulling the stringer up and low and behold I only had one catfish left, the one I had strung first. He weighed between 10 and 11 pounds if my memory serves me correctly (that was 20 + yrs ago). The three other fish had popped the very large and heavy snaps loose, strained them open and gotten off. I was sick, cause I know some of those other fish would have weighed close to 30 pounds. And, I was wanting to get pictures.

Anyway, it taught me a valuable lesson. "Don't use stringer snaps for large cats, if you have to use a stringer. Use an awl type heavy braid cord or have a big livewell on board."
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The cats were biting in their usual spots again last year. I got one around 20 and then a 64. Everything was going good. Then I went back out to the same spot, threw my big bait rod out and set up the rest of the rods. My buddy I brought along, said he wanted a 50 lber that night. So I said " sure, let me s_it one out of my @ss for you " - all jokingly aside, cause you know how it is. Sometimes you get em, and sometimes you don't. Then I heard a humming noise and realized my ABU 6500 in free spool was getting completely spooled ! So I grabbed the rod and put it in gear and instantly the boat started to sway and move. I knew it was another fatty. I had my buddy reel in the rest of the rods. Meanwhile the fish started wallowing on top and I started short pumping it to the boat. I thought it was 20-30 lbs cause it was coming in all nice and easy. Then the fish came boatside and I looked down with my headlight and the fish dwarfed my 64 and was from me to the back of the boat. It was freakin huge. Waaay bigger. And easy 100lbs and then the fish lit up and got really pissed. It screamed line off my reel, 20lb test and it was going straight down. I felt the fish bottom out and hit the bottom of the lake. Then the worst happened. We forgot throughout all that mayhem to bring in the anchors. POW ! And that was the end of that fight. I was such an idiot. Mistakes. You cannot make mistakes and expect to catch big fish. They will get you every time.
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This just happened a week ago today. I was on the Tennessee River near Huntsville, AL. I recently moved to the area from further downriver so I've been trying to learn this stretch.

I had netted a bunch of yellowtail (threadfin) shad and had 1 bluegill for bait. Around 7:30 that morning I caught and kept an 11 lb blue on shad. He came from about 35' of water in a large eddy below a bluff.

After no more hits there, I motored upstream checking out holes as I saw them on my depth finder. I spied a boat obviously drifting for cats so I eased over to his general vicinity (300 yds away - it's a big river here) and found he was drifting across an area that varies from 18 to 40' deep with loads of bottom contour changes. Reminds me of a dredge spoil pile though it's not marked as such.

I was bottom bouncing the shad but also had my other rod out with the large bluegill under a float set at about 25'. I always freespool that reel with the bait clicker on, always, except this time. It was in the rod holder and due to the wind the float rig was a little past me. I looked over in time to see the 12" float lay flat then immediately stand up and go down. Before I could react, my rod bent to the water and then the rod holder started going. I had engaged the reel before putting it in the holder, I guess. Anyway, all I could do was grab the rod and hold on. The fish was way larger than the 11lb blue I had in the boat. Due to the way I started the event, I was unable to set the hook. After about 10 minutes I had him close enough that I was reaching for the net when the hook simply popped out. :eek: He was close enough that the hook flew out of the water, though I nver saw the fish, only bubbles for what seemed like a minute.

Was it a bet. The line was slimed forever. Man if I'd only set the clicker and got to cross his eyes with a hook set.

Live and learn.
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The big one that goes away goes as follows... Late one night we were fishing a sand bar with absolutely no action. I decided to pur on the biggest sucker I had with me (Almost 14") I threw it out and it no more than hit the water and the clicker started screaming. I hit the fish, my rod doubled over, then bent straight back...I got snapped off.

That pissed me off enough that I went to the local bait shop and bought another sucker that big. I went back down to where I was fishing, retied my line, and through it back out. Ten minutes had passed, then I heard the familiar sound of my clicker. First one click, then two and so on. I picked up my rod from the holder, and the clicker just started screaming again. As I was loading up to hit the fish, the line went completely slack. I reeled in about 15 ft and still slack, so I figured I got snapped off. Then all of a sudden my friend and I heard a loud whistling sound, almost like the wind going through the trees. My friend looked down at my line, and it was whistling across the water back towards deeper water. By time I loaded up and got ready to hit him, he already had the pole bent. I loaded up and hit it. The pole doubled over like never before, and my grag was screaming. The fish almost pulled the rod outta my hand because I wasnt ready for it. Needless to say, it broke me off before I could turn it. I still to this day fish that spot in hopes of another shot at ol "stringface".

I still to this day think it was a big river muskie. I dont believe a cat can move that fast!
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