Took my nephew Chase out to Clear Lake for some channel cats and his first overnight fishing trip. On the water by 1:30 and lines in the water by 2pm. Water temp was a balmy 80.5 degrees. The drift bite was very tough on this trip. We drifted for almost 5 hours with only one small fish to show for our efforts. Not the way I wanted to start this trip. I hoped we'd do better on anchor after dark. It was very quiet until about midnight when the first fish was hooked at anchor. I let Chase fight the fish and just as I netted the channel cat, another rod goes off. No time to even bring the net in the boat. Chase grabs the other rod and pretty soon we have two in the net. In the matter of 10 minutes, Chase had broken his personal best two times. Pretty cool stuff. A little later it was my turn to bring a fish to the boat. Not the best picture, but it's the only one I have. As usual, we caught numerous fish with sores, abrasions, and parasites. The little brown thingys are parasites. I've been seeing them more frequently the last 18 months or so. They typically seem to gravitate towards the underside of the mouth. Once in a while I'll see them on the fins. They never seem to appear on the top side of the body. We were anchored in the middle of a giant mass of baitfish all night long. It's no wonder the fish get so big at Clear Lake, they don't have to work very hard for an easy meal. All we could hear all night long was the sound of baitfish breaking the surface all around us. I've seen this type of activity before with submersible lights in the water, but never in pitch black conditions. I would estimate that the swarm of bait was 1/4 mile wide. Here's a pic of me looking over the side of the boat. The reflection is the clip-on light on my hat combined with the camera flash. I dipped a drinking glass in the water and captured one of these. I think it's a silverside minnow? I hooked into a VERY BIG fish around 1:30am. After setting the hook, and playing the fish for about 15 seconds, I decided to hand the rod off because this trip was all about my nephew and I wanted to get him on big fish. I've caught a lot of trophy fish at Clear Lake, and this one was equal to or bigger than anything I've landed. I had visions of a lake record as Chase and I fought this fish in the dark. I proceeded to reel in the other 3 rods so that we wouldn't have any line cross-ups and the only other thing to be wary of was the rear anchor line. I'm coaching Chase the whole time and for a while, all he's really doing is just hanging on. Several times he said that he didn't think he could keep fighting the fish and when he needed it, I would help him slowly raise and lower the rod so he could make ground on the fish. We eventually had the fish near the boat, but it wasn't ready to be tamed and didn't want anything to do with us. Right near the end, on one of it's many runs under the boat, the 7/0 circle hook tore through the flesh of the mouth and the fish was gone. The line didn't break, all the terminal tackle came back intact, it just wasn't meant to be. For the rest of the night I thought about that fish in the quiet darkness of my boat. But to shine a positive light on the moment, it's defeats like this one that keep me coming back for more, that keep the desire buring inside, that make me look forward to future trips. I'll keep paying my dues and someday I'll hook into that fish again. Hope is eternal. . . Early in the evening, we saw two shooting stars in the dark sky. We each made a silent wish and vowed that we'd talk about our wishes in the morning. My nephew's wish was that he would catch a new personal best. His wish came true several times. My wish upon a star also came true. My exact wish was: "Please let me hook into a REALLY REALLY BIG FISH tonight". The next time I see a shooting star, I'll be sure to change the wording around a little to include "Please let me land a really really big fish tonight". That's the end of my journey for this trip. I'm looking forward to the next chapter. . .