I fought that fish for danged near an hour and a half before getting to see it as it rose toward the surface. We were both near exhaustion and it became a test of who was the better being….the fish, which could dash to the bottom and snap the line in one fail swoop of adrenaline rush, or me…if I could keep the rod tip high, the tension at its max without my arms finally giving out. We continued to fight. Another fifteen minutes passed before I again saw its broad, massive gold body as it swam slowly past the boat, heading downstream. I gritted my teeth, knowing that if this intellectual creature combined the passing current of the river’s water, his bulk strength and that one good rush downstream, I feared that I could stop him before running out of line and I would have to perform one last ditch effort by quickly pulling the anchor so the boat could float downstream too. That would give me a chance to regain some of my line back onto the spool. Low and behold, he started picking up speed as he headed downstream. Anticipating his next move, I held the rod in one hand…pulling the anchor loose and into the boat with the other, using one hand and pinching the rope between my knees to get another grip to pull it in. All the while my spool was screaming as the drag was letting line out, ever increasing the chance of running out of line. Once I reached the anchor and yanked it over the gunwale and dropped it into the boat, I could once again work the rod with both my weary arms. I began pushing the drag to the limit of the forty pound fishing line I was using, both regaining line to my rod spool and actually moving the boat faster and faster downstream as the giant fish pulled harder and harder.
My God…I thought, will this beast from the deep never tire? My arms were ready to drop off and my shoulders were crying for relief from the stress of holding the rod tip high. Finally I caught up with the fish again and we were both floating side by side. I often wondered what people on the riverbank thought as I went whisking downstream with a bent fish rod, bucking and bobbing up and down…and a fellow holding on for life, leaning backwards.
The fish was HUGE… obviously a big ol’ carp, looking to exceed three feet…maybe three and a half feet long! It looked as though it could be over twelve inches from the pectoral fin to the dorsal fin and five inches across. I was pumped!!!
He was definitely pumped too, because just as I figured I had the fight won, he slowly and effortlessly twisted his body into a “U” shape, seemingly exploded and was gone…leaving me staring at a swirling whirlpool and a section of the rod end missing in its aftermath. I slunk down into the bottom of the boat reeling in pain and disbelief that my quarry had defeated me so easily in the end. Once my wits returned to me, I quickly threw the anchor out to stop the downstream decent of my boat. I knew I had to row back upstream and didn’t want to drift down any further…after all; my arms were ready to fall off now anyway! It took me better than an hour to accept the bitter defeat that huge fish handed me and I wondered why I even expose myself to this kind of thing anyway. Isn’t life tough enough without having to admit a fish is smarter? So okay…I remember eating boxed macaroni and cheese back at the camper that night, as if the loss of the fish wasn’t bad enough. Ah yes…I remember now, I was going through a divorce and this is where I chose to live and enjoy myself. Hmmmmm...Looking back, I’m glad to be where I live today and would never, ever think of returning to that time in my life again. I’d rather die first!!!
Funny the crap your mind exposes you to in a moment of rest and relaxation…well, it’s really not that funny at all.
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