The Minnow Bucket

The One That Got Away

BW fights a jumping bass on Auburn Lake in Carver County, MinnesotaDo you have a story about the one that got away? I think that we all do because nobody is able to land all of their fish. Fish are actually pretty good at getting away. They jump, wiggle, spray, and sometimes dance across the water seemingly making fun of us before diving back down to their watery hiding places.

The fish’s skills of escape are what make catching fish so much fun. When fish catching is easy, fishing isn’t as much fun anymore. Basically it’s the challenge of catching the fish that is so exciting to us. So the fish has to have a chance to get away for the game to be fun. Luckily for us bass are just naturally pretty good at the art of escape and that gives us lots of chances to tell stories about the one that got away.

It usually doesn’t bother me when a fish gets away, because it was so much fun just to have the opportunity to do battle with the fish. I also had a lot of fun tricking him into battle in the first place. We start to have problems when we’ve set goals for ourselves in fishing. Now the one that got away might have enabled us to achieve our goal and if the fish gets away we have failed. Bummer! If I had a dollar for every “one that got away” story I’ve heard at tournament weigh-ins I would be a very wealthy man. It doesn’t take very long for any angler to learn that everybody has “one that got away” stories and that they are just part of the game.

I cannot help but observe that the most memorable “one that got away” stories are usually the ones that involve very important fish such as a really big fish, or the last fish that we needed for our limit of fish to win a tournament.

Over my fishing career I have had so many one that got away moments that I truly can’t remember them anymore. I think that they have all just blurred together. As I write this, I can only clearly think of one story off hand and it happened long before I ever thought about a career in fishing. It really isn’t much of a story either, but it’s the only one that I can think of right now. I was fishing on a lake north of the U.S. boarder for walleye and I hooked into something really big that pulled really hard and moved very slowly. It moved nothing like any of the other walleyes I had ever caught before. It fought straight down to the bottom and I struggled several minutes just to get it halfway up to the surface before it suddenly made another dive to the bottom and broke my line. I was excited and disappointed at the same time. I never even had a chance to see what kind of a fish it was, but I still remember that battle pretty well and it happened a long time ago.

I’m really glad that I began to write about this subject because it brought back that memory for me. It was bittersweet for me at the time, but it’s a good memory for me now. Here’s to “The One That Got Away”!

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