My Most Memorable

My Most Memorable
Last month, in a message from reader David Roberts, I was asked to share the tale of my biggest or most memorable fish. The first thought that comes to my mind is "Where do I start?" Therefore I will briefly share a few memorable fishing moments along with a recent adventure that definitely etched itself as a top contender in my outdoor accomplishments.

Growing up in southern Louisiana, my mother would haul my two siblings and me to the beach a few times each summer. Even from an early age (starting at about 5 or 6) I would always bring a rod and reel and try my best to catch fish in the surf. I distinctly remember being in Waveland, MS when I was about 8, my dad's old 5.5ft boat rod in hand. I thought that setup was pretty special because the reel had a clicker. Anyway, I was out chest deep, using squid for bait. I hooked up on a fish and reeled it up to me. As it showed itself, I found out it was a stingray. I let some line out and waded back to the beach to unhook it. From that point forward, every time I caught something I would just go back to the beach before reeling it in. All I remember catching that day was stingrays.

In the same era of my childhood I was already an avid pond fisherman. Behind our house were endless acres of an undeveloped/overgrown acreage that belonged to a country club. My friends and I had trails to all of the ponds and I lived in those woods catching critters and fishing. On one occasion I was fishing alone and landed a bass. I was using a jointed Rapala. So with treble hooks lodged in its mouth, I chose to "coke can" grip the fish around its midsection. While removing the hooks the fish thrashed and slipped from my grip. I soon had the fish pinned solidly to the palm of my, one hooked pierced all the way through and the point exiting. Every time the fish twitched or thrashed I was treated to extreme pain. Backing up a little, when I reeled the fish in I had wound the line almost up to the tip of the rod to lift the fish out of the water. In my predicament I couldn't reach the reel to release line, nor could I break the line. I walked back home, for what seemed 100 miles, dragging my rod and reel, trying my best to keep what little slack was available in the line so that I wasn't tugging on the embedded hook. I remember walking up to the back glass door on our house, sweating and feeling faint, yelling for my mom or someone to come save me. I still have a little scar on my right hand.

This month I set another personal milestone, not with a huge fish, but with a slam of sorts. I woke up in the middle of the night to head to the coast, kayak in tow. Cliff and I hit the marshes for a morning of chasing redfish. After several missed attempts at reds crushing through the flooded grass, I finally hooked one. Check one. I had made tentative plans the previous day to go to my uncle's house after the bay trip and then meet up to make a run to the deer lease for some prep work. Our kayak trip wrapped up and I booked it northward to hop in with my uncle before he left his house. Since my rods were in my truck we decided after working at the lease for a bit, we would drive down the road to my bass lease and get in a little jonboat pond fishing. If you were a follower of my column last year, you may remember there is a pond at my deer camp. When I finished what I needed to do I cast a couple of times into the pond, my Saltwater Assassin still on my hook from the morning. Second cast yielded a decent bass. Check two. We did manage to get to the fishing lease an hour or so after that and both of us caught decent bass there. Check 3. The milestone is that I can't say that I have ever caught a saltwater species and a freshwater species in the same day. Definitely not from venues as far-flung as the bay, deer lease, and fishing lease. Keep in mind, the coast is nearly 200 miles from my ponds, making it a fair feat for a day's work in my mind.

Well, there you have it, a few of my most memorable times on the water. I fish quite a bit, but have never caught anything of any unusually noteworthy or trophy size. I would love to catch a big trout like David's and I am still searching for an 8lb+ bass. Until then, I will just keep making good memories.