The one that got away

There are many stories that could be shared about my three-day vacation to Alexandria, but the one that cannot be told is of me catching a lunker.

It didn’t happen.

Well, not really.

Cousin Chad and I were discussing just how best to share this fish tale in the boat within minutes after it happened.

"What are you going to write about this?" he asked. Of course, he just expected me to write something!

"I don’t know," I replied, still miffed that I’d been fishing with the rod and reel strung with either 2- or 4-pound test weight line. By then, the pole was sitting in the bottom of the boat and I’d already baited the hook on my alternate, 10-pound test weight line and cast it into the clear blue waters.

We’d spent a couple of rather quiet hours on the lake when this massive fish yanked on my line. I set the hook and began reeling in when, snap … the line broke inside the reel. There went my lunker … a plate-sized panfish at the very least … swimming off with the hook, line, sinker and bobber being pulled right along with it.

Chad suggested we refer to the fish as a type of massive freshwater shark for the story, while cousin Jay and I speculated that, more believably, it could have been a big bass. With the water as clear as it was, we all had a good look at the size of the fish as I reeled it toward the boat (and, unfortunately, as it swam away).

That lunker was the only one "almost caught" on this fishing expedition that yielded only about 20 panfish (sunfish, blue gill and pumpkinseed). Next time, said Chad, I’ll need to plan a fishing vacation a little earlier in the summer.

As for those other stories from our trip, here’s a brief synopsis: Dad caught a turtle, Mom had her first boat ride in probably 20 years, I drove more than 500 miles with Dad’s big truck, and Mom and I both learned that shopping isn’t much fun when you only have the confines of an extended cab truck to store the purchases.

Oh, and most importantly … nothing is better than sitting on a boat in the middle of the lake and listening to the song of the loon, even when the fish aren’t biting.

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