Tall Fishy Tales

There’s a fine line between exaggeration and blatant lies in storytelling, and any time someone tells a fish story, it’s immediately assumed that it’s the latter of those two. Fishermen are notorious for that.

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And have I got a tale for you. So no kidding, there we were…

Last weekend Dylan and I went out to Shawnee State Park to check out the lake and boat launches and do a lil shore fishing. We talked with some other fishermen when we got there, got the poop on the lake, so to speak. After a bit of verbal recon, we settled down by the bridge and started tossing a line in the water.

For a whiles it was a bunch of nothing, then a couple small fishies. A few fish were active, splashing around as they broke top water. Dylan started casting over by the bridge pylons where one of those fish kept splashing, and after catching a small bass he hooked a carp. It was a decent size, but it broke the line and swam off when it felt the shore under its belly.

I was casting the other direction, but close to shore, probably only 15feet out. That’s when I started catching little “key chain” sized yellow perch and blue gills. It was getting late, the sun was to set soon, and the park closes at dark, so we were going to pack up the tackle box and worms. I still had an inch section of worm left on my hook, to I tossed it out for a last fish.

That’s when it hit.

The tip of my rod dipped, bending like a candy cane while the line went off the reel, making the drag sound like an angry bee. This was no key chain that bit my hook. In a panic, as I didn’t want my line to break, I loosened the drag. I could feel that this was a big fish. Dylan got the net ready, offered tips and reminders as I reeled. “Watch out for that rock! Get him up on the shore right here!”

I don’t know how long it took, though I would guess about five minutes, but it was (for me) the longest fight with a fishy I’d ever had. Once I got it close enough Dylan managed to get it netted and pulled up on shore. I couldn’t believe it. I brought in a monster carp on a light rod, 6lb test line, and a 1/64th jighead.

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I was quick to get pictures, as I know that no one would believe such a fishy story. I can remember my cousin laughing and holding his hands up, as far away from each other as his arms would reach while declaring that he caught a fish “Thiiiis big!” All the while he was using his arm gestures to distract you from the fact that he was holding his thumbs and pointer fingers about three inches apart.

I don’t know how much the fish weighed, but between that and his slime I wasn’t able to drag him out of the net because I just couldn’t get a good grip on his tail. It also took my little clamps to get the hook out of the fish’s lip because it was such a small hook and was lodged so well, not to mention my hands were shaking with adrenaline. I picked him up for the picture before we released him back into the lake, and Dylan told me that we needed a bigger net for the boat “if you’re going to be catching whales.”

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So that’s my fishy story, and I’m sticking to it. I tried to keep it as honest as I could, as I figure with a true story like this, who needs to exaggerate it?

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