The agony of losing "the big one."

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joetucker803
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The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by joetucker803 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:11 pm

Hey there,

I know it's been a while since I've posted on here, but life is crazy between work, work at home and family. I'm posting this for two reasons. One, I think it will be therapeutic. Two, Maybe you guys have similar stories to the one I will share.

I've been extremely lucky to have landed some of the bass I have. My personal best is 7.46lb, and I landed her in waders, knee deep in water without a net. I don't really believe in nets, at least not the ones that can cause injury, since I am a catch and release guy. I've caught multiple 5 - 7 pounders as well. In fact, I've never lost anything I would consider a trophy bass in the last several years. So, I guess losing a monster was a long time coming.

I was fishing my "go to" place this time of year. I had already five 1.5 - 2.5 lb. Nothing noteworthy, but it was a lot of fun, especially the 2.62 lb Smallmouth. The weather went from hazy, to cloudy, to fairly nasty. I was contemplating giving up and calling it a day, but I decided a few more casts wouldn't hurt.

I was fishing from shore, and unfortunately the water level was rather high, leaving little bank exposed, and thus, harder to land a big one. Just when I thought the bite was done, it happened! I thought I was hung up on a rock, but out of instinct I set the hook hard. Then my line started moving. I had to loosen the drag a bit, so that I could tire the fish and also, not snap my line. My first mistake (which I recovered from) was trying to tighten the line back up. Out of sheer stupidity, I loosened it more and gave the bass cruise control. I managed to fix this though!

I finally took control of the bass and had it nearing the shore (which was going to make a difficult landing). It was zigging and zagging all over, and keep in mind, there was really only one decent spot to land her. But I was doing well. She broke water twice, and I could see how big she was. It was a beauty, very comparable to my personal best. Two leaps in the air later, followed by a random sprint of energy trying to get away, and she was. Gone.

I didn't know what to do at first. It has been three years since I had a bass on of this proportion and I have been trying so hard the last two years to catch another one like this. The lake I speak of is getting too much fishing pressure and the lunkers aren't quite in there like they used to be. So this was my first chance in three years to fight such a Goliath, and I missed.

A multitude of emotions followed in the next thirty seconds. I had the urge to throw my rod and reel into the water, I wanted to lay down and cry, but in the end, all I did was yell. And not just yell either. It must have sounded like someone being tortured -- as a local who lives near by actually came over to check on me, LOL.

I fought the urge to just leave. I didn't. I continued fishing and caught two more tiny bass afterwards, which was just insult to injury.

Now, here I am, three days later. Every day since Wednesday, my mind has been replaying this incident asking questions. Did I over tighten the drag and horse the fish? Did it come loose when it broke water? Did it start to come loose when it jumped out of the water? It was headed toward a reed bed in the shallows when I lost it, should I have veered it in a different direction? Did I set the hook hard enough? Or, was it completely out of my control?

This is the first time losing a trophy bass, and my mind has been on replay since the incident. I'm saddened, frustrated, and really bummed out because this fishery will no longer be fishable in a few weeks until next year. I've even had a few dreams about losing this huge fish.

So the question is, can you guys relate, and if so, what is your story. Thanks in advance for the support.

Joe

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8theB8
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Re: The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by 8theB8 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:06 pm

Plenty of lost lunkers over the years. Oh well. I share your no net philosophy! Half the joy of the fight happens at the side of the boat and netting cheats you out of the excitement and the fish out of the fair chance to out fight you.

I still remember old "Moon Belly" from Howard Lake. The fish jumped out of the water on my buzzbait one night and all we saw was it's massive belly illuminated by the full moon.

I couldn't wrangle my buddies smallie on Samish and it came loose and swam off. Still the biggest smallie I've ever seen close up!

My pb's are a couple 8+'s but I've lost bigger. It's a big part of what keeps me going! You never know what you're going to hook or what the outcome will be?!

Get over it and get on to the next one! [thumbsup]

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grubowski
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Re: The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by grubowski » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:29 pm

Oh yeah, I've lost plenty of big ones. The ones that haunt me the most were the ones I never saw. They were all on fly rods and I played them for a good 5-10 minutes only to have them come unhooked, never even seen, leaving me to wonder what on earth I had been hooked into. I use a net, but I use one with the large silicone netting. It doesn't hurt the fish and in my thinking shortens the fight actually lessening the mortality rate. I also much prefer the net when I accidentally hook a trout on a crankbait or jerkbait and it starts doing its death rolls at the side of my float tube. The net helps immobilize it so I can remove the hook without getting a hand full of trebles.

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Amx
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Re: The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by Amx » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:34 am

I've lost too many biggies to even think of counting. About 3 years ago lost an 8 pounder on top water, so I saw that fish. The latest was 2 weeks ago, a biggie that was at least a 6, possibaly an 8 on a crankbait. I didn't see it but it was in 2 foot of water and about 20 feet from the boat so I had a tight line to the fish with not much stretch on the braid with floro leader of about 6 foot length. A couple years ago there were a few that missed or got off on a different top water. HUGE splashes, then the lure went down and the fish got off. I think some of those fish missed the lure and swam over the line and pulled the lure down making me think the fish was hooked. All these splashes were in the dark, but some of the splashes I did see. This was also the first summer I used that new lure, and I caught three 5 pounders on it the first day I used it - in the daylight. A 5.39, 5.48, and a 5.66.
Tom.

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8theB8
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Re: The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by 8theB8 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:29 am

grubowski wrote:Oh yeah, I've lost plenty of big ones. The ones that haunt me the most were the ones I never saw. They were all on fly rods and I played them for a good 5-10 minutes only to have them come unhooked, never even seen, leaving me to wonder what on earth I had been hooked into. I use a net, but I use one with the large silicone netting. It doesn't hurt the fish and in my thinking shortens the fight actually lessening the mortality rate. I also much prefer the net when I accidentally hook a trout on a crankbait or jerkbait and it starts doing its death rolls at the side of my float tube. The net helps immobilize it so I can remove the hook without getting a hand full of trebles.
Largemouth are pretty hardy fish, they aren't as susceptible to dying from the 'fight' as most trout are. They are subject to delayed mortality by touching their gills, removing too much slime coat during handling and when idiots let them flop around in the bottom of their boats while they high five their buddies or tote them around in their livewell for no reason all day (non-tourney) and don't properly manage them i.e. keep them in too hot of water or don't aerate the water properly. Unfortunately bass in general have become such a commodity that a lot of people forget they are living creatures and treat them like a 'thing'. Still gotta be careful though and I would probably use a net as well from a float tube, one wrong hook and sssssssss.

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DavidA
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Re: The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by DavidA » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:37 am

Right or wrong, my take might be a little different others here. When I lose a fish, particularly a large one, yes my first thought is one of dismay. "Crap!", or "Damn!" might immediately follow, but very close behind that is, "Well good for you!", said with an honest smile.
By default, a 7.50 lb bass can be considered a better trophy than a 7.25 lb bass and that's only natural. But are all bass of the same size created equal? If I'm reeling a bigger/older guy or gal, it automatically gets some of my respect for having survived longer. (I grant you this may be a perspective that is growing within me as I get older, and yes, maybe a little bigger myself!) But if I lose a big one and there's no clear sign that I've screwed up somehow, then I tend to think I've been outsmarted by a superior. As far as one of the combatants is aware, it a fight for life. And in these cases, the victor won his. On the plus side, the loser of these outcomes has the memory to play over and over, hoping to refine his craft, plus a great story to tell. You got a somewhat rare opportunity to battle a champ, and champs sometimes win.

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8theB8
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Re: The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by 8theB8 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:40 am

Very well said DavidA! :salut:

I think the ones that get away motivate me more than the ones I catch...now that's a sign of insanity [woot]

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Jamesb
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Re: The agony of losing "the big one."

Post by Jamesb » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:06 pm

I was living in Arkansas briefly 1997-august 1998...from Everett since 1969 so my best bass here was 19" at Sunday Lake 4lber...figured I would get a.monster living in Arkansas...got 18" on buzzbait from lake dardnelle...found a small lake spring lake in mountains (hills we call them). ...using buzzbait and I think 6lb test (grew up here catching 7-15" bass mostly) and like to feel the fish...well sure enough he hit my buzzbait went left and snap went my line...never saw him or felt the weight but knew it was my brush with weightness...I feel your pain...I have lost a couple big fish I did see when the knot came undone..had three of those one year...one big trout 18"+ and two bass over 14"...but when they jump they can get lose. Lost a nice trout at flowing lake by dock by park he was 20"+...still got the thrill to see him but didn't get him on film...I was going to release him any how. Be happy your paths crossed at same time...key to life like golf and fishing is timing. Good luck ...there is always a bigger one waiting for the next cast...James

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