One lost fish. Which one single lost fish experience haunts you the most?

ibn

Moderator
#77
This is a fun thread, some great stories. I've lost my fair share, but two specifically stick out in my head. Oddly enough, both were in the Bahamas.

The first was a 25-30lb permit on Great Inagua. I was fishing the flats with Anil and our Guide, Ezzard. I had my first ever shot at a school of permit, I was shaking and made a terrible cast, probably 10 feet short and a few feet right of the fish. Lucky me, they all changed direction and went right to my fly. I followed up the cast with the worst trout-set you can imagine, pulled the fly right out of the fishes mouth. With most permit, this would spook the fish, this one had to be hungry. He came back and hammered my fly. I spent 45 minutes working the fish towards the the boat. I got it within 10 feet two times, but both times he took off running. After that 2nd time, out of the corner of my eye, I see a 12+ foot lemon shark cruise on in. My fishing buddy, Anil, asks our guide if he's ever had a shark eat a hooked permit before. Our guide said "Nope, and I've been guiding for 40+ years".... Of course within seconds of asking the shark b-lines for my fish. I dropped the drag to nothing hoping the fish would get away. The reel screamed for a couple seconds, then went silent. I'd just fed my un-deserved first permit to an enormous lemon shark.

The second was a year or two later, I was on a sailboat in the bahamas with 5 other anglers (including Brian O'Keefe!) - I managed to hook my first Dorado by a patch of sargasso. I didn't have much big fish fighting experience at the time, especially not with jumpers. I worked the fish right up to the boat, when it decided to take a flying leap and give me some serious head shakes. Being the inexperienced fool I was, I kept the line tight and broke it off right in front of us. The big bull slowly cruised away on the surface with my fly hanging out of the corner of his mouth. I felt like he was giving me the middle finger.

A little redemption on both though. Probably 30 minutes after loosing my would-be first permit I managed to land my first double digit bonefish, an 11 pound behemoth that put a smile right back on my face. As for the dorado, 2 or 3 hours later I hooked and landed my first sailfish. I'd been clowned by my friends, and educated on how to deal with big jumping fish. I used my experience to my advantage, and bowed to the pez bella until I got it in.

Thanks for posting.
 
#79
I agree, there are some amazing, amazing stories on here.
The amount of detail must show how vivid this stuff sticks with an angler!
Yeah, and that (about) 15 lb brown trout I lost on the Clark Fork never gets bigger as time goes on....or was it closer to 16 lbs...:hmmm:
 
#81
Years back a BC interior lake that took 4 hrs of 4X4ing to get to was totally worth it when we arrived. The tranquility and the isolation as we set up our float tubes was breathtaking. A quiet troll for most of the day produced a couple of small trouties between the two of us. I changed up to a purple Doc Sprately and continue the troll. A few moments later my line began to scream and rod double over. It did not stop until my line came to an end and the tippet snapped. You could hear my heart echoing its beat across the lake. One day I'll pound my truck back in there to get a second shot at that guy.
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#82
Years back a BC interior lake that took 4 hrs of 4X4ing to get to was totally worth it when we arrived. The tranquility and the isolation as we set up our float tubes was breathtaking. A quiet troll for most of the day produced a couple of small trouties between the two of us. I changed up to a purple Doc Sprately and continue the troll. A few moments later my line began to scream and rod double over. It did not stop until my line came to an end and the tippet snapped. You could hear my heart echoing its beat across the lake. One day I'll pound my truck back in there to get a second shot at that guy.
Noworms, very nice entry post!
 

Flyfishing Dad

displaced Alaskan
#83
Teaching my then 5-year old son to flyfish in Newfoundland, Canada on the Waterford River not far from our house. Great concentration of sea-run browns. Had caught several nice 10-12 inch fish, taking turns with my son letting a woolly bugger drift into the current and dark holes by large stones. Then helping him work the fish in before releasing them. Hooked into a huge one on his "turn" and said, "son, this is a big one, Dad better take him on." Landed a nice 18-inch fish. My son seemed okay with Dad taking his turn. Then we let the fly drift down into the same hole and the water exploded as a HUGE trout slammed onto the fly. Excited I said again, "Son, should Dad take this one on?" "No, Daddy, you took two turns already. This one's mine." Even though only 5-years old, he fought that fish pretty well as Dad hung onto his belt to steady him in the stream. Held onto the bottom of the rod as he got tired well into the fight. The line would sing down the current, then the reel would click, click, click as he fought the fish back upstream. We got him close enough my son could look that fish nearly in the eye. Well, at five years old he was a lot closer to the water surface than I was! :eek:) After what seemed like half-an hour my son was tired and so was the fish. He took one more look at us and shook his head for one more surge....snapping the tippet. That fish would have gone many pounds. The next week there was a story in the paper that a teenager had caught a 15-pound brown in that same spot. Makes one wonder.
 

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
#84
Thanksgiving, 1995 or 1996. I am in town visting the future outlaws with my Fiance. Figure I would take a stab at fly fishing for steelhead. By this time I had caught plenty of fish, but none on a bug rod. In fact I think this is the first time I could realistically say I was trying to angle for steelhead on a fly. I had a plan anyway and no backup gear rod.

Water was low, so I did my best "fat ninja" impression sneaking from place to place on the river where I could not see bottom. These long dark holes held fish (I was sure). I would cast upstream and mend like mad (I may or may not have learned about sink tip lines yet...) to get the fly down where I could no longer see it and then let it swing/dead drift.

Cast, mend, mend, mend...daydream. "Huh?" Hung up. Reel. Rod begins to buck lightly. Heart flutters. I gently keep reeling. Big buck emerges from the bottom of the hole, fly in his snout like a trained dog on a leash. Just rises up, no fuss. Big ass red stripe and huge. Heart pounding now.

Eyes transfixed on Mr. Steelhead. Mr. Steelhead thrashes once and is gone.

Out comes the fly, and Mr. Steelhead goes back into his hidy-hole. Thought briefly about diving in after him.

I never set the hook. Not even a litte. So completely caught off guard at hooking one, I just froze. When I play the tape in my head, I am sure that Mr. Steelhead was probably only vaguely aware something was pulling him up until the very end. One hookset and he would have been mine.

Sigh. A year later I would hook and land my first steel on the fly.
 
#86
At fifteen on a small stream in south west Colorado, the Piedra river. The water was a bit murky for flies so I threw on a black and yellow panther martin on my fly rod. I hooked a brown on a spinner in a deep hole. He surfaced two or three times and went deep. I figured about 24 inches at the time. All of a sudden it felt like he had wrapped me around a log and pulled tight and stiff. The spinner came free and shot up to the surface. All tolled I think I fought it for about 8-10 minutes.
A few days later my dad and I went fishing on the same stretch and he hooked into a huge brown with a grass hopper fly as soon as we got to MY HOLE! With my begrudgingly help we landed a 28 inch brown with his jaw split right up the middle through his lip and I just knew it! Best catch and release I ever saw!
 

Citori

Piscatorial Engineer
#87
My younger son's first, and I think only hook up on a Willamette spring Chinook, barbless hooks. Not that dramatic, it just rolled like they do, and came unpinned. Still I wish I could have watched him land that one.
 

Dorylf

Oregon Member
#88
Sheesh! How do you pick one?

By species:
Chinook - Three Rivers. Broke one off after a 40 minute battle that was 70+ pounds
Spring Chinook - Three Rivers. Jumped once and snapped my leader to let me know line ages into worthlessness and needs to be tossed. Was 15 pounds
Steelhead - Zipperlip River. Hook pulled out of a downstream freight train of 20+ pounds
Bull - Metolius. Ate whole the 11-inch rainbow I was fighting and swam under a log jam and wouldn't come out. Was about 15 pounds
Rainbow - Metolius. Ran downstream. I couldn't follow. Sorta played out, it turned on its side and skipped on the surface a couple of times before hook straightened (20+ inches)
LMB - Willamette slough. Went airborne with the surface plug I was fishing and snapped the leader right at the wind knot I convinced myself I didn't need to fix. Was 8-ish pounds
Yellowstone Cutthroat - Yellowstone River. Took a size 18 mosquito on 2.5 pound tippet. The only Yellowstone Cutt I've ever hooked that jumped. Then it ran at a 45-degree angle across and down and into my backing before snapping off. Was easily over 22 inches.
Brown - Madison. Fall-run fish out of a lake took me downstream deep into a seam between two currents and finally broke me off. Never saw him, so he musta been at least 17 pounds ;)
Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkia - Siletz River. Only 16 inches or so, but one of the first trout I ever hooked as a kid and probably responsible for my addiction ever since.

Lots more but they'd repeat a species.

Ah, well. "Better to have loved and lost than to have never..."