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This happened July 23, 2005.
Using a glow red trick worm (I think.......still new to plastic worm fishing) I was fishing up against the shore and twitching it back to the boat. After about 20 minutes of feeling my way thru the underwater trees I had a bite........a HARD bite. I set the hook and I knew right away it was going to be a good fish. Fishing smaller ponds around my house I can set the hook and sometimes get the bass to just pull out of the water and not fight much. This fish instead ran to the right and sent my drag buzzing. I pulled back and reeled down a few times and then he pulled back down. It was a lot deeper than what I was used to, probably 30 feet. He kept diving after I'd get him up a few feet. Got him close to the boat and then he dove back down, under the boat. I just tried to keep the rod tip up, following the instructions of my Dad from years ago but the bass kept that tip down. I had an anchor line out and kept him away from that but he went aound the back of the boat toward the even deeper water.

Now I've been fishing almost my entire life and the only thing that can compare to this fish was carp that happened to suck up a worm off the bottom of the Fox River or the marsh of Tichigan Lake up in Racine WI. But this fish was tougher.

So he gets on the back side of the boat, still never seen him. He runs down under the boat, drag still zinging, not once but 2 times. I am thinking "Maybe I got a carp on" but of course it's a rubber worm and I start thinking and then say to my Brother-in-law, Scotty, "This is going to be a picture bass."

Still underwater he goes around the back of the boat towards shore again. I can feel him pulling hard but he's getting weak. I want him away from the anchor line so I force him back to the back of the boat and he goes around easy but still havent seen him until I get him back out to the deeper water away from shore. He just layed there for a second, resting. I pulled him in to the boat and he went back down underwater but not for long. I had him! I got him close to the boat, so green, so big. I saw that blaze red worm on the side of him and thought of all those TV shows I saw growing up and thinking wow, I got a bass like the pros. I didn't have a net so I got him close again and knew that he was still strong but I was close to getting my picture.

He was just sitting there, head out of the water. Scotty asked if he should get it. I just reeled in the slack and held the rod in one hand, just like the guys on the shows.

Well maybe the hook wasn't hooked on strong enough. He shook his head and the worm went flying up in the air. In that moment I thought about kneeling fast and trying to scoop him out of the water, he was spent. But I just watched him sink down into the murky water........out of sight.

Did I curse? Did I throw my rod down? Did I want to jump in to get my fish? Nope. I just smiled. As I sit here I am getting teary eyed just thinking of it. It was only about 12 hours ago yet I know it will never leave me; the feeling of that powerful fish pulling so hard it was magical. I was shaking after the fight. All I did was change hooks, just in case there was something wrong with it (it was not new and was bent a little from pulling out of snags but not bad).

The rest of the day I caught just one more fish, about a 12 inch largemouth bass. Did I just throw him back? No, I looked at him, admired him, and like Jimmy Houston does, kissed him and then let him go to grow and become like the fish of my life (SO FAR!!).
 
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