Finally-a one that got away story!

by John Winkle
(Tulsa, OK)

While fishing on the White River in Arkansas, my friend Bill and I had enjoyed a successful outing, with a stringer loaded with some nice pan-sized rainbows, both natives and stockers. We had rented a boat with a trolling motor, even though the river was considerably low compared to previous outings. We were using ultralight spincasters and (mostly) Rapala floating lures. We were drifting back down the one mile stretch of river we had boat access to, when we came by a log that I had eyed a couple of times already. I tossed my brown trout imitation under the log and had barely begun to retrieve it when I felt a hit. It didn't seem like that much of one, though, and I expected to reel in another pan sized or perhaps a slot rainbow. Then the fish headed down stream and I knew it was considerably larger than the dining trout we'd been catching. I turned to get my landing net closer to me when the line went slack and I knew I had lost the fish. Then, the fish jumped out of the water and I turned just in time to see the head and about a third of the body fall below the surface. Bill's exact words were "oh man, that's a BIG fish!" I felt the line get taught once more as the brown went upstream, this time right under the boat. He pulled so hard, and I had the drag set too hard, that the lure broke free through the middle of the knot, and the fish swam off with my lure in his mouth. Bill says it was about 26-28" long and probably weighed 7 to 8 lbs. This is the only trophy sized fish I have ever hooked, hopefully I'll actually land the next one and get a photo!

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