None of Them Got Away!

by Scott MacMillan
(Boca Raton, FL)

I was fishing with a friend and a guide in a location I cannot reveal back in 1994.

I had spent 25 years trying to catch a snook before I finally caught one on the west coast of Florida. That was one crazy fish. It swallowed my live pilchard, jumped, and then charged the boat. It dove under the boat and jumped again when it cleared the bottom. I stuck the tip of my rod down in the water (on my side of the boat) to keep the snook from dragging my line on the bottom of the boat. When that fish finally slid into the guide's net I was ecstatic. The guide said that snook was crazy. He was "only" a seven pounder, but I had him mounted. He has spent the last 15 years on the walls of my offices.

Many years later I went snook fishing in a clear, open water location that was loaded with snook. We could see them. We baited up and the action started immediately. We took turns fishing to avoid getting tangled up, but the action was so furious that we didn't miss anything. At one point, I sat down to let my friend fish. I put my rod in the gimbel and allowed my fresh bait to stay in the water. The next thing I saw was my rod bent over and a big snook leaping out of the water. I caught that fish, which my guide estimated weighed 15 pounds.

I caught more than 30 snook that day, which ranged in size from about 12 pounds to a little over 20 pounds. I got a photo of me with my 20-pounder, but the fish I remember best from that day was the snook I caught when I put my rod down and was trying NOT to catch a snook. I have a cousin who has been my longtime fishing companion and competitor. For years he enjoyed reminding me that he had caught a 13-pound snook and I had never caught one. That stopped after I showed him a photo of me with my twenty-pound snook. That, to me, proved that I was the family's best snook fisherman because I caught a 15-pound snook when I was trying NOT to catch a snook. And my cousin is never going to hear the end of it!

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