The One That Got Away: The Best Fishing Memory

What makes a great fishing memory? Is it the size of the fish? The timing? The species?

All of the above?

Or, what about “the one that got away?” Oooh… Yeah, THAT fish. I bet you remember every detail.

Lure designer Patrick Sebile has fished in 64 countries. He has caught over 700 species. Yet, he grew visibly frustrated when sharing a story where he lost a very large snook in Florida. “I can still see that branch!”

The big one is supposed to get away. And the ones that get away are always big. This is a strangely gratifying loss. Anglers need that “monster” to be out there, haunting that deep hole and our dreams.

The anticipation and then the chance meeting will remain with you, long after the ripples have disappeared, and you can finally unclench the grip of your fishing rod.

Last summer I took my son to a lake where I thought he might catch his first muskie. As we were unloading the truck, I noticed a big muskie near the boat ramp and could not believe my son’s luck. He presented a spinnerbait to that fish and, as they are notorious for, it followed right to my son’s feet but did not strike. There was a moment or two of indecision by both parties, then the fish slipped off and we failed to encounter it or any other muskie that day.

My son still grins when he recalls his first of what is now, many smallmouth bass, but his voice and expression grow in intensity when he tells of that taunting muskie. That “one that got away,” seems to hold a higher level of reverence.

What is your best fishing memory? Is it a catch? Or is it a lost fish?


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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.