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I rowed the flat bottom Jon boat to the mouth of a small cove. Picked up my casting rod, and cast an 8" Mann's Jelly Worm to a bank. Letting the worm sink to the bottom, I gave it one slow lift. As it was sinking, I felt a very light tap, quickly took up slack and set the hook. For a few quick seconds, I felt the weight of a large bass- then nothing. This was probably 15 yrs ago. For some reason this fish has haunted me. I've caught and released many fish since that day, and many I can't remember. But this one fish is etched in my mind. Maybe it's the scenario, who your fishing with, the bait, strike, or season. I missed this bass in a classic scene. Overcast sky, stump filled cove, and fishing with a Texas rig worm. Why do certain fish haunt you? If your haunted by a big bass, I'd like to hear about it. I daydream about this fish pretty often. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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I was fishing from bank in backwaters off the Mississippi that is protected by a levee. I have caught many big bass here but this one haunts me because it appeared to be the biggest of the bunch,  maybe an 8 to 9 lb bass   . There was a log laying flat about thirty foot out . I cast a jig and pork frog on the other side of it . This was many years ago and the equipment we used was not as good as todays . I had a 5,6" lightning rod with an  Abu 4600C spooled with 14 lb   Stren . I bounced the jig on the other side of the log and sensed  a heavy feeling . I reared back hard and felt a heavy fish . There was only one way to land it and that was to turn the girl  upward and get her to jump . I put the pressure on and the fish jumped just as planned , at that moment I pulled it over the log and got a good look at her then the lure came out . That was a heart breaker .

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Fishin a crankbait along a bluff wall, all of a sudden my rod loaded up, the weight was more than I’ve ever felt then it just snapped. A couple of mins later my crank floated up with a large portion of a fin on it. Still have no clue what hit me that day.

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I was bed fishing from the bank when I seen a male and female on a bed female looked like an 8 pounder 😱 I threw my orange arky jig and chigger craw trailer at the bed and quickly nabbed the male about a three pound fish I released him and gave them about an hour to forget about me wile I walked the shoreline. When I return I snuck up behind the female I dropped my jig right on top of her head no kidding it smacked her right on the dome and she inhaled my jig and I set that hook hard she ran hard and I tightened my drag hard, straight for the trees she went wrapping herself around a log and it happened, snap! My line snapped on me. This was about 7 years ago still to this day I feel the disappointment of missing this fish.

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4 hours ago, Mobasser said:

8" Mann's Jelly Worm

Video still from 10 years ago. This girl was pulling drag when my line snapped. (Never use a rubber band to peg your weight.) It felt like it could have been a new PB for me and I dream about it sometimes.  I was using a 9" Blackberry Jelly Worm.

348.JPG

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1 hour ago, roadwarrior said:

 

Roadwarrior, thanks for posting this. Great read. Even though I'm not a smallmouth fisherman, I've always admired Billy Westmoreland. He lost a brown bass that he estimated at 12 pounds, a potential world record. He stated many times how he would be home watching TV , and start thinking about this one fish, and launch his boat at night, to target this bass. He never caught this fish, but fished for her many times. I believe this story- Westmoreland was one of the best, and knew how to estimate the size of fish very well. It became an obsession for him. Losing a huge bass can become an obsession for all of us.

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My haunting is a little different; I caught the fish.

 

Let me explain. This was 36 years ago, I was 13. We had just moved to Maine from south Texas so I was used to fishing in saltwater. I remember I was so excited to start fishing freshwater as I had never caught a bass before. I had watched shows, read magazines etc...and that bass was just so attractive to me.

 

We lived just up the road from where a small river joins a larger one with a railroad trestle crossing at the junction of the two rivers. I had already had my Mom take me to the local shop and I had bought some spinnerbaits, Mepps spinners and a few other things to get me started. So after school one day I walked down to that trestle, climbed down the bank and see this huge tree extending out from the shoreline. It was in a small cove and, because of the way the bank wrapped around, I was able to run a bait down the length of the tree. I had heard about some smallmouth in this river and had already read about the smallmouth's attraction to chartreuse. So I tied on a chartreuse spinnerbait tipped with a white curly tailed grub; man, I can still see that bait today. And I still remember, very clearly, when I cast that bait beside the tree; it was a perfect cast and I can still replay this whole event in my mind. The spinnerbait fluttering slowly through the murky, stained water, when it happened. I didn't see the fish as she was the same, brown color as the water; what I did see, though, is the color of my bright spinnerbait get thrown about 2 feet off it's path and the feel of a heavy fish on my line. After being scared close to death of the fish getting me in the tree, I was able to pull her to shore, get a hand on her and pull her to me. I still remember being hesitant to "lip" this fish , as I had seen done on TV and in the magazines. Anyway, I did it.

 

So, you ask why does this fish haunt me.

 

I'm fully aware of misconception. I know this was many years ago. I was a very small kid and I know how memory deceives us.

***Disclaimer=I wish I had released her now; but, as a kid with my first bass, I wanted to show my Dad this monster so that's what I did; I was 13***

As I walked home with this giant hanging off my hand, I literally had to stop and rest, re-adjust my grip, and keep hoisting this bass up higher to my waist to keep it from dragging on the ground. It was that big.

Let me say that I'm 100% positive it was a smallmouth. And why this fish haunts me, still today, is the fish went into the freezer, never weighed, and finally buried under a rhododendron....

 

I've caught hundreds and hundreds of smallies from that day till now; have seen pics from my friends of big smallies; have seen pics of an 8 pounder, which is the Maine state record, and again, am aware of misconception, but that fish I dragged home that day is remembered as being bigger than all of those others.

 

I've never really shared this story with anyone as I don't want to sounds as though I've seen Bigfoot, but I can't stop thinking whether that was a state record or not.

 

<<<sitting in a circle of chairs, with a therapist off to the side, OP says, "Hi everyone. I'm SmokinAl; thank you for letting me tell you my story">>>

 

 

 

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Great story al

I’m haunted by my broken scale saying this fish weighed 2.75. It’s definitly my pb and no idea what it really weighed. I know it’s not a giant but it my biggest. It was 22” long and thick and healthy. 

6691D41C-D996-430E-8939-F8CBF060B422.jpeg

I’m haunted by my broken scale saying this fish weighed 2.75. It’s definitly my pb and no idea what it really weighed. I know it’s not a giant but it my biggest. It was 22” long and thick and healthy. 

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We were fishing for smallies a couple of springs ago. I'd hooked a 1 1/2 lb. smallie and almost had it in the boat. A shadow came out from under the boat and started chasing the smallie. Poor thing was going nuts. For about 30 seconds the biggest LM I had ever seen chased the smallie around the boat, trying to eat it. My wife tried to get her line in the water but by the time she did the LM was gone.

 We had caught a 7+ LM out of this lake, and this one looked much bigger. To this day every time we hit that lake we spend time in that spot, hoping it's still around. I swear it was a Maine state record.

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The coveted 50lb surf-caught striped bass.

 

I grew up surf fishing for stripers. Nov 30, 2015, the season was pretty much over. A few very big fish lazily making their way south to the spawning grounds. My buddy and I hit a gnarly boulder-strewn point, deep water, strong current. It was about 35 degrees, and this was the very last trip of my 2015 striper season. With the north wind at my back, I threw my 3oz spook as far as I could. Shortly after I began my retrieve, the water opened up to this giant hole. I saw the massive body and tail roll over the top of my plug. The line came tight, I set the hook. The fish was taking drag in short fast bursts as she followed the heavy tide. She would pause and I felt very heavy head shakes. I couldn't get any line on this fish. I finally palmed the spool of my reel and leaned back in hope of turning her head around. Suddenly the line went slack and my heart sunk to my toes. She was gone. I pulled the hooks. No doubt in my mind that fish went over 50lbs. She was massive. This fish is one of many that haunt me to this day. Sadly, I replay this memory in my head almost every single day.

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8 hours ago, Derek1 said:

Great story al

I’m haunted by my broken scale saying this fish weighed 2.75. It’s definitly my pb and no idea what it really weighed. I know it’s not a giant but it my biggest. It was 22” long and thick and healthy. 

6691D41C-D996-430E-8939-F8CBF060B422.jpeg

I’m haunted by my broken scale saying this fish weighed 2.75. It’s definitly my pb and no idea what it really weighed. I know it’s not a giant but it my biggest. It was 22” long and thick and healthy. 

Kilograms, maybe? Even an anorexic 22" weighs 4 lbs or more 

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I lost a smallmouth this spring that I am sure was over 7lbs. Made it to the boat when she took 1 final jump. Line snapped and away she swam.

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20 years ago on Toho had a monster take my jig and run like no other.set the hook and the fight was on. got maybe 15 feet from her and to this day can see her eyes, OMG,she was at least 12 lbs. she rolled to her left and the jig went flying,hitting me in the chest. my friend and his wife were with me so they had to calm me down for a few minutes.but that fish to this day haunts me.

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I was employing the venerable Texas rigged crawfish. I had previously been using a frog on that same rod and never reset the drag. The great beast engulfed my offering and blasted from the shallows directly toward my vessel then dove under my portside hull. I had to bury the rod halfway into the murky water in a vain attempt to appease her while I fumbled to loosen the drag. I was not quick enough and she was too mighty for my spindly wire hook. Alas, she straightened my hook while my mate waited to boat her. I never glimpsed the great beast, but my mate said he saw her shadow and she was mighty, indeed. Perhaps she was a 9 pounder or greater, which would have shattered my previous personal best effort.

 

I'm being dramatic of course, but I'll never forget it. It was probably 4 years ago and my buddy still talks about it. We'll stop and take extra casts at the spot every trip. It's what keeps me returning to that small lake for bigger bass because I know they're in there.

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It was around 2005 when my club had a March tournament on Lake Gaston on the Virginia/North Carolina border.

 

Weather was not good. We had about an inch of ice on the boat's deck and it was c-o-l-d.

 

We started fishing the mouth of a creek and the boater landed a beautiful lady, around six pounds.

 

My shad colored crankbait got hit, I set the hook, and she decided to run back to the boat. I could not stop her. She swam under the boat and my line 8-pound fluoro popped. Gone forever.

 

The boater went on to catch another large lady and it turned out to be the big bass of the year.

 

That experience still haunts me. Still remember seeing the line heading towards me and nothing I could do.

 

That is what makes fishing a great sport. Man against beast. :) 

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9 minutes ago, Sam said:

It was around 2005 when my club had a March tournament on Lake Gaston on the Virginia/North Carolina border.

 

Weather was not good. We had about an inch of ice on the boat's deck and it was c-o-l-d.

 

We started fishing the mouth of a creek and the boater landed a beautiful lady, around six pounds.

 

My shad colored crankbait got hit, I set the hook, and she decided to run back to the boat. I could not stop her. She swam under the boat and my line 8-pound fluoro popped. Gone forever.

 

The boater went on to catch another large lady and it turned out to be the big bass of the year.

 

That experience still haunts me. Still remember seeing the line heading towards me and nothing I could do.

 

That is what makes fishing a great sport. Man against beast. :) 

Very true Sam. Man against beast.

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In 2013 I took 3 weeks in December to travel solo around Florida while camping from my SUV; I fished a ton of nice Lakes on this trip including Lake Tarpon, Walsingham Reservoir, Taylor Lake, Lake Seminole, Lake Chautauqua, Alligator Lake, Naples Canal, Everglades, Miami Lakes Blue Lagoon, Stick Marsh, Lake Kissimmee, East Toho, West Toho, Lake Harris, Lake Eustis and about 10 other various roadside ponds and canals. I was basically in search of a 10lb Bass for catch and release and also Miami Peacock. The fishing was average to below average; but at East Toho I spent a half day casting only a Strike King Red Eye Shad in Front of Lakefront Marina; it was getting dark and I had probably made about 500+ casts and only caught a few bass up to 2.5 lbs. and I made up my mind to keep fishing until i could catch one more. The time was right the conditions were good and I was covering water; when at the end of a long cast right at the beginning of my retrieve a giant fish stopped my Rattletrap dead in its tracks, at first I thought I had snagged a gator but those gators usually pull and the line just snaps immediately, this fish made two slow side to side head jerks and then just swam towards deeper water, turning me towards the marina, it only waked briefly about 20 yards out from me, and by my judgement it was over 10lbs and probably closer to 12 or 13lbs. At that point the fish pulled downward into a piece of cover and my monofilament broke; and to this day I wonder if it was the giant Largemouth I was after ? or something else ? 

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The bass that got away is always the biggest bass, otherwise we wouldn't be fisherman.

I lost 2 bass that sometimes keep me awake at night. The 1st was at lake Lower Otay in '71 when a giant bass ran under another anchored boat anchor rope, I didn't see this bass. The anchored boat angler was Ron Huggett who operated Dads Bait Shop in Chula Vista, he tried to pull in the anchor rope and net the bass but my line broke. Ron told me the bass was about 30" , biggest bass he has ever seen.

The giant bass I did see about 5' away and near the surface. I was fishing with a Gary Gerber in his boat, hooked the bass at trout point, lake Castaic in May 1994. I was ready to land this bass but it made 1 more run under the boat comming out the opposite side, following the bass I got my line under the engine and had the bass under control I thought. Looking at the bass I could clearly see the side of the point comming up.  Gary wasn't on the trolling motor keeping us in deep water instead he was standing next to me watching the fight of this bass. I remember yelling at him to get on the trolling motor but the bass took off up and over the point in about 5' of water, my line hanging up on rocks for a second before breaking. Nightmare, because this bass looked over 30" long very wide body with huge eyes... Comparing what my PB 19.3 lb bass looked like in the water to this bass, this bass had to be in the 20's.

Tom

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 Not a bass, but when I used to charter for lake trout and salmon on Georgian Bay about 10-12 years ago, I lost some true giants. Ive had them snap downrigger rods. Some of them you’d set the hook and they wouldn’t even move, just sit there for a few minutes then decide to swim off and you couldn’t do anything but hold on till something popped, usually the line or the lure popping free. I’ve caught lakers up to 40lbs out there and I’m sure there’s fish there that would’ve make that look small. 

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Not so much haunting, but "the one that got away" was this year when I was pitching a 12" worm to a lay down. I set the hook hard and she wrapped me up for about 15 seconds. She felt nice but not giant. Wrestled her out of the brush and then fought her to the bank where I still thought she was about 4lbs....until I tried to bank flip her and about halfway up I realized she was every bit of 8lbs. With one shake of the head while she was midway up the incline of the bank. Still in the air. She broke my 20lb fluoro which had been weakened by the brush pile and pushed to its limits trying to dead lift and 8lb+ fish. She splashed back into the water and just kind of hunf out for a split second before darting off into the dark green stained water. That fish doesnt haunt me because I know I couldve easily landed that fish had I done thebright thing and tried to lip her in the water instead of flipping her onto the grass. Oh well. Ill catch a bigger one this year!

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The ONE....is surprisingly not the biggest fish I've ever hooked. Was on the little river that runs behind my house down a little at the next pool. Throwing an Arkansas shines colored super fluke on a 6'6 ml Berkley cherrywood with an ole raggedy spider cast spinning reel with 6 lb mono. Cast across to the other bank next to a lay down and it was game time. Never had a chance. Ran a little and then jumped. Had to be 8+. Couldn't believe my eyes and the drag on the ole (retired now) reel let me down and hiccupped on the next run and as quick as it started it was over. Have caught a ton of fish out of this river and only 1 or 2 that were half as big as that one. It's the one I wish I could run again

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I had never fished this lake, but my favorite muskie lake had been pilfered by the local Indian tribe over the winter and after two days of nary a follow, I pulled up stakes. Not known for numbers, but the occasional trophy, I headed out after lunch. There is a single, public launch on the west end of the lake with parking for maybe six rigs. I launched and beat the water until my shoulder couldn't take it any longer and as the sun was going down I started working my way back to the launch, fishing for the abundant smallmouth. As I neared the launch and the sun set, I could see three rigs waiting their turn to load and decided to fish the saddle between the south shore and a small island. That's where she hit. My poor TDA was screaming for what seemed like minutes, but was likely less than one before I got her turned the first time. The splash sent up when she spotted the boat is burned in my memory. With next to no light, I was able to bring her boat side. I have a 40in. ruler decal along the side of the boat, got her tail positioned at one end and made a mark on the gunnel directly above her nose.  It was too dark for a pic as my old phone had no flash and I didn't want to take her out of the water and chance injuring her, so I released her without feeling her weight.

With the launch empty, I headed in, heart pounding with nary a sole around to share my excitement with. After trailering the boat, I measured from the mark I'd made back to the end of the tape on the boat. 12in............That added up to 52in.!!! even if I was a little generous with the mark, that was at least a 50in.MUSKIE!  I sat in my car shaking for a good five minutes.

What haunts me, you ask?   The date was Sep.9,2001. I thought nothing could erase the smile from my face after catching her..............I was so wrong.

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Summer of '93, bright full moon night with not a cloud in sky, ambient temperature 91° at 1 o'clock in the morning.

 

We were sitting on a main-lake flat in 12' of water that dropped into the Sabine River. Having boated only 2 tighteyes since 7 pm I'm like now what?

 

Sitting in the bottom of the boat I grabbed my Plano double sided jig box. I pulled out the little removable tray & there sat a bottle of Black-N-Blue Uncle Josh pork chunks. 

 

Then I remembered about a month earlier I had emptied the juice out of those chunks & replaced it with Riverside's Real Craw with pure anise oil added. 

 

Well let's see if this works!

 

Tied on a 1/2 oz jig, slipped on a chunk, & made a long cast towards the river channel. Never felt a tap, the line just got ever so slightly tight. I set the hook, the bass set the hook back...hard. I gained 3 or 4 turns of the handle & that was the last time I was in control! 

 

As she made a dive for the river channel I could feel my line rubbing a limb. All I could do was hold on until 65# braid broke.

 

Sat back on the seat, dropped my rod, & grinned!

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Lost my PB at the boat after my father missed the lip twice. It was in the 10-11 lb range. We didn’t bring the net because we only had about an hour of fishing time that day. He felt 10x worse than I did of course. Didn’t get the fish but it was a hell of a battle and still a fond memory 

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