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The ones that haunt you... Big ones that got off

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Care to share? Just lost a big one in Ohio on a Chatterbait call Many 5 pounders and this how I hooked into it I thought was a log and the log moved . Prob fought for 20 seconds and could barely move it before it came off. Don't know I could have did anything different but it sure sucks my guess would be 7 lb but who knows bigger than 6 for sure. Also had two in Florida that got off that haunt me as well. Anyone have a story to tell about a big one I got off?

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I was fishing a small pond today, just trying to get the first one of the year. Pitching a weightless craw let it sink to the bottom then slowly swam it a bit and it got picked up swimming towards deep water. Set the hook hard and was barely moving the fish as I lifted the rod to try and lift it over a patch of weeds the whole thing came off. 

 

I think my knot slipped as I have straight braid on that reel. So now there’s a big bass swimming around that pond with one of my 3/0 hooks in his face. 

 

I hate losing any fish and so far this year I’ve lost 3. Still haven’t got one on the bank. 

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The one I will always remember wasn't a bass, but it happened when I was bass fishing with my son.  He was reeling in a wacky rigged worm fast to recast.  It was skipping across the water and when it was about 3 feet from the boat I heard a giant splash.  His rod doubled over and his reel started screaming.  His eyes were huge.  I said I think you may have a musky.  Just as I said it the fish jumped completely out of the water 20 feet from the boat.  It tail walked and crashed back into the water.  It was a mid-40-inch fish.  It made another run and broke the line.  Late that day he caught his PB smallmouth, but all we could talk about was the big one that got away. 

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Three come to mind, but the most recent was week before last. 

Fishing a local lake from the bank I had been catching some decent bass in a spot near shallow water where some tiny bluegill were schooled up and hiding in some grass patches. This day it was maybe 55° out, mostly sunny and calm all day, and because I’ve started paying attention to it, it was the day of the new moon. 

 

Casting a small swim bait on a VMC 4/0 jig head and reeling SLOW I was getting bit coming past grass patches. Caught a couple 2-3lbers doing that. Made a few casts for deeper water and then saw bait fish scattering again up near the grass. I reeled in quick and tossed over there. 

 

I thought I had reeled into the grass clump... I simply lifted my rod to try to pull the lure free...

And then the grass clump started reeling back! Two SLOW head shakes and then it started pulling my rod back down as it moved out toward deep water. 

This is on a medium heavy rod sporting 40lb P-line braid, and the drag on my shimano curado is Locked down. So when my rod is BENT, and the braid is creaking, and the drag starts to slip I knew what I had on, and it was far beyond new PB territory! 

 

She swam out at what I can only describe as a “leisurely stroll” for a cold gigantic bass, about 5-6 feet from the grass and came to the surface. I can still see her outline under the surface in the slightly stained water. The first thing that breaks the surface is my lure, skin hooked right in the very edge of her upper jaw. Then the top half of her jaw, and back to around the front of the dorsal fin come out of the water. 

She said NO with one more SLOW head shake. It was so slow it didn’t even splash! 

 

My lure pops free, and she continues on her way back to the depths. She cruised off just a few inches under the surface like nothing had happened. 

 

She didn’t fight, and didn’t “run”. She was a cold, lethargic, monster bass in 45° water, and I don’t think she even knew or cared that she was hooked. She just knew the bluegill she tried to eat was still stuck on her lip instead of in her gut, and something about that bluegill was sorta kinda holding her back from swimming off to her cozy home out in the deep. 

 

That ones gonna leave a mark. She was every bit of 10lbs, or even a little more. Biggest bass I’ve ever had on a hook, and she was gone in less than 10 seconds. 

 

 

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Lost a real nice one at Amistad, sure would have liked to at least got a good look at.

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I've never lost a fish that I thought would be my PB, so I can't tell you if I'd be haunted by it. But I did lose a 5+ pounder last week as I was trying to get it up the bank. I was disappointed for a minute or two, but just went back to fishing.

 

I'm lucky enough to live in an area with a lot of quality bass and I know the next cast could bring in a trophy. But if I lived in an area where big bass were rare I'm sure it would be a different story.

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I've been fishing 52 years. I've got more stories of lost big ones than I care to remember. It still sucks when it happens. The really bad ones are the monsters you've fought and got within 10 feet of the boat and they get off. You learn to shake it off. That's how they got big .

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A few years ago I was fishing from the shore with a weightless fluke. I cast out over a log and a nice one hits the bait. For the life of me I couldn’t get that fish back over that log. After about the third try that bass swam off. 

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Oh the one that got away.

i have one happened recently, it was not huge by any mean, but still hurt me quite a bit.

I lost a good size fish on jig after floating and dragging jig around for a couple hours. I’m pretty new to jig fishing and this fish might help boost my confidence. Anyhow after look back I now know my weaknesses and need to improve that a lot especially for jig fishing. I don’t have Hollywood hook-set, and also the action you see a lot in YouTube like “there’s a fish....123 loaded the rod... and bam”.

 

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2 come to mind.  First on Lake St Clair a Smallmouth that would have been the wall hanger I have been searching for for 15 years on that lake.  Hooked it, fought it to the boat and my buddy and I both said at the same time....."I/you finally got a wall hanger".  Normally we fish with braid but I had downsized and was using mono.  I was shaking so bad I was afraid I would knock the fish off before I could lip it, so my buddy went to reach for it and wrapped the line around his hand (like we always do with braid) before I could get a word out, the big girl turned around and snapped that mono like is was nothing.

 

Second was a largemouth about 3 years ago on the Potomac about this same time of year.  The big girls were moving up and we were throwing rattletraps (Aruku Shads) for them.  I had mine tied on 35lb braid and as we came into a good shoreline stretch, I decided to really heave the trap out the back of the boat to get the line to lay tight on the spool.  I made about 3 turns of the handle and got railed.  It was such a vicious hit, I thought it was a catfish.  Then about 30 feet from the boat it jumped and my buddy and I looked at each other and knew it was the fish of a lifetime on the Potomac.  He grabbed the net and I worked it to within 5 feet of the boat.  She came out of the water one last time and we both got a very good look at her as she flipped her head and tossed the rattletrap onto the front deck of the boat and swam off.  It was for sure a double digit bass and a heartbreaker.  As a matter of fact, we will be fishing that same spot this Saturday and I hope she gives me one more shot.  

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I hooked mine a couple hours after dark in my kayak.  Fought it in pitch dark for a good while, deciding it was certainly a flathead or snakehead.  When I got it alongside, I still hadn't turned on a light and didn't want to lip it...I held the line at the side of the yak, not lifting the fish out of the water....I flicked on my light and was reaching for the fishgrips and saw a LMB mouth that looked like I could fit a soccer ball in....and in that same instant, she thrashed and broke the line.

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Mine is kind of lame...It was a 2lb class fish and it actually made it in my boat because my co-angler caught it.  The story needs a little framing...

 

I'm a tournament guy, nothing super high stakes just local stuff with my club and various others.  20-ish boat tournaments with occasional bigger ones and smaller ones...But my goal every year is to weigh in a limit on every tournament day.  I've never done it, but it's a pretty tall order when you have 17 to 20+ tournament days during the season on many different bodies of water and ranging from March thru November...You need to be really dang consistent to pull it off - and that's why it's always my top goal.  

 

So in 2011 I came up 1 single fish short of doing it.  18 tournament days that year, so I went 89 for 90.  March thru late October and on 8 different fisheries...Ranging from shallow, tidal river largemouth to deep, clear mountain lakes for smallmouth and almost every water type in between - So I am a little proud of coming that close, but that 1 fish I didn't get is all I remember.  

 

It was the 2nd day of a tournament on Smith Mountain Lake and I was having a rough day.  I had 4 fish early and then went a long time without getting another keeper bite.  It's essentially the end of the day and I spotted a fry-guarder on a dock post.  Normally if I see a fish I'm targeting I tell my Co about and ask him to let me have my chances at it before trying..However I didn't do that this time. I pitch in there and the fish bites, I miss it and it balls up my worm...I reel in to fix and make the next pitch in, but as I'm doing so my co-angler unknowingly pitches to the dock piling - The fish eats his bait and he lands it...Only had about 5 mins left before weigh in we basically had to leave right after landing.  So I know with almost 100% certainty I would have hooked and landed that fish to complete the 'perfect season' :(.  It burns a little more since the exact fish came into my boat and got weighed in, just not by me 😆.

 

It's 100% my fault for not mentioning the fish to my Co...Who is actually a good friend of mine, he didn't know and had every right to make a cast there without knowing the situation.  All I had to do was what I normally do, "Hey there's a fish here, give me a few casts at it before casting up here," and I know he would have been fine with since we've both been in the same situation before.  

 

I've come close in several other seasons, 2 or 3 fish off the perfect season...But never just 1 fish and certainly not with those circumstances.  I've obviously lost some giant bass over the years that hurt, but my disappointment is maxed with this stupid little fish story here 😥.

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