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You caught what?

Notes from the North Woods

This dragonfly took the topic of flyfishing too seriously, when it attempted to capture an artificial fly on the water.

This dragonfly took the topic of flyfishing too seriously, when it attempted to capture an artificial fly on the water. Photo by Joe Hackett.

But, as it came to the surface, the catch became evident. It was a huge trophy, at least a twenty pounder. But all I could think of was, how to safely release this monster.

It was by far, one of the largest snapping turtles I had ever seen, with a long neck, a big beak, and a moss covered shell. It had chomped down on the Hula Popper, sideways, and I wasn’t about to stick my fingers anywhere near it.

Fortunately, just as I was about to reach out with a pair of needle nose pliers, the turtle opened it’s mouth, and spit out the mangled lure. Slowly, it turned and returned to the depths. We shared a good laugh, and we had a great tale to tell.

The episode reminded me of an incident that a fellow angler had once shared with me. The calamity had soured him on fishing for many years.

As a young angler, he often accompanied his grandfather on charter trips, to fish off the coast of Maine for cod. As always, they trolled live baitfish on long lines, behind the boat.

When he felt a tug, he reeled in the line and yanked hard to set the hook. To his dismay, his line did not connect to the sea. Rather, it was up in the air, where a big gull was floundering around, with a large hook embedded in its wing.

He described the scene as sheer mayhem, with the ship’s captain barking orders, as two mates worked hard to haul in a squawking, flapping, fighting mad bird.

“There were feathers, and blood, everywhere. The gull raised a ruckus.” he related, “And the mates were obviously quite annoyed having to deal with the mess. When it was all over, I never wanted to go fishing again. Although I offered a variety of excuses, I think Grandpa knew the real reason.”

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