I just caught a once in a lifetime bass. Biggest bass I ever caught and probably won't ever catch another as big - and if I do catch another one as big, I'll bet you a million dollars it won't be caught the same way this one was.
First off, no I didn't get pictures. I didn't get it completely out of the water either, so size is estimated. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking what my son said "If you don't have a picture, it didn't happen." But it happened, just a few hours ago.
I've caught some big bass in my 60 odd years of fishing, but nothing approaching this one. This was a river bass, no pot belly, and it was freaking huge! But even better than how big it was, was the way I caught it. Yesterday I was fishing in the creek mouth and had caught a decent size bluegill. While retrieving it a great big bass came up from the depths and took off with it. I could feel that bass on the line for a few seconds before it released the bluegill. It was quite a thrill. Most fishermen have seen this or had it happen to them on occasion.
So today when I caught a bluegill, about six inches long, instead of bringing it all the way in I let it swim around in the middle of the creek. Waiting to see if that big bass would come for it. I let it swim around out there for quite a bit and then I saw this fish coming slolwy up from the depths, looked like a submarine. It was even bigger than the one yesterday.
It came up close to the surface where I had a good long look at it, and I about fell into the creek it was so big. It nudged the bluegill and sank back out of sight, then returned and sank again. Then it came back and this time it was ready, it charged and sucked in that bluegill and then dove quickly into the depths. I gave it some slack, let it run for a second and then took up the line and started pulling. It felt like it was solid hooked, as it stayed on a lot longer. I was thinking it must have swallowed the bluegill and it was in its stomach.
In fact I fought it for a while, wearing it down. I got it up to the bank, which was now a problem as the creek bank was nearly five feet above the water. I didn't have a net, I didn't have anyone to help, and no way to reach it, even lying down on my stomach. I had its head out of the water and it could have swallowed a football sideways. HUGE. I'm guessing, and guessing conservatively, in the 10 to 12 pound range. HUGE. Biggest one I've ever caught.
I say I caught it as I did bring it to the bank, under full control. I couldn't get it up that five feet, not with 8lb leader. I tried though, as sooner or later I had to do something and I was going to release it no matter what anyway. I got it a bit past its gills out of the water before the leader snapped, the giant bass sank back down into the water and swam away, quickly gliding into the depths and out of sight.
My heart pumped like a jack hammer for the better part of an hour, burning off the 55 gallons of adrenaline racing through my veins. I shook like a leaf in the wind, my knees were weak, and I felt just like I had just caught the biggest bass of my life, and that is a thrilling feeling. I'll never catch one like that again, not that way - somehow, miraculously, the hook had come out of the bluegill and into the bass's upper lip, dead center. I couldn't have put that hook in a better place surgically.
9 foot six weight fly rod, 8lb test leader, No. 8 hook. Six inch bluegill for bait. Visuals of the bass taking the bluegill to die for, and the biggest bass I've ever caught on any rig of any kind.
It will never happen again, not that way and probably not in any way. But then, if it did happen again I'm not sure my heart could take it.