Yes a real Nessy. Forgive me for posting a sawfish story on a bearing thread in the bass section, but it is late at night.
It was getting late in the day when I saw what I thought was a large tarpon's dorsal fin. Grabbed my St.Croix Legend Tournament rod rigged with Skitterwalk. Got my digital camera out of front pocket made long cast well in front of fish, turned camera on to get ready and then started working the lure back. Stopped bait where I thought was right in front of his nose.. nothing. Start to quickly reel in for next cast and feel heavy weight as my line is now moving from left to right with fish. Realize I have foul hooked dorsal fin and set the hook. Fish shoots off for about 10 yards and then slowly continues on as if nothing has happened. I'm thinking I've foul hooked a sick tarpon.. no jump, no nothing. Fish slowly pulling drag. I paddle up to get as much line back as possible, tighten down on drag and slam it again.. short burst of screaming drag.. then back to slowly moving on as I take the picture below. Realize I have a huge fish on and that its about to get real dark real soon and that this fight is going to take a while. I had hooked it in about 3 feet of water on the edge of a flat and its starts circling back towards me in the deeper water of the channel that cuts through that area. Loosen drag on Cardiff 100, make silent approach with paddle, reel in line, tighten drag and stick it again.. I go through this 5 or 6 times over the next 15 minutes. Decide the only way I'm going to "land" this monster in daylight is to sneak up on it without any drag, and hope I can get picture of fish and some of the two foot leader touching rod tip (legal catch by IGFA rules). It seemed like a good plan at the time as I was able to get really close on several of my attempts to get line back on reel. Took several more pics of bent rod as fish slowly makes big circles but no good fish pics as I can't get nearly enough pressure on it to make any difference. Fish has actually stopped a couple of times and I go for the glory shot. Outgoing tide and just enough wind that I'm drifting slowly toward the prize as I'm quietly reeling in slack with just enough drag to get line in. I can see about eight feet of fish, realize it isn't a tarpon or shark, have camera turned on laying in my lap, rod in hand, reeling in, get leader to rod tip, fish directly parallel to me, quickly grab camera as kayak gets blown or pushed by current on top of fish and then EXPLOSION! It felt like someone had hit the bottom of my kayak with sledge hammer. I'm almost thrown out the opposite side as fish comes out of the water and leaving two parallel rooster tails for 50 yards. Drop camera, tighten down on drag, about 6 seconds later I lock down on drag with thumb as I'm getting spooled.. then pop. I never saw the saw/bill on that fish but knew right away from flapping motions of rays that it was definitely a saw fish. I sat in amazement, had a smoke, retrieved camera to look at my hero shot.. no fish in picture or even leader in rod tip.. only the inside of my kayak as I was flailing with camera in hand trying to catch my balance when I hit the camera button.
If that weren't bad enough, I almost dump kayak as gallons of water inside my hull slowly shifts to one side. I don't know what it feels like to be in a boat that has a lot of water in hull when it gets to moving to one side, but in a kayak it is one sick feeling. I forget about sawfish and start thinking about the 20 minute paddle back to launch site in low light, mosquitoes swarming, and only a half mile from the official crocodile breeding grounds at Flamingo. Paddle like I'm possessed not knowing if that sawfish had poulanded my hull with its chainsaw and wondering when or if I had a catastrophic hole in bottom. Make it back to launch safely and empty about 8 gallons of water from hull. Went home and read all about sawfish.
First pic of hookup
Being dragged in circles
I only claim 8 feet of fish as that is all I ever saw of its body.. must of been at least 12 if I'd seen its snout..
And that is the only reason I put Boca Bearings in that reel!
PS.. I've seen some big splashes in water and the one made by that sawfish was more impressive than the one below. That's all I got.