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Old 03-29-2017, 07:57 AM   #1
Artwo
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Default Trophy Fish You've Lost

I was reading another thread and there was a statement in one of the postings about having missed or lost a fish you knew was a good fish and how disheartening and memorable that moment was. I thought it might be fun to relive some of those moments......

I'll start with one in particular that still haunts me to this day........

About 5 years ago my buddy, his son, and I walked into one of our favorite spots on the Sandy in the dark to make sure we got in there first and got our spot. At this place, I have a particular spot I like to start at first thing in the morning, because it's produced well for me in the past. So, we're all standing on our special rock, sort to say, waiting for daylight to start fishing. Right at legal time, I make maybe two/three passes through my spot with my favorite bobber/jig but because of the low light I was having a little trouble seeing my bobber down stream of me. On my next drift my bobber floats by me, goes maybe another 20 feet or so down and it buries but I was slow to react because of the low light. I hook up and immediately I can tell it's a good fish so I howler down to my buddy that I've got a good fish on and his son comes to assist me with landing it. This fish was tearing me up with good run after good run but I was making some headway. So, my buddies son is standing about knee deep in the water and I'm at the waters edge and I've got the fish right by him when I finally get a good look at it and as I suspect it was the fish of my dreams, definitely upper/upper teens or a true 20. Well, here's where it gets fuzzy, of course this fish has one more good run left in it and I know it so I'm being cautious with working it toward my buddies son so he can tail it for me and it happens. Yep, fish goes wild, one more line stripping run and the inevitable happens and my leader breaks................

I'll never forget the moment I got my first look at that fish not more that 10 ft. from me when I realized it's true size, truly an unforgettable moment in my fishing adventures. I'm grateful for the fight and will never forget that fish..........

I'm still searching for my true 20#er.........

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Old 03-29-2017, 08:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Chinook in the 60/70 lb range.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Fly Fishing last summer, Eastern Oregon, you know the river. I'm stripping a big streamer near dusk with a salmon type of take down.The fight was good but cut short because a guy I was fishing with about 15 yards downstream nets the Brown Trout in one of those measure nets, which measures 28 inches total.
The fish was sticking up well beyond the 28 inches on both side of the net, probably about 5 inches on each side.
Around a 38-40 inch Brown, on a 5 weight.

Before I could stop him, he tries to lift the fish out of the net and hand it to me.
You guess it, flip, slip and see you.

Technically caught, but only two sets of eyes saw it, and I don't even know the guy, I had just met him.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

"Nothing will make a fish bigger than nearly being caught"

For me there are two etched in my memory.


1. Mako in the 300-400# class. Cabo. My wife and I were on a fairly low rent cruiser, doing the usual offshore troll. the Hand spotted a finning fish as we approached and prepped a live "caballito" the skipper says "Tiburon, grande, Mako"

We pitched him a bait on the way past and he rolled and ate it. It was on. Most amazing fish I've ever seen. Flipping out of the water end over end splashing like Shamu. It would jump 10' out of the water. Simply an amazing display. The skipper angled and chased and I wound hard. 40# mono straight to the hook on a basic 40 wide single speed reel.

The fish settled after about 40 minutes and came to the stern facing the boat about 10' down. It was magnificent. Pectoral fins as wide as the boat. Way bigger around than I could have wrapped my hands around by half.

I was yelling at my wife to take a picture but she refuse to come to the rail since she had seen it jumping. About then he laid on his side and started twisting and writhing. Finally nicked the line and he was gone.

2. Chinook out of Winchester Bay in my old Willie sled. My then 11 year old daughter (she's 23 now) and I were camped at Windy Bend and ran out for an afternoon troll around outside the mouth. Caught a couple cohos and were trolling back, her rod went off and it was a nice mid teen Chinook. She tagged out, stowed her rod and went to sleep. So I decided to do another lap with only my rod out.

My rod goes off and I leisurely leave it in the rod holder and line starts to melt off the reel very fast. As I pick up the rod I see the fish on the surface dragging the flasher and diver and making big S shapes with water sheeting over its back going mach 2.

The big buck settled down and I closed the gap little by little. I could see it below the surface and it was huge. I have landed multiple 50# Chinook and this was that big at least.

It was so spent that it had about quite fighting and I was lifting the dead weight of the fish upward. Huge mouth open. Facing up at me. I reeled down to the swivel and lifted again as I reached for the net without taking my eyes off this monster Chinook.

He shook his head one more time and the diver went flying past my head. He was about 3' deep off the side of the boat. The fish righted himself, shook his head a couple of times as he flared his gills. And slowly kicked his tail and disappeared.

I looked around and don't recall any other boats around me. My daughter was still dead asleep.

I sat back down in my chair and shook my head and headed in to make us dinner.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Back in 1975 My buddy and I were fishing across from Harry Morgan park on the Toutle. In April, the big steelhead used to come into the river at that time. My Dad caught a 31# hen the day before. I was using sand shrimp, hooked a big fish right under my feet, deep on my side of the river. First thing it did was run straight across the river and wrap around some good sized rocks. Had a guy on the other side cast our and get my line off the rocks. Proceed to play the fish for 2 1/2 hours, back and forth up and down the river, but it never went down as far as the canyon. I would have never seen it if it did. People offered to gaff it for me, but I said no. Don't like gaffing fish and it was legal then. Anyway, it finally was worn out (like me) and went into a back eddy below me at the top of the canyon under the bridge that used to be there. It turned on its side and the hook just popped out. It was only a size 4 and it must have worn a pretty good size hole in it's mouth. It was a great battle and I was glad I had it. I have only ever seen a steelhead 1 other time on the Bogachiel about 6 years ago. They are few and far between!
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:12 AM   #6
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Surf fishing in Encinitas, California. I was tossing a 1/2 oz swimbait right for California Halibut. Something hammered the lure just 15 feet out as I was completing a retrieve. Massively strong and fast, it ripped line, breaking off when the line rubbed against an exposed boulder. It had to be north of 30 pounds.

I wish I knew what it was. The water was only 20" deep. Big white seabass? Big halibut? Shark?
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:46 AM   #7
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Every fish I lost has been a monster!
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

I fly fish on occasion for both salmon and steelhead when I get bored of terminal tackle. Both of my most memorable fish came on the fly.

1. I was fishing steelhead with a couple of buddies, I hooked into a big winter fish and ripped me around the river. I knew he was fairly big but when I got a look at him I started hollering to my buddy to help land it. In this case, he was able to get his hands on him, lift him up and I was in awe. A huge native buck, easily in the 25-lb class fish and one I absolutely had to get a picture of. I threw down everything, got my camera, turned it on and as he was holding the fish in the water he took his hands off the tail so I could grab it and the fish made the most of the opportunity. Even though I landed it, I have forever cried I wasn't able to get a picture.

2. The one that got away. I was fly fishing for 'nooks and hooked a very big fish. I actually fought him for an hour up and down the river as my buddy waited until I had him close before he was going to set down his rod. I finally had the beast subdued and tried to start to beach him on the gravel bar. Due to how thick he was, his body hung up in 18" of water. My buddy was walking over to grab him and he did one last flop. The fly flipped out of his mouth and he laid there as my buddy was closing in on him. Realizing he was free, one flop later as I was screaming and plunging into the water he went back into the river. The fish easily cleared 60# and will haunt me forever. My biggest on the fly is 53# and several in the 40's. This one was in another class. That one is etched into my brain forever.

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Old 03-29-2017, 10:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

In ten years, I've only caught a couple of truly 30+ lb. hogs and I let them both go. I'm sure one was a tule. I really like salmon in the 20+ lb. range. That's still a lot of fish. It's just me, but I don't even think I'd know what to do with a 35+ lb. salmon. I'll take a 24-28 lb. salmon all day, every day.

I forgot, Tillamook Bay, October, about 6 years ago . . in front of the Coast Guard hole, channel marker, in coming tide, drifting to the rocks, big, bright, fin clipped, fall Chinook, got him to the side of the boat, got the net out, pulled the rod and leader over (nervous about those submerged boulders . . rubbed the leader against the gunnel . . buh bye prize salmon. He was a brute and I would have kept him for sure. I panicked and didn't wait to really tire him out. A novice error.

Fun to fight the hogs.

Last edited by Rykat; 03-29-2017 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:31 AM   #10
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Not really a trophy but kinda big. Down at Cabo, trolling for Blue Marlin. Big one comes in from the side and smacks the bleeding mackerel skirt. Was using heavy trolling gear so had to fight it from the chair. Got it up to the boat and the others were looking for the tagging stuff. Fish turned its head toward the boat and I said, better hurry, the hook is going to pull out! 5 seconds later it was gone. Est. 375 lbs.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:42 AM   #11
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I remember it well, I was 5 maybe 6. I was in a small creek bottom with my mitchell 300. I had a malfunction and I had line everywhere. So , there I sat trying to straighten things out , I was at it for awhile. Something caught my attention and as I looked there was a trout lying on its side trying to get my worm that was at the edge of the water. I froze, didn't know what to do. I watched as it wiggled closer to my worm, I swear it had lips! It got the end of the worm and was heading for open water! I quickly tried to find the line closest to the fish! I got ahold of the line just as it pulled free... I was broken... that trout has haunted me my whole life.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:45 AM   #12
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Lost what might have been my biggest steelhead ever on the fly last week. Will never know for sure but got some decent looks on video.

Forgetting the net, a couple moron moves and nowhere good to land the fish contributed to this disappointment. Oh also crap hooks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_I-4P7Npys

Last edited by Criddler; 03-29-2017 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:46 AM   #13
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I hooked a large chrome Chinook on the tilly jetty. After a long fight with a crowd watching I clambered down the jetty to attempt a landing while listening to my wife screaming that your life is not worth a stupid fish (Ya right!). In the end after several comical attempts to tail the monster, a seal came up and grabbed the salmon The worst part of it was listening to my wife tell me -I told ya so all the way back to Portland I have since converted one of my pool cleaning brush handles into a extend-o net for the next once in a life opportunity.

Last edited by uhmw; 03-29-2017 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:05 AM   #14
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Salmon river 2001. Lost a pig buck that was chrome as my truck bumper. Had it 10ft from the boat, took a run and bent my 4/0 gami straight. The 3 dudes that were with me have caught their fare share of king kong salmon and verified with me that it would of pushed 70. A couple days later on the river I heard from one of the local boys the hatchery trapped a 72# buck
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:17 AM   #15
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Hooked a giant fish in this beautiful run.... Fought it for 5 min and got a good look at it up close as it was fighting. The.... it turned and flat out left. took 120 yds of 20 pound Ultra Green like it was nothing. Totally spooled me. Landed this one in the same hole on the first cast the next day. Not even close to the side of the fish the day before



Pretty much reeled it in like a dog on a leash. Broke my heart even more thinking about how much bigger the one was that got away

JD

Last edited by JDarr; 03-29-2017 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:00 PM   #16
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Last August lost what I was told was about a 50# Chinook tossing spinners off the rocks at Half Moon. The guy that tried to net it for me is a local and said he had never seen a chinook that big hooked there in his 20 years of fishing it. Needless to say I and more people there did not allow him to try and net any more fish that day.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:20 PM   #17
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Five, maybe six years ago I was throwing a small ball of eggs under a certain bridge on a certain river during spring chinook season. During the drift I noticed my float would almost half dip under in a certain spot then pop right back up, assuming it was a snag I adjust my depth about a foot shallower. Next cast the float stood still in that same spot then half went under then just stood there still again. I just watched it all confused not sure what was going on and then all of a sudden the biggest spring chinook I have seen with my own eyes leaps out of the water whipping my float around in the air like a rag doll.
It suddenly dawns on me that this fish is on my line, with my hook in its mouth! I reel like a mad man trying to catch up to the fish and draw in all the slack just in time to see it surface again and throw the hook right up at me and the small patch of shore I am standing on. I never hooked another Springer the rest of that season.

I no longer wait to set the hook while float fishing.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Quote:
Originally Posted by Criddler View Post
Lost what might have been my biggest steelhead ever on the fly last week. Will never know for sure but got some decent looks on video.

Forgetting the net, a couple moron moves and nowhere good to land the fish contributed to this disappointment. Oh also crap hooks.
Cool video and yes, big fish.............
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Quote:
Originally Posted by Criddler View Post
Lost what might have been my biggest steelhead ever on the fly last week. Will never know for sure but got some decent looks on video.

Forgetting the net, a couple moron moves and nowhere good to land the fish contributed to this disappointment. Oh also crap hooks.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_I-4P7Npys

That was a nice one! Your buddy should have helped you out there.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Criddler, great video! getting the swing bite on video, then getting lots of good looks on video....that was a monster for sure! very cool, I think it's fair to call that fish caught. dandy!
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:51 PM   #21
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I was searching for a trophy winter steelhead on the upper reaches of an Oregon river in early April when I lost a monster. I was drift fishing a large spin-n-glo with a whole sand shrimp. There was no mistaking the bite as the fish nearly ripped the rod out of my hands when he decided to take my offering. I didn't see the fish for the longest time and my friend fishing with me thought for sure I had hooked a Spring Chinook. That all changed when we finally did see the fish roll on the surface and there was no mistaking the double striped buck. Unfortunately the fish rolled up in my leader and was able to use his body weight to pull the hook free. The guy fishing the other side of the river from me hooked up with a very large fish less than 5 minutes after I lost mine. The fish took off down river at an incredible speed and I could hear his drag peeling out from across the river. He was unable to follow the fish and had to break it off before being spooled. I think to this day that it was probably the same fish.

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Old 03-29-2017, 01:58 PM   #22
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I hooked and lost an atlantic salmon in NewBrunswick back in 05 or 06. It was an extremely low water year and hot. The fish were lethargic, the water super clear, and while you could see them sitting there, it was very difficult to get a look. We caught several small grilse during the week but no one was catching salmon. (grilse is essentially a jack, and anything bigger considered a salmon) Any atlantic salmon is a trophy for many but in our family the holy grail is breaking the 40# mark. I am not sure this would have done it but in my mind at the time there was no doubt.
We were fishing the 2nd drop in Jimmy's. A long cool deep run that is arguably the 2nd best pool on the river. roughly 60 river miles from the mouth, with great depth, a huge rock face that casts a lot of shade, and some springs that keep the water cool, Many of the biggest fish on the river end up holding in this pool through the summer months.
This is the exact spot i caught my first atlantic at 8yrs old many years ago on a submerged #2 brown bomber. Over the years that fish always stuck with me because of the untraditional method of a sunken, dead drifted fly. Plus it was 38 pounds and the biggest in the family for a long time. bragging rights always are a bonus.
In the doldrums of a season sometimes the local Mi'kmaq guides will revert back to some off the wall techniques like a submerged bomber to try things out and see if we can entice a strike. I believe that the act of a foreign object hitting the water is often the catalyst for a bite, regardless of what that item is. I have seen these fish eat foam suds.
One of these methods is dead drifting a classic hairwing wetfly- Fishing a "patten" as it is called by the guides. Essentially you fish a big wet as you would a dry, plopping it down so the tentacles of the fly spread out and present a buggy profile dead drifted for approximately 5 feet. This is repeated in arcs so that you cover all the water. It is a tough method to fish, not only to have the fly land properly, but with no line speed, it is a visual hook set. This is especially difficult with the clear water as you can watch a white lipped silver torpedo raise off the bottom and move 10 feet to your fly, inhale it, and then you MUST wait for up to a 50" fish to turn before you set the hook.
So after fishing all week with no salmon to show for it, i decided to drift a 2/0 Red Abbey off the same point i caught my first salmon years earlier. on about my fifth cast as i started to lengthen my distance and cover the deeper slot, i saw a fish come up and refuse the fly. Definitely a big salmon. Common practice here is to rest the fish, wait a minute or better before making another presentation. So we waited, and made the same cast. Again it was refused. The fish raising up higher off the bottom again to give us a better look but still not committing to eat. We all got a good look this time and confirmed it was a solid fish. After resting him again, we tried the red abbey one last time. The white gums lifting off the bottom and appearing out of the depths are one of my favorite images. He turned on the fly and i set the hook. I could feel the hook slide in his mouth before burying home. A fish on finally, and a big one.
The ensuing runs and battle are not much in my memory today. I know he took me into my backing and deep down into the bottom of the pool where he sulked. I was unable to budge him off the bottom with the 8wt Scott i was fishing that day. After 20 minutes of fighting i began to get this sickening feeling. he was turning on the bottom of the pool, Rubbing the fly and his face in the gravel. My heart dropped, I knew in that moment i was not going to land that fish. A couple of moments later he was off. It sticks with me to this day...
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:01 PM   #23
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That was a nice one! Your buddy should have helped you out there.
Yeah I asked him to tail it, but he didn't want to be the one to break it off, so I did the honors haha.
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:02 PM   #24
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Criddler, great video! getting the swing bite on video, then getting lots of good looks on video....that was a monster for sure! very cool, I think it's fair to call that fish caught. dandy!
We have lots of disappointing footage on camera, but the grab is the best part!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5ZCt1ISyxM
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:14 PM   #25
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Hooked a giant fish in this beautiful run.... Fought it for 5 min and got a good look at it up close as it was fighting. The.... it turned and flat out left. took 120 yds of 20 pound Ultra Green like it was nothing. Totally spooled me. Landed this one in the same hole on the first cast the next day. Not even close to the side of the fish the day before



Pretty much reeled it in like a dog on a leash. Broke my heart even more thinking about how much bigger the one was that got away

JD
That's a beauty. Looks like it may have escaped a gill net.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:17 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Criddler View Post
Lost what might have been my biggest steelhead ever on the fly last week. Will never know for sure but got some decent looks on video.

Forgetting the net, a couple moron moves and nowhere good to land the fish contributed to this disappointment. Oh also crap hooks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_I-4P7Npys
That fish was massive...
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Criddler View Post
Lost what might have been my biggest steelhead ever on the fly last week. Will never know for sure but got some decent looks on video.

Forgetting the net, a couple moron moves and nowhere good to land the fish contributed to this disappointment. Oh also crap hooks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_I-4P7Npys
A ProMar bag in your buddy's hands would have made ALL the difference in the world.

So too would a sloping beach.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:14 PM   #28
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

I have lost the biggest Chinook, and biggest steelhead, and biggest sturgeon I have hooked.

Chinook, long time ago on the salmon river, hooked it right at high slack in my boat, fish broke water quick, we all knew it was big, and it was a good scenario. I fought it around for awhile, my buddy tied up in his boat next to me was going to net it...nothing special about the fight..I got it up in front of us, and it swam by slowly right under the surface right in front of us, it was a giant...tired but not ready, it went on one more run, with not much steam left, and got me into some wood I couldn't find again if I tried...after a bit of trying to clear it, I decided to just pull it back through, it was tired, and I had heavy leader....I must have spooked it doing so, and it must have hung my lead up, because it went through my 50lb leader easily...maybe there were barnacles on the branch it was in? Lucky fish.

Steelhead...a few years ago, new years day, South coast...I had a couple hours after work to fish, second hole in fished, I hooked what I figured was a fall Chinook, still plenty of them around at that time...I was pigging on it, trying not to waste time when it came up in front of me...holy $#**! Big red striped buck....really big! Again, nothing epic about the battle, and I had him tired with no place to tail him...I was bummed because I knew any pictures of him I could get would not do him justice, and I would have to drag him way down to get a tape on him which I was'nt going to do, when he made another run out in the middle, started head shaking, and got rid of my hook...that was just how that was supposed to end.

Sturgeon, Tillamook Bay off the bank, caught a couple keeper class fish that tide already, nice evening, my buddy calls, I'm talking to him and see a pop on the rod tip...gotta go...I pick up the rod, and the bite progresses faster than normal and I set hook into a solid mass, after a little hesitation, head shakes start...then off he goes! Made it to the opposite shallows with one hard run and jumps twice...it was immense! It started thrashing around on the far side, I eased off on the pressure to calm it down, it rolled up in my linexpensive and cut it a elf off with minimal pressure...short fight, but an intense one.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:16 PM   #29
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

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Originally Posted by eyeFISH View Post
A ProMar bag in your buddy's hands would have made ALL the difference in the world.

So too would a sloping beach.
OR a soft spot to fight it in..that looked very tough with current right up to the bank...I have been there a couple times this winter.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:19 PM   #30
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

No regrets here.... I've landed EVERY trophy fish I've ever hooked.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:20 PM   #31
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Now all the trophy fish lost by others on my boat.... well HELL that's another story.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:35 PM   #32
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So it was Christmas day 2004, or 2005.

My dad and I had a plan, we were gonna open presents with mom and rush out to Eagle Creek to try and get there first, then we were gonna catch the first steelhead of the winter.

So the morning kinda goes according to plan.

Presents are opened. My girlfriend at the time had gifted me a set of First Cast jigs that I was super excited to try. My dad gifted himself a really nice Canon digital camera, and 12 years ago any digital camera was an expensive camera.

We pile into the truck and head to the park. And WE ARE FIRST!

We hike down to the confluence and the Clackamas looks fantastic.

We claim the primo spot and start to fish. My dad has one on for a minute that shakes the hook. I finally give up on drift fishing and start with the jigs, and I hook into a nice one.

So I'm fighting the fish, my dad is busily taking pictures of me fighting the fish and I get it to the bank. It's not a trophy but it's a pretty nice hatchery brat. I'm stoked, I'm already tasting fillets on the grill. My dad steps into help land the fish.

He grabs the line and the line instantly snaps.

In the next instant two things happen. The fish flops into the river, and my dad tries to tackle the fish. It was no use. The fish was gone. To add insult to injury, my dad's new camera fell out of his vest pocket and went after the fish.

It's taken 12 years of technological progress but cameras are cheap enough that we can finally ignore the camera part of the story and finally focus on what's really important: My dad lost my Christmas fish!
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:02 PM   #33
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I was fishing with my cousin on the Skykomish about 20 years ago or so. We were fishing for summer steelhead right before we had to get back to Wazzu. We started at daylight and fished with no success. About 11:00am my cousin and I were BS'ing on a huge rock. I asked him for a snap swivel and he dug around in his vest for a while and handed me one. I tied it on to my 6lb test, which was attached to a light trout rod, put on a silver Steelee and cast it out across the pool. I let the spoon drift through the hole and work down below the rock we were standing on. It worked there for a moment and my little trout rod folded over. The biggest steelhead I have ever hooked rocketed out of the water. It raced up and down the run, jumping over and over. All the while I am freaked out about the 6lb test I was using. We battled for a while and finally I started to gain on the great fish. Ever so gently lifting up on the rod, then reeling down. I get the fish about 10 feet away from us and the line goes slack! Darn it! This was easily the biggest steelie I had ever hooked. No 20lber or anything but a good 15 pounds at least. Well, I can accept it, I was using ultra-light gear and the line broke.....or so I thought. I reel it up and low and behold, line was intact. The snap swivel that my cousin had given me had straightened out!! I was so disappointed. I got over it but my cousin and I still have a good laugh about it.
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Old 03-30-2017, 01:10 AM   #34
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Two years ago we were fishing the ELK River for Fall Chinook, and were in the Quiet hole back-bouncing roe. I had already hooked and landed one adult fish, and my friend had hooked one and lost it. We continued to fish and I felt a TUG TUG TUG TUG TUG and I set the hook jerking the rod to the sky! The rod doubled over and the top half of the rod was in the water and line peeling off the spool. I continued to fight this fish and it was heavy! I would pull up and reel down but the top half of the rod would never come out of the water! I fought this fish for about 7-8 minutes and the line snapped, and he was gone. We never saw the fish because he stayed down and never surfaced. I could not get him close to the boat. I have never been so excited about fish I didn't catch until that day! It was the fight of a life time!

Sometimes the trophies that we don't land or see are just as exciting to talk about and share the memory with others as the ones we do catch.

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Old 03-30-2017, 06:30 AM   #35
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Years ago my grandpa and I decided to hit the lower Columbia and cast some spinners for Chinook on Memorial Day weekend. We motor the boat out, find the water we are looking for, drop the anchor, and make our first cast. As I'm reeling in my offering, I can begin to see the flash from my spinner as its about 15-20ft out. When it gets to about 10ft away from the end of my rod, a giant shadow following behind the spinner appears and decides to grab it giving me a perfect side view as it turned, shook it's head for a few moments, and eventually made its initial run away from the boat. It was by far the largest Chinook I've ever had on the end of my line. I fought that fish for the next half hour never seeing more than just swirl of water on the surface never any closer than 20 yards from the boat. Eventually, the fish decided to return my spinner to me in a very non-dramatic fashion. Heartbroken, we got back to our anchored position and proceeded to cast out our offerings. I probably made 3 more casts and hooked into another fish which eventually came to the boat. A half hour later, and my grand father hooked into a fish which he ended up landing as well. The fish we caught weighed 26lbs (mine) and 36lbs (grandpa's). The fish that I lost was considerably larger than the 36lb fish caught by my grandpa. I have no doubt it was well in the 40+ range which is a threshold I am still trying to surpass to this day.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:23 AM   #36
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Buoy 10 roughly 15 years ago. It was early in the month, so we ran out to 10 at low tide and we're waiting for some fish to push in. I'm fishing with a good friend, and a guy he invited along that I had never met, however this guy rattled off a heck of a supposed fishing resume the night before in camp.

The tide starts in and we start hooking some fish. We're doing better than most around us, so boats are converging on our position. It's crowded enough and the current is now pushing enough that I stay on the kicker to let the other guys fight and net fish.

The big incoming rip hits and now we are getting pushed back slowly even with the kicker throttle cranked pretty good. The rods are pulling HARD.

Suddenly my rod sticking straight out the stern just buries as the reel sings at a pace normally heard when you hook your own prop. It's on!

I grab my rod and instantly know it has to be a huge chinook. I pass kicker duties to Tom and we somehow maneuver through the crowd without a tangle. We slowly drift back to around 12 as I continue the see-saw battle with an obvious monster. I feel him start to fade and order the other guy to grab the net. This is where it all goes wrong.

The beast emerges from the depths and he is a GIANT bronze tule buck! He looked like a half sheet of plywood laying on his side in the water.

The new guy starts to go for him with the net, sees his size, and panics. The fish takes off, but is still hooked. We've missed chance 1, but fish is still on, no biggie.

New guy puts down first net and grabs my second net with bigger hoop. Good idea as the fish may not have fit in the coho net.

I bring the fish alongside again, obviously tired and laying on its side. New guy starts to dip, gets cold feet, and slightly grazes fishe with net. The beast dives again peeling line. Chance two missed, but amazingly he's still on!

Everyone has had a good look at the fish twice now and talk is that it could exceed 60.

I try to coach new guy about the net as I'm locked in a death battle with Tulezilla. I should have made Tom take the net, but new guy would have likely just ran over my line with the kicker, he was pretty inept.

I get the fish next to the boat a third time!

The fish is laying on his side for a perfect net shot. New guy starts to dip and panics again. This time as he prematurely pulls the net back he catches a trail hook and pops my leader! Fish off!

The fish was so tired he just layed there on his side a couple seconds. Had new guy been fast he could have still netted him!

But suddenly the fish made one big kick for freedom. One big tail slapping splash and he was gone.

I would have at least liked to held him briefly, or got a quick picture.

I believe that fish went every bit of 55 pounds, and maybe could have been 60.

Of all the fish I've hooked since, none have been remotely close to that size.
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:14 AM   #37
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Remembered another from this year. This probably was the biggest steelhead I have ever had on the other end of my line, fly or gear. Look at the size of that tail at :17 seconds in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTes...kjOSd9&index=2

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Old 03-30-2017, 12:14 PM   #38
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

This one goes back to the mid 60's fishing winter steelhead on a north coast river. I hadn't hooked anything all morning and decided to walk downriver to a beautiful hole I had caught fish out of previously. I hooked this fish in the tailout on a yarn/eggs rig and in less time than it takes to tell about the fish past me where I was standing about midway in the pool and jumped out of the water at the base of a Class V rapids that dumped into the hole above me. There was so much tension on my line when it jumped that when it threw the hook everything including my bait was neatly coiled up in the sand at my feet. Having landed and weighed three fish caught in later years that went 20, 21 and 25 lbs this one in my estimation was probably in the upper 20's. Hooked and landed a 14lb hen, on the next cast, out of the exact same spot where I had hooked the big fish earlier.
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:19 PM   #39
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About 15 years ago fishing off of the Newport jetty, was catching a few bass using jigs. After a few hours of this I decided to switch rods and put a larger size jig on in hopes of catching a big ling. Well about 5 casts in after the change my jig gets absolutely smashed and the reel is instantly sizzling, Luckily I had switched over to my steelhead rod when I made the heavier jig switch because this thing was huge. Fought it for a good 20-30 minutes and finally it started to give in just a little. I was yelling at the top of my lungs for my buddy to bring the net as he was a ways down and could not hear me. Eventually I see him walking back towards me and get his attention. He comes hauling ass down the rocks as I had the fish about 30' from shore, I was laying the wood to this thing( a little to much wood) and it was now about 10' away, we both saw it and noticed how big it was, probably 5' long and would guess at least 100 pounds. Well, remember the too much wood, the fish made one last thrash and snapped my line. It was a learning experience for sure. Was in too big of a hurry to land that beast.
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Old 03-30-2017, 01:53 PM   #40
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Maybe 15 years ago we were casting wiggle warts for silvers at the mouth of the Klickitat. A big fish hit right along the sandbar drop and took off downstream, basically towing us along in a 20 footer. After about 45 minutes we were down by the railroad tunnels on the Washington side and he was tiring enough that I managed to get him close enough to get a good look at him but not quite close enough to net. He finally made a run around the boat, rolled on the surface, and the hook came out. The largest chinook I've ever landed was 38 pounds, and this one was a lot bigger than that. And then there was the big muskie while fishing with my brother-in-law in Minnesota. To put it in perspective, my BIL has fished there for 30 years and never caught a muskie over 20 inches, and the one I hooked, fought and eventually lost, looked to be close to 4 feet. I still haven't caught a muskie.
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:16 AM   #41
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

A close to 20lbs.(fishing partners estimation) wild winter steelhead just up from the Kansas Creek bridge on the Wilson. He got into the faster water and straightened out the hook on the Beau-Mac jig I was using.
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:29 PM   #42
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

In over the past 50 years I have hooked into multiple large fish of different species. In 1995 while fishing off the northern tip of Vancouver Island we hooked into what we presumed was a monster halibut because the week before someone caught a halibut weighing in at 235 pounds in the same location. The fish was hooked in 165 feet of water. The struggle lasted for 1 hour and 45 minutes before the 65 pound Tuffline broke. We lost the fish in 120 feet of water having never seen the fish. It was one of those monsters that we could never get very far off the bottom and it literally towed our 19 foot boat around during the entire battle.
The largest Chinook I have ever landed was 48 pounds and I have caught many over 30 pounds so I think that I have a pretty good eye for the size of a fish. That being said, in 1998 I lost a wild Springer at the boat while fishing the Columbia that looked like a 35 pound Fall Chinook. It was the biggest Springer I have ever seen.
While fishing in Northern B.C. 2 years ago for steelhead I lost the 2 biggest steelhead that I have ever hooked. The first one was hooked on a spoon and I saw this beautiful fish jump out of the water several times during the 15 minute fight. While reeling the exhausted fish toward shore all I could see was about 4 inches of his tail sticking out of the water but I still could not see his back. About 10 feet from shore he shook his head one last time, throwing the spoon. He then did a slow turn and disappeared back into the river while I watched that huge tail submerge. Two days later, while fishing the same river I threw a home made spinner into a pocket on the far side of the river. After letting the spinner sink, I began my retrieve and thought that I was hung up on the bottom. I gave a big jerk trying to free the spinner and to my astonishment I got a big yank coming back. I was unable to move the fish against the current for at least several minutes and then the fish decided to move out into the middle of the river where it once again stopped and I was unable to gain any headway. After several more minutes of pulling against this monster it made a headlong run directly at me. I was reeling as fast as I could when the fish leapt out the water directly in front me at about 8 feet in front of my face and splashed down making an unstoppable run down stream. I thought that he was going to spool me so I tried to slow him down by applying more pressure to the spool when he broke my leader. I was absolutely stunned by the size of this fish because it looked like a 30 + pound Chinook. Just having hooked into a monster like that made the trip for me. Later in this trip I landed a 24 pound steelhead and it paled in comparison to the one that I just described. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
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Old 04-02-2017, 12:32 AM   #43
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No regrets here.... I've landed EVERY trophy fish I've ever hooked.

Gonna have to make a partial retraction, here. Regrets about losing a trophy... yes. Actually hooking it .... no.

Here's the story....

.
.
.


July 27, 1998. My stubbornly argumentative brother Noel and I are backtrolling the very top of the Eagle Rock drift (yes, back when it was legal to do so!) when his line angle starts going vertical.

"Pick up your gear," I bark. "You're hung up"

"No I'm NOT," he rebuts. "Look... my plug is still working." Indeed, his rod tip seemed to indicate that it was. HMMMM

"Well if that's the case, your diver's hung up and your mainline is sliding thru. Pick it up," I insist.

"OK... I guess, you're right," he finally admits once his line angle becomes even more vertical. As he starts his retrieve to take up the HUGE downstream belly in the line, his line angle is now pointing straight upriver.

"$h!t It's hung up WAY above us," he says with disgust. "Motor up," he orders, as line slowly begins to leave his reel.

"I told you to jump on that way up there," I scolded. "Now we're f'd. I'm gonna be pi$$ed if we lose that swimmer."

I proceed to get my gear out of the water, not wanting to drag my goods upriver with the boat and chance snagging up another good plug. Once my gear is cleared, I start powering slowly upriver. Noel loosens his drag to take some pressure off his gear until we were making good headway.

"Motor up," he insists.

"I'm motoring," I fire back.

"JFC... motor up, I'm still losing line," he barks impatiently.

"GDI... I AM motoring up" I insist. "Look at the wake behind the boat! You see that boat we were just backtrolling next to... it's WAY the hell down there now."

At that point the obvious FINALLY hits us both....

FISH! ! !


That sucker didn't even know we had a hold of him. He just kept powering upriver on a slow steady oblivious march. At that point, Noel tightened his drag back up and started reefing back on Moby. The giant king responded by running upriver even harder and rolling on the surface directly away from us. We both gawked at each other as we realized that barrel-chested beast was the biggest king either of us has ever latched onto.

We follow the fish up to Pillars where we could finally catch up alongside the beast. Noel is giving his gear maximum side pressure to keep him out of the brush and sweepers as we finally start to slowly drift back downriver under power with the fish.

A half hour into the fight, Noel is whipped and says, "Here, you take it!"

My brother NEVER gives up on a fish, but he'd been giving it 100% for far too long.... longer than he'd ever fought a Kenai king. With fresh energy, I continue the battle with maximum pressure on the fish. As we drift past Eagle Rock, I'm finally able to get that fish closer to the boat, but he's no where near tired. I lift with everything I've got until I can see my K16 Green Machine come to the surface. But Holy Krap! Where's the fish???

I'm pegged to the bead and lift with everything I've got, raising the Kwik off the surface... only to find it had snagged the swivel of another leader still attached to the fish!



We hadn't hooked the fish at all! The plug somehow miraculously found the eye of that swivel attached to another leader obviously being drug around by the trophy king after it had previously left some sorry chap with a mainline knot failure!

So here we are with an 8.5 ft rod and at least 9 ft of leader and a KwikFish between us and the biggest king of our lives.

"OK... let's go beach this thing," I tell my brother.

"Nah... just wear him out," he says

"We'll never get this thing close enough for a net shot," I insist. "Head for the beach"

"Don't be such a puss," he says insultingly. "Just wear him out..."

"I'm lifting so hard I'm about to explode this rod... head to the beach!"

Well it went back and forth like this for the next 15 minutes as we float past one of the very best and longest bars on the entire lower river to beach a big king. By the time, my brother finally admits I'm right, we're out of beach and the bottom is dropping out beneath us.

"OK.... we'll tow him back across the Crossover and beach him on the Convergence Bar below. We start ferrying slowly crosscurrent with the now tired fish in steady tow, I'm thinking it'll all be over in less than five minutes if we can just tow him down to that next bar. But before we're even a third of the way across the river.... the hook suddenly pulls free!

N-O-O-O-O-O-O ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

With that fish already fighting and breaking off one angler.... followed by another 45-plus minute tussle of grueling pressure with the Bros eyeFISH, the magnum 8/0 hook finally tore out of the fish... our only souvenir from the battle of our lives! Well, I shouldn't be so glib.... we were also rewarded with 3 ft of 80# mono leader and a worthless one-winged Zebra Spin-n-Glo.

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Old 04-02-2017, 04:06 AM   #44
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Default Re: Trophy Fish You've Lost

Good stories.
Back in the '70's I think. Learned of a creek called Chevlon in N. Arizona. In a very, very remote canyon off the beaten path along the Mogollion Rim. The creek/river gets huge seasonal runoff making for long deep pools, say 300 yards long, 100 wide and really, really deep. Very undercut bank and walking up to this one hole, a submarine darted out from under the edge. The fish looked 4 feet long. (Brown Trout).

I am an avid flyfisherman. I tie my own stuff and had taken a basic kit with me down there to match the hatch. Black with red bugs. Fished all day, catching many fish in the 24" range and releasing. Fishing at dusk, I got a rise and subsequently a fish on. I was mid pool. First ran up stream, then back down, and then back up again, when my leader snapped. For several years I tried to catch that fish. Times one could get up in a tree and see it laying out in the deep water.

I never told anyone except family until about 8 years later someone caught that fish, at high water with a worm on 50# test. Was and I think still is the Arizona State record for brown trout. It was like 36 pounds.
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