The Big One Got Away

Dwayne in Weld

Fishing in Maine in the winter can be a lot of fun and very cold at times. I decided to go fishing for the day not far from where I live. I went to the garage and retrieved my ice-fishing traps. I grabbed my Jiffy ice auger, and my bucket for bait. Several stores around here sell bait during the winter. The truck was started early so it would be nice and toasty when I hopped in it. Off to the store I went to get those shiners, little fish that shine. I like them because they are tough as nails and don’t die off easy. I told the store clerk I wanted a dozen, she asked me so how many do you want? Huh? I told her a bakers dozen, Huh? Alright I said 12, bakers is a little extra. I drove to the lake to meet a friend who was just taking up fishing and was really excited to start. We met at the lake and I look up and see and eagle soaring around looking for left over bait. This is bait that is not performing, or was hit by a fish and all chewed up. Hi Joe! I wave to my friend and he is so excited to start. I get out my Jiffy ice auger and start it up. Varoom! Varoom! You can only drill five holes or only have five lines in the water per license holder. I still can understand why the State Inland Fisheries couldn’t make it easy with six lines in the water. So off drilling holes and its time to put them in the water with bait. I hear a loud piercing noise and look up into the sky. There is the eagle again, looking at me with those piercing eyes like he want to eat me. The lines are all set and I’m waiting for the trap to go off. When you get a fish bite the flag fly up and someone hollers FLAG. Another thing that happens when your fishing is you drink a lot of coffee, just kidding, that is good for peeing. Beer really is the energy drink for ice fisherman. The extra high energy is from eating wild game, usually deer meat. FLAG my friend yells! I’m off to a mad sprint, well walk with a skip for me. We both get to the trap at the same time and the reel on the trap is spinning. I wait for it to slow down a bit because I don’t want my  hand to get rope burn. Ok I grab the line in my hand and give it a quick tug. This sets the hook in the fishes mouth hopefully. Well I feel the line has some weight on it so I believe at this point the fish is on. I start pulling up the line without I must add getting it tangled and get the fish up to the hole. Wow, my friend tells me it is a huge monster fish. The mouth starts coming out of the water and I’m getting excited myself. I get the fish halfway out of the hole and it slips back into the hole. I reach with all my quickness and try to scoop him out of the hole. You know those suckers are slippery for a reason because you only get a chance with a hook and not a chance with your hands. The big fish slips back through the ice and eludes me this time. I hear that noise again, I look up and the eagle is laughing. I’m taking up hunting next. The picture above is me in Weld, Maine. This trout didn’t get away. Webb Lake

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