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Big Dreams...Big Fish!

Aug 17, 2007
Five more months of this obscenely cold weather with its snow, ice and freezing winds and I can take my annual vacation, relaxing for a week on a beautiful, warm and sunny beach in northern Florida. Just imagining the sun and salty air enveloping me sends a shudder down my spine. I know somewhere out in the Gulf of Mexico there are fish that I didn't catch last year that are hungry for whatever kind of bait I'll be throwing out! They won't be able to help themselves!

Unfortunately I've had nightmares almost every night since last June. It's the same dream every time. In living, breathing color, it's the ghost of the one that got away! In my dream, after the fishing line has parted with a firecracker snap, a huge fish of indeterminate specie makes a huge leap out of the water. Then for a moment it stands on its tail and with a grin, waves at me with one of his fins.

This is a sad story, but true, of the hold fishing has on a person of otherwise reasonable intelligence. I've been fishing most of my life and rarely have I been so consumed by a fish that escaped my hook! After torturing my brain for months, trying to figure out what kind of monster made my line break after running over two hundred feet of line off my reel, I have finally come to a conclusion! Whatever specie of fish that made off with my shrimp that day must have been a world record!

To think that I was within minutes of landing a world record fish and couldn't bring him in is a disheartening experience. Just a short distance away from a world record is mind boggling. I don't know what kind of fish was attempting to catapult me into the fishing hall of fame, but I firmly believe he is waiting out there close to where we first met and is going to give me a chance to redeem myself!

At the time I was fighting this monster, it was in late June and hot. That is the kind of weather that brings Pompano cruising up and down the gulf. This is why I think it might have been a pompano that stretched my line that day. Pompano, (Trachinotus Carolinus), usually are in the 1-3 pound class; the Florida state record is 8 pounds. The one that I lost had to have been much, much larger; I'm guessing 15 to 20 pounds from the way he pulled on my line.

Knowing that pompanos are bottom feeders dining on mussels, small crabs and shrimp, leads me to believe that this is the fish that gave me a fight to remember. Since they do not eat fish and I was using their food of choice as bait, it's a further indication of the specie I was trying to bring to shore.

It's possible that it could also have been a flounder since I was fishing in an area known for their big flounder. They also eat shrimp as well as mullet, anchovies and other small fish. Unfortunately they do not put up a great fight when hooked, leading me to believe that my fish was not a flounder.

Redfish is another fish that could have attacked my bait but since I was fishing more on the coast than in the bay areas, or any of the bayous and marshes that are in this area of Florida, if it was a redfish he must have been lost.

Maybe it was a shark. I've caught several small Black Tip sharks in the 10-15 pound range off the beach here in the Apalachicola area and they hit like a freight train and keep moving out to sea. I will never know what I hooked that day, but that doesn't keep me from dreaming about how large the fish was that got away.

A line that has been attributed to Donald Trump reads, "As long as you're going to dream anyway, you may as well dream big." That applies to most of us fishermen, always dreaming about catching the big one. It's funny but in our dreams we never see the little fish.
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, holiday eating and leisure living.
Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
http://www.bluemarlinbob.com
http://www.bobalexander.ws
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