Seriously, this fish story is true
When friends ask me about my biggest bass, I talk about the big one that got away. And you know the kind of looks I get.
But I’ll swear on a stack of Bibles, it really happened.
It was in the 1980s, and I was fishing with one of my heroes, Virgil Ward
, on his farm pond in western Missouri. I was doing a story for my new employer, The Kansas City Star, and I wanted to relate some on-the-water action.
Ward’s crew was filming us for a segment on his TV show “Championship Fishing.” It was supposed to be a film on fishing for big crappies, and we got plenty of good footage.
When I hooked one good-sized fish, the cameraman told me to take my time brining it in so that he could get some good action shots. When I reeled it up near the boat, a dark shadow emerged from the depths and closed in on the crappie I was fighting.
It finally rose and I watched the biggest bass I have ever seen inhale that panfish like it was a small minnow.
I remember stammering to the cameraman, “Did you get that?” He gave me a thumbs up and kept filming.
Virgil instructed me to open the bail on my spinning reel and let the bass swallow the crappie. I did and waited a while before I started slowly reeling my line in. The bass was still there and I knew my ultralight was no match for the huge bass. I opted to just lead her to the surface, where maybe we could net her.
Good strategy, but it didn’t work. As the line tightened, the bass decided to fight and I lost. All I had for the experience was a mangled crappie that looked like it had been in a train wreck.
That’s my story and I am sticking to it.