by Evelyn Minsterman

July 8, 2000, was a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, one of those days when fishing takes priority. I was fishing off our dock, just killing time until my husband got ready to take a ride to get some bait. We were almost out of worms and, after a few minutes, all I had left on my hook was a slivered remnant of a nightcrawler.

Instead of rebaiting, I walked to the other end of the dock and made a cast. The water there is–maximum–three feet deep. I was using an older Shakespeare outfit and had a bobber on my line to drift the worm off the bottom.

As soon as the bobber settled, it disappeared, moving steadily away from our dock. I set the hook and held fast to the largest fish I had ever hooked! All I could think of was, "What do I do now?" I knew that I couldn't walk the fish to the other end of the dock, where the net was propped up. It would wrap my line around the dock's poles. I even thought of jumping in and playing the fish in the water!

Fortunately, my husband walked out of our house to tell me about a telephone call. I screamed, "Get a net!" He dashed down to the water and, in his haste, nearly fell off the dock. By then, some neighbors had gathered to watch the show. People speculated about what the fish was. My husband thought it had to be a carp. One neighbor said that only a sheepshead could fight that way. Then, the fish broke water and reality set in.

It was a largemouth bass. It was 22 inches long, had a 14 inch girth, and weighed 10 pounds 2 ounces. Later, I learned that the fish was a big largemouth for any lake.