What's the biggest fish you.....


Now come on folks, I’m a fisherman too and I know we all have that one story that we can tell when we’re sitting around the campfire, exaggerated or not, let’s hear em’

  • Mine is this: I was yak fishing for smallies on the Elk River in Missouri when I landed a biggun’. He started pulling my 12.5’ yak around in the water and the drag started screaming. I just knew I was about to land a 20" smallmouth when… I’m pretty sure I saw him jump, and I’m pretty sure he was a greenie, and I’m pretty sure he was 3-4lbs, but I’ll never know because he spit out the lure!!

    As you can tell the first half is 100% true and the second half, I’m pretty sure I continue to use my imagination to have it be as big as it was, either way it was the biggest fish that I half caught that got away…

I never caught a whale shark.
The biggest fish that I’ve had on the line I never saw. I was fishing for bluegills with an ultralight outfit and 4lb test mono line. I had a fish on when all of a sudden the line started shooting out. It broke off before I could see it. There’s muskie in that water and also big catfish. The latter is my guess.

Once when surf fishing, I had something on big enough to put a parabolic arc in a 9’ MH surf rod. It was stripping line like crazy, then I’d turn it and retrieve some line, then it would strip, then I’d turn it and retrive some line. This went on for a good while. I don’t know how long. My wife said probably ten minutes, but I just honestly don’t know because of the time altering affects of adrenaline. After my biggest retrieve to that point, it made a VERY strong run, smoked my drag, and broke off 50lb test braid. I have no clue what it was. If I were forced to guess, it would be a big bluefish whose teeth wore through the line or a big striper whose gills cut the line. I was going for stripers, and blues were around. If it was a striper, it was bigger than the largest I’ve ever fought, and that one went 43" and over 40lbs.

  • Big D

No idea… I suspect a 7’ plus Bull
Shark… All I know is the line started screaming off the reel, and I grabbed the rod and set the hook… Fought for a good 15 minutes when suddenly my line went slack… I reeled in the clean cut end of 80 lb mono…


that’s a loaded question , because …

– Last Updated: Apr-10-09 12:14 AM EST –

..... of the many different species that are chased and hunted for .

I consider size/weight relevant to the species , I'm sure we all understand this pretty well ... also fairly certain we all have our favorites too .

Mine would be Stripers, Musky, Smallmouth, Jackpike, Northerns, Crappie, and I'll throw in Largemouth . Although I'm not opposed to spending some time for other species if that's what happening at the time .

Now for each given species , the biggest one that got away ... would have been the biggest fish of it's species ever recorded on record from the waters of which it was swimming , had I landed it .

What's that you say , "I'm being a bit optimistic" ?? ... yeah , you're correct , but don't tell anybody OK !!

I have a gazzillion monster stories about the one that got away , all are fondly remembered ... and many a fish has earned my respect !!

In many cases (but not all) I was outclassed by the fish . Basically that means my line wasn't heavy enough !! In general I use a light line for the species I'm after , but I get frustrated more than not when one breaks off . It's a ballancing act ya know , most of the time the line is sufficient , up to the task at hand . IMHO , light line is what makes it "sport" , the challenge !!

Too many stories to pick from but here's one anyway .

Used to spend a lot of time working this particular reservoir , one rather hot and humid day I worked hard in every nook and cranny I knew , pulled out all the stops but it just didn't pan out too well for me this day , a couple /few little ones . A lot of work with not much reward , happens ya know !!

As reservoir close time was nearing (Loch Raven) I find myself back in a cove reasonably near (10 mins.)to the launch , hiding in some shade half heartedly taking my final opportunities to cast a few more ... out in the distance I hear and see the sweeper coming over my way (this is the power boat dude who sweeps the reservoir up near closing time , chasing the irresponsibles like myself back into the launch) .

He puts on a good show , high speeds right up to ya , washes ya with his wake and politely says , "you got 10 mins. to get back in , hurry it up" !! ... then floors it out of there . (only power boat allowed on lake, lol)

So that's it , I fire up the trolling motor and set a course straight out the centerline of the cove . Hey , why not just toss on that ol deep runner this old man gave me as a tip for some window work , and troll it behind , can't hurt anything , right ??

Problem is all I've brought was light light outfit today ... do it anyway , what's the odds ??

Here I am trolling this ol Hedon out of the cove , I feel it bouncing bottom , then comes a drop off and down , down she goes . I let out more line , must of had 130' or so dragging behind , mind ya this is 6 lb. test , lol . Then it happens , I hang a snag on a deep stump ... oh my heart is broken , what a way to end this particular day , fits just perfectly !! A great ol hedon collectors lure , no time and a fat chance to recover it anyway , might as well just tighten the drag and snap off .

I unwedge the rod , and begin to tighten the drag ... hesitant to give up so quickly , I start pulling the rod into a half circle , could it possibly be giving some ?? Holding tight and pulling , I get the notion that the line seems to be moving to the right a little . No that's not possible , it's an illussion , the boat must be turning , I shut off the motor .

Seems like many minutes passed as I just held the rod up high and tight trying to dismiss the fact that something might be on there ... Man there's a lot of line out !!

Then comes the undeniable fact , it is a fish and he is coming up to the surface . My line begins to show it's length , where it enters the water is stretching out away from me "fast" !!

I hear the power boat's engine again and turn to see him burning in on me from the distance , oh great , I'm in deep s**t , in more than one way now !!

You know how you can watch your line stretching out away from you and almost tell exactly when the fish will surface and break water ?? Well that's what happened , this was a Largmoyth Bass , and when he surfaced it was like a rocket . Surely he could have jumped over a standard table top when he went airborn ... this is no joke , it was the biggest Largemouth I had ever encountered , like the ones in the magazines or stuffed on wall plagues .

In mid air , it flipped and "SNAP" !!!!

The guy in the power boat arrived seconds afterwards . I said , sorry but I got delayed by this fish you see ?? He says , don't worry about it , I saw the whole thing . I said how big was that that fish you think ?? ... he said at least 10 bs. , it was huge , just don't be tryin for another one on the way in I want to go home tonight .

Moral to the story ... don't be trolling ol deep divin collector Hedon's in reservoirs on a light rod and 6 lb. test , unless all you want to do is have a story to tell about the "big one that got away" !!

ps., ... if you read all this , you deserve to catch bunches of fish real soon , and a few monsters for the scrap book too ... best of luck !!

How about the biggest ever landed?
I hooked a 42 inch Muskie while fishing from my solo canoe. He took me for a ride before I subdued him and brought him to the boat. I did not put him in the boat because he was under the legal 48" limit (I wouldn’t have kept him anyway - I’m catch and release) and i didn’t want a toothy fish flopping around my legs. So I held him in the water and released him at the side of the boat.

Now for getting away. I hooked a smallmouth that had to weigh between 5-6 pounds in Ontario 2 summers ago. I fought him for about 5-10 minutes and saw him several times when he jumped but never got my hands on him. He broke the lip off the lure and all I had to show for it was the plastic lip on my line.

I guess this might count

– Last Updated: Apr-16-09 12:58 PM EST –

one afternoon, i was working in a town about 100 miles from home. i finished my job, and stopped by a river which is known as a local smally hotspot. I tossed a crawler out under a slip bobber that was set about 5 feet deep. there was a slight current and the rig drifted to my left. then my bobber laid up on it's side and i thought i had got stuck on the grass on the bottom. I started to reel in, then i noticed that my bobber was moving slowly upstream. I took up the rest of the slack, felt a little resistance, and set the hook real good. thats when all hell broke loose. he took a run and stripped a good amount of line, then a large fish took to the air. I thought i had a nice salmon on. i fought the fish for a couple more minutes when it jumped again, and i recognized it as a large bass. I got it in, didnt have a scale, but when i held the smally by the mouth, the tail was dragging the ground, i estimated it to be around 10.5 lbs. Growning up in florida, a 10 lb bass was nice, but not that uncommon. but this is michigan, not florida. it was a NICE fish, I was getting ready to release it when a down on their luck older couple asked if i was releasing that beautiful fish. I told them that i wasnt supposed to be fishing and the wife wouldnt be happy with me stopping here. they said that it would sure be nice on their table, so i gave it to them (I'm a softy when it comes to helping others). I packed up my stuff and headed to another fishing hole that was on my way home. It was raining hard, and while i was waiting for it let up a little, i pulled out the fishing rules book and read about the records for the state. when i saw that this fish would have easily set a new state record fo small mouth, i went quickly back to the river where i caught it, and the old couple were gone! I went back the next day, and they were there, and i asked them what they did with the fish, and they said they had eaten a quarter of it for dinner, and the rest was in the freezer. oh well!

does that count for a big one getting away?

yes sir , that one counts in my book …
… any way you slice it !!

Quite a catch I’d say , a 10 lb. Smallie won’t ever be caught by many , but they do exist I think .

We catch a few over 5 lbs. every year , and I’m certain I’ve seen what must have been at least a 7 lb. swim right under the boat last year , but I’ve never caught one that went 6 lb. yet myself .

I love these storys guys/gals , please keep em rolling … good stuff !!

Not sure what it was but…

– Last Updated: Apr-18-09 2:52 PM EST –

I was certain it was just a hook caught on a large weed, log or something. Pulled and levered with the thing budging ever so slightly, like a weed pulling out of mud.

Fatherinlaw started circling the boat around the stuck hook as we always do to unsnag.

I finially felt the hook and its snagg break free. Broke free alright.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppp. The thing took off fast and hard. It was a fish, big northern most likely as large ones are common at this lake. I worked that thing for 15 min till we caught a glimps of the large long dark fish under the surface of the water. Flipped and snapped the 8lb line just before the net was entering the water.

Now it was either a huge northern pike or a small sturgeon. It was BIG.

Big enough to not budge from the bottom of the lake till it felt like it.

i have a few
fish that still haunt me. one i know is a big pickerel, chewed right through my line. i believe i will be able to boat it one day. another has to be a large mouth bass by the way it was there and dragging me off the pier and then totally gone. musta spit out my lure. then there’s this muskie, man i had it hooked just long enough to get extremely happy… i still have the lure with teeth marks in it. yep, these fish keep calling me back. one day i will have my KODAK MOMENTS with those guys.or maybe thier kin.

hi leighrobin , pretty sure you gonna

– Last Updated: May-12-09 8:53 PM EST –

...... have that Kodak moment this year , you've already caught some right nice fish !!

That's my Muskie , you leave him alone ... I know where your monster is and I never cast towards it , do I ??

I'll bet your the type that will fish from morning till night non-stop given the chance , probably throwin a #3 Mepps too ...

ok you got me. i was just thinking about that monster bass i lost for you. i shoulda remembered you had 4# test.

true story

– Last Updated: May-13-09 10:58 AM EST –

One mid summer morning I took the kayak to fish off the west passage of Narragansett bay near Newport RI with a buddy. As the routine went, we'd launch an hour before first light , paddle out 75 yds or so and drift the rip that set up over a reef that paralleled the shoreline. This particular morning I got a late start and had to drive slow because of dense fog in the area. When I got there I found my buddy had already put in and was just within visible range. I rushed to assemble my gear and launched to get started. Once near him, he reported that he had already landed one 24" striper and had dropped another. Sweet. As the light began to come up, I noticed that fog was thickening and not letting up as hoped. Just about that time I had a solid hit on my wild eye shad. I set the hook hard and instantly knew that this was no "schoolie". The big fish surged upcurrent putting a deep bend in my rod and a good bit of speed on my Loon 138 kayak. I tightened the drag a bit and settled in to enjoy my "Nantucket Sleigh ride". Shortly, the fish turned 180 form shore and started towing me into the thickest of the fog and out towards the middle of the bay and the channel. Instantly , I entered a wall of pea soup. As I fumbled through my gear for my compass ( which was left in the truck!), I heard a sickening sound. That kind of moan only made by the horn big oil and coal tankers that run that channel on their way to Providence RI. That kind of sound that tells you that you could get run down and chopped up without anybody ever knowing you were there. There I was, no compass, no land refference, heading deeper into thick fog and the shipping lanes. In the few seconds it took for me to process the gravity of the situation, I noticed the ghostly shape of the channel marker passing me about 30' to my right. This would be my last reference and possibly last chance to turn around. Without hesitation , I pulled my knife from my vest and cut the 20# line right in front of the reel. As the line parted, I dropped the rod into the cockpit and twisted the yak into a 180 degree turn with a few sweeping strokes. As I paddled back into better visibility and into the reassuring rip of the reef, I felt both relieved and regretful. I had likely just saved my life but I had also just as likely cut free a personal yak record 30-40# striper . Life is good but often unfair!
Hope you enjoyed the (true) story.

A long time ago
On the Salton Sea in Ca before it became the PRK, I was bank fishing for Corbina. Some kind of fish took my bait and it was like being tied to a car. Just a slow steady pull and I was being spooled. I tightened up the drag and broke it off at the leader to save my line. No boats were in the vicinity. I asked an F&G officer what could have pulled that hard and that steady. He said at one time white sea bass had been planted but did not take. They occasionally get a report from fishermen about the same kind of hook up and they suspect there might be some old holdovers. White sea bass get huge and I dont think the fish even knew it was hooked. I knew there was no way I could turn that fish or what ever it was that was taking my line.

Something big
I was fishing on a commercial deep sea fishing boat, Me and the guys I worked with. We were bottom fishing over a wreck. We were bringing up large black sea bass sometimes two at a time. I was using a rod that at the tip looked like it was as big around as my thumb. I felt the rod tug a couple times like when there are two fish on so I set the hook and started reeling. As I was reeling I watched the tip of the rod double. I began to imagine this 1200lb. shark beside me in a picture and of course wining the fishing pot. It was pulling so hard that I couldn’t hold the rod up or reel anymore so all I could do was rest the rod on the boat and hope for the best. I remember looking at the fellow beside me as he looked at me with his mouth dropped open and his eyes bugged probably mirrored my face too. Someone must have told the mate we had a big fish on. When I looked over my shoulder at him he said don’t you let go of that rod. When he got to me he said I was hooked on the bottom all I know was one us was going to have to have some relief. He grabbed the line gave it a swift jerk and immediately the rod tip came bouncing back up free and clear. At last I was relieved and went right back to fishing. I guess you might say I caught the biggest fish if you consider the Earth as a fish. Somehow though I couldn’t convince the guys that by that reasoning I had won the fishing pot. Bummer!!!

a real whopper
Fishing in Northern MN for panfish, I got a nice sized bluegill. I was reeling it back to the canoe, when WHAM! A huge northern pike shot by the canoe and ate the bluegill! It was a monster too, probably close to 4 feet long. It spit the panfish out when I tried to land it.

There might have been a bigger one, catfishing on the Mississippi, when something took my line and broke it like it was sewing thread. I had 80 lb test on. I think it was an Ogopogo.

Surf fishing on Cape Hatteras. Had the right reel, rod, and line. But, I must have failed to secure the clasp on my leader. My line went slack and I reeled and set the hook. About 30 ft. out I saw a fin and tail break the surf. I would guess there was about 3 ft. between the tail and fin. After a quick run and thrash, the fish was gone. After reeling in my line, I found my leader clasp was bent straight as an arrow. That was a couple of years ago and I still want that opportunity back.

A Million Pound Rockfish…
What the locals call snagging the bottom in Alaska while Halibut fishing and losing a whole rig… :-p



Not sure
Once fishing in a marina channel near Key West Florida, I saw a large sunfish shaped fish probably about 4 feet diameter from the side view (easily a couple of hundred pounds). It sucked up my bait and just continued mosieying up the channel unaware that my 12 pound test line was connected to the bait. He broke the line and I don’t think he even twiched.

Pretty much every shark I’ve hooked
while in my yak in the surf does NOT get landed. Biggest one I hooked looked like it was either a tiger or a bull (in the not so clear water just outside the surf where I hooked him, it’s hard to tell the difference, especially if you decide to cut the line before the shark gets in too close like I did), and was at least 9 feet.