“Fish on?” asked Steven from the oars.
“Snagged,” I answered from the stern.
“Looked fishy,” said Steven, looking dubious.
“I thought so too,” I replied, annoyed and disappointed.
“Dude, your snag is headed for river left,” said Steven.
That should have been our first clue.
In the bow, Brendon reeled in and reached for the day’s first cold beer to better enjoy the show. He’d finished it – at a leisurely pace – and opened a second without so much as a glimpse of the fish
That was clue number two.
“Come on man,” said Steven tired of rowing upstream. “You got 5x on there or something? Give him some wood!”
“3x, and my drag is torqued to ‘Lugnut’”, I snapped back. “He just doesn’t care. I got nothin’ for him.” I had to holler for the guys to hear me over the buzz of my reel.
The fish gave back enough ground – entirely of his own volition – for us to glimpse its distinctly carpy dimensions.
“I’ll eat that,” chimed in Brendon. “They’re a delicacy in Asia.”
By then I was too concerned with my grip and forearm stamina to wonder about Brendon’s dining habits. Yet, somehow, we still didn’t quite understand what we were dealing with. Just a garden-variety, nasty lipped, bottom feeder, we figured, interrupting our trout fishing.
On the next, closer, pass, we promoted it to “big carp”, but still weren’t taking the situation seriously.
When, finally, some minutes later, I winched him out from under the boat, Cook Inlet halibut style, Steven was ready with the net. He got under it with the first deep stab, just as planned. It wasn’t until he levered the beast from the river, though, that we realized how badly we’d misjudged the situation. Fitting that fish into an oversized boat-net, was as geometrically impossible as snagging a medicine ball with a catcher’s mitt.
It took one long look at our startled faces, let loose of my bug, and flopped off the rim, back into the deep.
“Whoa!” shouted Brendon.
“Oh,oh… Man!” added Steven.
“Yeah… that was… wow,” was all I could manage. I was almost certain I’d seen it smile, and wink, before taking off.
Three strikes. We were out.