Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

I caught the one that got away

Wick's World


"You have 10 days to get your house listed by the Memorial Day weekend," stated my co-realtor and wife.

It's official. You heard it here first. After all the threats, warnings and false prophecies, we are finally ready to sell our family home on Sand Lake — the one that has served us so well for the past 25 years.

We were fortunate to raise our three sons on the friendly Sand Lake peninsula located just five minutes from the great town of Moose Lake. It's a wonderful, clean body of water where I seldom caught anything except sunfish. Not because they weren't in the lake — I'm just a lousy fisherman. That was just fine with me because I'll take a sweet-tasting plate of sunnies any day.

This reminds me of the best fishing tale I somehow omitted from last week's story about my great South Dakota fishing trip.

We stopped at Cabela's in Mitchell, South Dakota, to purchase our three-day fishing permits. A bargain at a mere $37, I asked the young clerk, "Does this mean that the license is valid from 4 p.m. today until 4 p.m. Thursday?"

She responded in a typical laid back South Dakota fashion, "Oh, you know. Nobody will say anything. Just quit sometime Thursday."

Our next stop was at the bait shop, which in South Dakota is almost always a side business hooked up with a liquor store. My Minnesota buddy, Slim Jim, asked the clerk for a dozen minnows to accompany his bottle of wine.

"They are right over there," said the clerk.

"I get my own minnows?" Slim Jim asked incredulously. He soon realized that in laid back South Dakota many things run on an honor system. That's just the way it's always been.

We began fishing along the shore of the Missouri River just down from St. Joe's Indian School. South Dakota, with its liberal fishing rules, allows you to use two poles with two hooks each. We soon settled in and began catching walleyes. By mid-afternoon there was a lull in the action so I wandered up the hill to grab a couple of beers. I returned to watch Sonny Boy reel in a nice eating-size catfish on my pole.

I razzed him with, "It's my pole so I'm claiming the fish."

Sonny had no argument with that. He actually baited my line for me and tossed it back in the river. It wasn't long after that when I asked Sonny Boy, "Where did you toss in my line? I don't see my pole."

After a short look, he replied, "It's gone! I put your pole in right here. Your pole is gone!"

Sometime during the beer drinking, a fish evidently pulled my entire fishing rig into the river. No sooner had the dust settled from that episode when I got a bite on my remaining pole. All indications were showing signs of a whopper. My pole was bent over to the max as I kept easing the monster to shore. I finally managed to land the biggest fish of our trip to date. It was an ugly old carp that dangled from my line. The hook was barely embedded in its lip. Removing the carp from the hook, I noticed two other hooks on the line. Something wasn't right. Slim Jim grabbed the line and began pulling it to shore. There on the other end was my missing fishing pole. I had just caught the carp that had pulled it into the water!


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