: For those who have not heard it yet......The Story!
07-25-2003, 08:36 PM
There are way too many questions for me to answer everyone individually so hopefully I can answer them all with one post. If not I will be happy to answer any and all questions. I woke up @ 0300 yesterday and knew I was not going back to sleep so I decided what the heck hitch up the boat and go to Niantic. I was on the water around 0600 and got out to Two Tree Reef soon thereafter, I landed a 34" fish almost immediately while drifting an eel on a bobber while I fished with the flyrod. But after that I didn't get anymore fish. There were fish finning all over and occasionally splashing, they were on real small bait that I could not I.D. It started to rain a little so I decided to head out to Bartletts, I got out there 5-10 min. later and made one drift and then the skies opened up like a dam giving way. I hung in for 15 min. in the pouring downpour but in a center console and only rain gear I decided the hell with it and headed back to Niantic. I got back to the harbor and don't you know the rain stopped and the skies began to brighten. I decided to flyfish for some Hickory Shad and put them in the live well to use back out on the reef. I fished for about 1.5 hrs. to get 5 hickory shad, 2 small bass, and one fluke. I kept the hickories and threw the rest back. I then headed back out to the reef, the wind had picked up by now and the rip was looking pretty nasty but I stopped up tide of the rip which was now in full ebb tide mode (9-9:30am). I rigged up with my Star 6'6" boat rod and Calcutta 700, spooled with 300+ yds. of Spiderwire 50 lb. braid, 4 ft. of 50 lb. mono with a Gamakatsu 12/0 circle. I hooked the Hickory through the nostrils and put it out to swim free. About 4 min. later I get a pickup and the fish takes off, I let it run for some distance because the shad were quite large and I wanted to be sure that the fish had it all. I put the reel in gear and leaned into the fish only to have it spit the bait. I then decided to reel in and check the bait, I was reeling the bait in very fast as it was pretty far out in the rip. When it got about 40-50 ft. from the boat it comes to the surface and is skipping along, just then I see a big swirl behind the bait and before I could react to the swirl BOOOOOM! the biggest splash I have ever witnessed and simultaneously my rod doubles over taking me with it. This fish took line off of that Calcutta faster than anything I have ever hooked, at least 125 yds. on the initial run. While it was running away I tightened the drag very slowly trying to slow her down, not usually a prudent move but I still thought I had a big shark. I finally had the drag as tight as it would go and the fish still took line at will...........just awesome power!!! This went on for the good part of 20 min. until I finally got her close enough to see, then my heart started to skip a few beats I suddenly realize I don't have the net out (the fish would not have fit in it anyway) Question to self "What the heck am I going to do now?" I then notice the hook in the corner of the mouth and it looks like it is ready to fall out............911 somebody help me I am going to lose the biggest fish of my life right at the side of the boat...........HELP! Well lucky for me someone was looking out for me as I was able to get the fish to hand without losing her. The first thing I notice is this fish is definitely not a "one hander", I throw the rod down and grab her with my other hand by the bottom lip, I begin to lift her into the boat and can't get her over the transom. Now it hits me how big this fish really is, so I drag her over the transom gently and lay her down on the deck. I immediately had to sit down for a minute to gather my thoughts and try to get over the shock of what had just occured. It seemed like an hour but in reality it was only 30-45 sec. and I quickly unhooked her which was not very solid, I struggled to get her back over the side and held her for some time in the current. Unfortunately she never put her dorsal up and her gills were barely moving, I was drifting at a good clip and had her faced into the current but it was not going to be a good ending for this fish. I decided to bring her back aboard and get her mounted. I called my wife first as she is the one who has been there through thick and thin of my fishing adventures to let her know what I had just caught. She thought there was something wrong until she realized what I was telling her, she says well you aren't going to get a bigger fish than that today plus you don't have a cooler big enough for it so you better get your butt home before it starts to spoil. My wife always the realist. I ended up taking all of my gear out of one of the front storage areas and making an impromptu cooler out of it packing the fish with lots of ice for the ride home. Stopped by Hillyers right at the ramp and had her officially weighed and measured, took some pics and gave them my personal info. I also stopped by Rivers End as I have known Pat for many years, unfortunately he was not there so I headed home to show the wife and friends. My fish is now safely frozen in the walk-in at Stratford Bait waiting to take the ride to the taxi-man. Thanks to Chris at Stratford for allowing me to keep my fish in his huge walk-in freezer, if not for him I don't know where I would have been able to store the fish. That's the whole story nothing added and a few things left out that were not really pertinent to the fish, I have put in 10's of thousands of hours for this fish, travelled 1,000 of miles on the water and spent 1,000's of dollars on tackle,gas, etc. and it will cost a little less than $1,000 to have her mounted. Would I do it again?.............OH YEA in a minute just would have liked to see her live and just get some good pics, that's all I would have changed. Thanks again to everyone here and on the other sites for all of the kindness and praise, I am humbled to a fault by all of the excitement, and I am really glad that I could share this once in a lifetime fish with all of my Internet Fishing friends. It is a fish that should be shared by all true fisherman who will respect her and give her the deserved respect she demands, and that is you guy's and gals here on this site.
"One tired but happy hardcore fishing nut!"
07-25-2003, 09:05 PM
I just showed Patrice the picture and her jaw almost hit the floor. I will never be able to bring home a fish picture again now that she has a real big fish to compare it to. Thanks very much for taking the time to tell the whole story.
07-25-2003, 09:16 PM
I am not kidding you when I say that description belongs in a flyfishing or fishing article...Well done and a great "true" fishing story.... The problem now is that I have to come up with true story .Look Forward to seeing you..
07-25-2003, 09:21 PM
Sorry buddy didn't think I was going to cause a rift in the McDermott family:hehe: ! I really wanted to share this with everyone as I look at it as everyones fish, we talk and fish so much that when I caught this fish and realized that it was going to have to come home with me the first thing I wanted to do was share it with everybody. If it had been somebody else that I knew I would have driven miles to go and see it, just not very common to see a fish of that size and age so it should be shared with all of the guy's who spend so much time hunting for them. Truly my pleasure to share and I am glad everyone enjoyed seeing it. I was apprehensive at first, worried that people would think I was grandstanding, but what the heck I thought, I don't care if someone is offended or angry I know why I posted the pics and it was only with a kind heart and good intentions. I sure hope that when it is done it will look half as good as it did when I landed it, I won't soon forget her, she will live in my heart for many years to come.
07-25-2003, 09:31 PM
Thank you for the compliments, I pride myself on the truth, one of the few things that my parents were successful at making me learn and understand. It truly was a strange adventure and I am only sorry that I didn't have someone else with me to share in the excitement. As soon as I realized she wasn't going to make it I headed over to the only other boat that was out there to ask them if they had a camera, they asked me why and I held the fish up, they about fell over when they saw it. Thanks go to those guy's for loaning me a tape measure so I could find out how big she was. When I weighed her on my digital Berkley 50 lb. scale it went past 50 and was bouncing around between 54-58 lbs., I couldn't hold it up long enough to get an accurate read unfortunately and had to wait till I got back to the ramp and get her over to Hillyers Bait and Tackle which is right at the Niantic ramp. They gave me the official numbers. My wish is for all of you to be lucky enough to experience what I have been blessed with this week, should one or all of you get a fish like this I will be the first to congratulate you for sure, words really don't do that fish justice.
07-27-2003, 10:23 AM
Mike, the picture of your marvelous fish belongs on the cover a magazine. You should send it to On The Water with a write up how it all happened.
Mean Mr Mustard
07-27-2003, 12:33 PM
Great story. Great fish. Quite suitable for the BaitTalk III bulletin board, or did I miss some kind of regime change, here.
Wack'em and Stack'em. Simply pathetic to kill such a fine fish.:mad:
07-27-2003, 03:02 PM
I guess that MMM is feeling particularly mean today.
For the record, Mike has tremendous respect for the striped bass. This is reflected in his post above and in many other posts from the past.
This is a flyfishing site. However, his bait was caught on fly so we will let his post stand this time around. ;)
07-27-2003, 06:52 PM
Is there a reason why I'm not able to view the photo of this great fish? Could you post a link so we could see it? I can only read the story of the catch but see no fish. Thanks.
07-27-2003, 08:37 PM
Photo is in another post. Below is the link.
If you have read other posts (especially his first about this great catch) from Mike I think you would realize that he is a strong advocate of conservation. Not to mention he has been extremely generous in taking out fellow anglers and sharing his vast knowledge of our fishery. To cast quick aspersions and arrive at false conclusions about someones character is more out of line with this forums "regime" than any FF vs. Non-FF discussion.
Just my .02.
07-27-2003, 08:40 PM
Several folks have told me that they cannot see the pic, I am not sure why this is??? I have checked the server where I keep the pic and everything looks normal. The pic can be found hereMike's Big Bass (http://www.fishcontest.com/Mike/fish2.JPG) Hopefully this link will provide you with the pic if not I can easily email it to anyone who wishes to see it. From what I am told by several people I wouldn't be surprised to see it in The Fisherman mag or one of the other mags in the near future. The shop where I weighed it asked if they could share the pic and story I told them sure no problem if that is what they wanted to do. Thanks for the kind words Doogue, not necessary though, I knew that I would catch some flack for keeping her and that is fine with me. Those that are quick to pass judgement were not there to witness the events as they unfolded so they are talking out of their collective holes if you no what I mean. I have nothing to prove and would have been happier to have told you all about the big fish I released instead of the big fish I killed. I have talked with alot of people since Thurs. and overwhelmingly they have reassured me that I did the right thing that the fish would have died for sure and that her prime years of breeding were well behind her. That does not diminish my disappointment with her demise and I am still bothered by it. I will do her justice and proudly display her, I was thinking of actually having her displayed at my favorite fly shop in Stratford CT. for a little while so that all fisherman could view and appreciate her beauty. I probably will do that whenever she is finished.
07-27-2003, 08:46 PM
Thanks Sean. Appreciate the backup my friend. I had to read his post again to get the real jist of his displeasure. Not a problem you will always run into folks like that in all parts of life not just fishing. I harbor no ill will towards MMM. As a matter of fatc if he would like to witness what I am really about maybe he would like to join you and I for an Albie assault later on this season???:D . Sean fished this morning local area, caught a bunch of small blues and a couple of dozen bass up to just legal ...........ALL ON THE FLY.....by the way:razz:
07-28-2003, 06:46 AM
That is an awesome fish of course. I especially like the story of how you caught it. Just goes to show you sometimes it IS better to be lucky than good. of course in your case you had both going for you. Too bad she didn't make it but I think that you are allowed to take one big fish in your life. I thought I was going to lose that big red but she finally pulled through. I am sure you did all you could, sharks would have gotten her if you had let her drop to the bottom anyway. I hope you get a good mount and you can recount the memories of that fish for as long as you can still tell a good fishing story to the young'uns.:smokin:
07-28-2003, 08:12 AM
That is one nice striper, MIke! Thanks for sending the link....this time I was able to see the photo. Congratulations!
07-28-2003, 10:29 AM
Thanks to all for the kind words. It was truly my pleasure to be able to share my fish of a lifetime with you all.
Mike, like I said in the other thread - the one that housed the pic -
You don't have a thing to be sorry for - you both gave it your best. Again, Congratulations.