I know there are lots of fish stories running around, about the “big one” that got away and all that. But I am here to tell you about the ones that are part of a tribe of big ones, they are very smart and have lived a long time to prove it. These buggers are what I call “Big Eyes Brothers”. For years now I have diligently and faithfully been trying to get my hands around the pole that has one of them on the other end of the line.
I did have one on once in the early years, and it has been haunting me ever since. We were out trolling around in a boat on this very calming lake, late in the afternoon one day in September. We knew the water was a bit shallow and we had to be careful because we knew there were hazards lurking below the surface we couldn’t see. The water was like a mirror, reflecting the timber covered hillsides and blue skies, it was picture perfect as usual.
While we were slowly trolling along my line went taunt and I thought I had something. I gave it a pull and nothing. I figured I had snagged a sunken stump or something. I turned to my partner and said “I’m snagged on something” and I eased up on the line a bit so we could turn around and to try to get it free. He asked me are you sure you are snagged? To prove it, I gave the line another pull and suddenly all hell broke loose!
This monster came up outta the depths like a rocket and broke the calm water with a huge splash. My buddy told me “don’t let him jump, keep the line tight”! But that bugger defied the rules and shot up high into the air two more times. Now the line was zipping in a big arc toward the shallow water near the shore.
Then just as soon as it all started, it suddenly stopped. The line had suddenly gone slack, it had snapped and he was gone. As the boat came to a slow gliding stop, I looked down into the water ahead and saw maybe 8 to 10 sunken stumps about 2 feet below the water surface. I yelled to my partner “stumps” and he quickly reversed the motor. As we started moving in reverse, I noticed what looked like spider webs running between those stumps zig zagging everywhere. With the boat slowed, we carefully made our way around and through those stumps looking at all of those mysterious webs. Apparently it was old fishing line that had been strung through them randomly and we decided that these big fish were using the stumps to break the line!
I didn’t know how big the one I had on was but when he jumped out of the water I could see his bright colors very clearly fifty feet away. Over the years we have landed several of these big lunkers so I do know they can be caught.
What started all of this goes way back to the time I first discovered that the Big Eyes brothers existed. We had set up our campsite near the lake, had a fire going and were getting ready to rustle up some eats. I decided to take a walk down to the waters edge near an old dock to enjoy the late afternoon view of the lake. We had been out a couple of hours and did not have any luck at all. I was amazed now at all of the fish I saw jumping along he edge of the water, but I could see they were pretty small. It was the bugs flying above the water that they were jumping at. I spotted a big old miller flying erratically across the lake about 6 inches above the water about 15 feet off the dock. I saw lots of tries from the little fishes trying to get him but they just couldn’t make it. I watched the miller get closer and closer to the dock and I thought he was going to make it when suddenly about three feet from the dock a huge head rose up suddenly from the depths. The poor miller didn’t have a chance, this guy had him easily, no splash and no fuss. But the thing that shocked me the most was the size of this guys eyes. They were as big as dimes and being so close I saw them clearly!
Now it is obvious that the jumping ones had now moved down the shore line farther from the dock than when I first came down. I turned around as quick as I could and made a bee line for the rig. I was going to get a pole and put something in the water right now. I must have looked like I saw a ghost, cause my partner asked me what was wrong. I told him the story about the miller and that I had to try to see if I could get him.
That was over 15 years ago, and to this day we have managed to land three of these monsters. Several have gone over 23 inches and weighed above 7 pounds. So far the biggest one caught was 27 inches long and weighed 8½ pounds. Yes, I have pictures and witnesses, trust me they do exist. And in case you are curious, it was not me that caught one of the Big Eyes brothers, it was my partners brother. They’re still out there, watching, growing and waiting.
Just may be worthy of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame!
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