"The Big One That Didn't Get Away!"

I went out fishing on the Tower end of Lake Vermilion (I won't disclose the exact spot for selfish reasons) with my boyfriend, Patrick, on a beautiful Friday evening in May last year. He is an avid fisherman, out every chance he gets in the summer, and I was pretty much along for the ride, hoping to get some sun to keep up my tan (which I do every chance I get in the summer). Fishing was OK. We were catching a few here and there. Patrick does not like to stay in one place too long so we tried many different spots that night. I would prefer to stay in one spot longer, but he gets ancy and needs to move on. We finally settled on a spot where someone else he knew was fishing. We had been out for a few hours by this time and I was getting bored. I kept getting snags and losing my bait. The leach I had on my line was dead and about 3 inches long, but I didn't care - I was right in the middle of a trashy romance novel.

Then, I felt it. Something on my line. Another snag!!! Darn!! Now I have to change my bait AGAIN! I started reeling in my line. It didn't feel like a snag anymore. It felt like a log. I couldn't figure out what it was. Patrick, of course, thought it was another snag. I kept reeling and could not believe my eyes! There in the water right below the boat was the biggest, ugliest fish I had every seen!! Huge eyes, huge mouth!! It was a walleye.

When Patrick caught sight of it his eyes got as big as that fish. Then I got nevrous. I couldn't remember what to do next....reel my line, get the fish in the net, jump in the lake?!?! I was yelling and screaming and Patrick was telling me to SHHHHH! because everyone would hear and, god forbid, that should happen!!! (You never want a nearby boat to know you are catching fish in your boat.) He stuck the net in the water up to his elbow and scooped it up and brought it in the boat. It was huge! We weighed it and it was 10-1/4 pounds.

I wanted to go back to Tower right away and enter it in a fishing contest, but there was NO WAY Patrick would leave that lake. I think he was somewhat jealous of that amazing fish lying on the bottom of the boat. We had no live well in our boat, but our friends in the nearby boat did. So, Patrick called them over and asked if we could put the fish in their live well. I DID NOT want to let that fish out of my sight for fear that I would never see and again or someone else would claim it as theirs. I gave in and let them have the fish. We fished for a couple more hours and caught our limit. I entered the fish in the contest and won for the week.

Patrick is still a little jealous whenever I tell my story. But, he is also proud of me and glad he was there to witness the event. The fish is in the process of being mounted and will have a special place in our house. I plan on fishing on Lake Vermilion for many years to come and hope to get another 'lunker'. (Maybe Patrick will too!)

(Julie Seopa, Soudan,MN - May,1999)