BY MICHAEL REISIG –
Lord, this cold weather is just killing me. Not only is it intolerable for a Southern boy like myself, but it eliminates the opportunity to get out and do anything fun. Aside from working on a new novel, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading about the outdoors, rather than being outdoors. In the process I came across an article I just have to pass on.
Apparently there’s a good deal of truth to the old Kenny Rogers song about knowing when to hold ’em, fold ’em, or walk away. And it can apply even to fishing.
There was a sadly amusing piece in an old Field and Stream about a tenacious fisherman named Frank who was fishing a lake in Eastern Slovenia (Don’t ask me where it is. It’s probably one of the new countries they formed to satisfy all those people who solve disagreements on religion and politics with knives) when he hooked a monster catfish called a sheatfish. Now, sheatfish aren’t your usual pound-and-a half schoolers you run into at Lake Wilhelmina. A mature sheatfish, they say, can rival a bull shark in size, and have the staying power of a water buffalo on bennies.
Now, the 47 year-old Frank Filipic, could have had a great story to tell his grandchildren if he’d have checked the gauge on his ambition and motivation, and been a little less fanatical about his concept of catch and release. After hooking the sheatfish, it dragged him to the water’s edge, but he was certain he was in control. As it pulled him into the waters of the lake, he refused the help of bystanders. A friend fishing nearby shouted to him to let it go, but did Frank listen? Noooo, he was going to have this one. His friend’s entreaty was ignored as the behemoth pulled the angler into deeper water and he disappeared.
According to his buddy, Frank’s last words before he went under were, “Now I’ve got him!”
Divers eventually found the body a couple of days later. There was no sign of the monster sheatfish.
There’s a couple of things I’d like to know. One: what pound test was that guy using, and two: what the heck was he thinking when he let the fish drag him under water? Maybe, “Gee, I really need to get that drag fixed?”
There’s being stubborn, and then there’s being stupid.
So remember, when the weather starts to break and you go after that record sheatfish, check your drag, and your motivation.