Saturday, April 29, 2017

The One That Got Away

Kern River 1979
Jeri and I with my long gone 1979 Toyota Landcruiser
By Randy De La O

Every fisherman has a story about the one that got away. Sometimes it's true, sometimes it's exagerrated a little and sometimes it's an outright lie. This is my story.
In 1979 my wife and I, along with the kids, parents and my brother, went camping at Kern River. We had a great time. A lot of good eats and quality family time. I spent most of the day, every day we were there, fishing
We hiked a little, had campfires at night and did things that people do when they go camping. We found a secluded spot with no other people around. This was key to the whole trip. It was a getaway.
On the last day I got up early and gave it one last try. I didn't want to leave empty handed. I went back to camp feeling defeated. I helped with the packing (honest) and we got in the vehicles and took off. About a half hour or so later, still traveling along the river, I hear my father honking.
“Your mother wants to have a picnic” He said.
“Already? We just got started! “
“I know, I know!” He shrugged his shoulders the way only a married man can shrug his shoulder. I got back in the Landcruser and said “They want to stop for a picnic!” She was all for it.
We found a secluded spot and the first thing I did was grab my pole and tackle box and went looking for a spot to cast my line. I didn't have to look far. There were several huge boulders with a passage to the river.
It was the spot I had hoped for the entire time we were there. The water was high, fast and cold with a lot of whitewater at the bend and a large flat rock to stand on. There was plenty of water spray but it just added to moment. I was getting soaked fast.I cast my line. I was using a dark grey Rooster Tail, my all time faorite lure. It had just been a few minutes when I felt a hard tug on my line and then I saw it. leaping out of the water in a furious attempt to shake off my lure. I can only describe it as something out of the cover of Field and Stream. It was that picturesque! It was a lunker, probably been there for years without ever getting snagged.
I had visions of granduer, maybe even the cover of Field and Stream or Sports Afield, never mind that no one was taking pictures. I guestimated about 8 or 9 pounds, which would make it the biggest trout I ever caught.
In the midst of all this I hear “Dad!'.
Again “Dad”
“I'm thinking “No, please God, not now, not now!”
Fighting with my 12 pound trout I turn and see my daughter Dee Dee. “What? I yell back trying my best to not ruin the moment.
“Gradma and mom want to go now!”
“We just got here!!!”
“They want to go!
“Tell them I said NO!!
She left but in less than a minute my wife shows up and says “Everybody is ready!!
Thinking to myself “How can this be? We just got here!!”
Now all I have on my mind is my giant 16 pound rainbow trout, glimmering in the sunlight with every leap!
My focus is going fast now; a twenty pound rainbow at the end of the line, everybody rushing me to go and my award winning twenty plus trout fighting for his life. I was beginning to panic. It was supposed be my finest moment.
No sooner did I turn my attention back to my small whale then the pole snapped back and the line went limp. 'Aaaaaaaahhh!! And just like that it was over. My wife went back to camp as fast as she could. I consoled myself for a moment and then walked back to camp. I was angry. I didn't want to talk to anyone.
I opened my tackle box to put away the rooster tail that had escaped the ordeal. As I was going through my tackle box Dee Dee walks up and sees a large saltwater hook. It was razor sharp. I can attest to this because a second later Dee Dee grabs the hook and says “Ooh, what is this?” She pulled on it and it went straight though my right thumb, coming out through the nail, barb and all..
Some days are like that.

Kern River 1979
Jeri and Meranda at Kern River 1979

Kern River 1979
My father and I having a cold beer together and enjoying the moment

Kern River 1979

Kern River 1979
Getting ready for dinner?
Kern River 1979
Enjoying the day

Kern River 1979
My brother Dennis and I heading to the river

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