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Untitled, by Seth Spreiter

Now...I am NOT a fisherman. Until recently, I thought Jimmy Houston was a country/western singer and crappie was some kind of bowel disorder. My sportsmanship extends no further than the 6-foot cane pole I took to the lake on family summer vacations.

However! One particular expedition produced a large-scale (pardon the pun) fish story which is 100% true...except for the parts that I made up. It is a grand tale guaranteed to send shivers down the spine of you AND your local taxidermist.

Several years ago, while trolling for walleye on Minnesota's Diamond Lake, my mother's line got snagged on something deep beneath the waters. 5 minutes later, she was reeling and fighting a beast of Old Testament proportions, screaming at her children to "PUT DOWN THOSE PEANUT-BUTTER-AND-JELLY SANDWICHES AND HELP ME!" Fearing we'd be thrown overboard, we grabbed our gloves and nets and joined in the struggle.

In the end, Mom managed to bag her quarry...a long aquatic dragon with spindly teeth and enough meat to feed a small Amish community. We took dozens of photographs of this 16-pound 36-inch Northern Pike before sending it off to Trophys-N-Stuff for taxidermy. It had been a bloody battle, but the gloating rights were ours, and we prepared a quaint little display case just above the fireplace.

Several weeks later, our masterpiece arrived, looking easily as magnificent en mounte as it did in the crystal gleam of the lake. We boasted. We sang. We danced tiny circles around our gilled monster and laughed wholeheartedly at all of the "professional" fishermen who'd barely seen a minnow that year. And then, exhausted, we placed our trophy on the floor and decided to hang it first thing the following morning.

When I awoke the next day, my groggy euphoria turned immediately to horror. Our prize was gone, replaced with a large mound of brown dust and several dirty paw prints leading to the den. In the night, our german shepherd had apparently mistaken the beast for Purina Pike-Flavored Dog Food and chewed the head into a fine powder. Pointy teeth marks were evident along the spine, climaxing with 3 huge notches ripped out of the tail. The engraving was covered with drool, dust and petrified fish skin. The whole thing resembled some horrible boat motor accident.

In less than 8 hours, our trophy had become a trough, and our gloating rights swam right back to Diamond Lake. Mother was the most devastated, and she eventually sought professional help. The rest of us simply stared in disbelief at this pitiable plunging neckline and wondered what to DO with the poor thing.

In the end, we figured that half a trophy was better than none at all, so we scooped up the dust, debris and painted skin and hung our pointless pike on that same spot above the fireplace for all to see. Even now, it gathers more attention than anything else displayed in our home, and rival fishermen are usually too stupified to argue about it's actual length or weight. It's actually allowed us to conveniently stretch the animal's proportions with each telling of the story.

As for the dog? We figured that, although she'd pulled a MAJOR snafu, she was still a member of the family, worthy of our attention, love and adoration.

She's on display right next to the fish.

Seth Spreiter

Untitled, by Andrew McCallumm

Ok....Here is my story... (bear in mind im only 14)

Our family has a cabin up at crooked lake, in Saskatchewan , Canada and I put a (minimum) month of fishing a year. Well there is a small bay to the east of our cabin and I fish in there sometimes for good Pike. I fished for three hours that day before I decided to head there. I was using my 5 foot shimano rod & reel set.. ( the only set I've ever owned) and using a fox silver spinner. I casted many many times in 5 feet of water and then gave up casting, so I started trolling. I trolled across the small bay when I had a bite. I jerked on the rod but I missed. On my last hour before it got dark I changed to a blue jig combination. I started to troll back to the cabin when I had a bite. Well, you can't even call it a bite, more like a snag. I felt so excited that I pulled on my rod but the line held tight. This was a BIG fish. It was jerking so hard it felt like I had hooked a propeler! I was very glad until I realized something very bad. I was only using 6 pound line! thats right, 6 pount test. Not even that fancy fireline or Spiderwire just crappy 2 dollar monofilament. This fish was so big it was pulling the boat, I turned the motor off and started to fight it. After 20 minutes of reeling, then setting my drag low and praying my line wouldn't break, I brought him up to the boat. To my surprise it wasn't even a pike! It was a walleye, and the biggest I had ever seen. ( It looked about 19 pounds) I neglected to bring a net so i decided to lift it from underneath. ( Im a bit too chicken to stick my hand up its gill, like the incident with a small Northern Pike , but thats another story) I lifted it up beside the boat and puled hard. The fish objected and wiggled out of my hand and to my disbelieving eyes snapped my line.

As if to taunt me it stayed on the surface reviving itself for about 15 seconds, and then splashed under. To this day I swear I can still see his smiling face, with my lucky hook dangling from his mouth!

This is a totally true.
Andrew McCallum, fishing ameteur.

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