I bank fish alot, and am willing to give luck most of the credit anytime I land a big fish. When you fish the little honey-holes, it seems like you're always dealing with brush, log jams, pilings, and chutes. However, I'll take the blame for losing two of the biggest steelies I've ever hooked. One was hooked on a Super Bowl Sunday and my partner on the net was dying to get home to see the game, which had already started. That lengthy battle ended when the hook pulled out after I followed his suggestion to "tighten the drag a little and bring him in." The second fish was hooked just before dark. It took off downriver and through a chute. Soon, I was looking at an empty spool and a knot. You're pretty much out of options at that point. I gave the rod and 165 yards of McCoy line everything I had, and the fish turned. I can still remember the relief I felt when I had about five wraps on the spool. It took quite awhile to work the fish back up through the fastwater, and it was now dark. When I'd recovered about half of the line, I relaxed for a second. In the dark, I'd made the decision to rest while the fish was alongside a rootwad. The next time I pumped the rod, my line was anchored in it, and the fish was gone. One fish horsed and lost; another fish lost when I stopped horsing it. Fish fighting must be art, not science!
Gooose-- You're right about lost fish leaving vivid memories. My most vivid steelheading memory is the spring evening I hooked three fish on three casts. Burned my thumb each time trying to stop their downriver runs. Never saw the fish, but I'll never forget the experience. Pain helps intensify a memory , also
ROEBOAT-- There's a run of big fish in the Snoqualmie that locals call "Raging River Grinners". Story goes that when you hook one, all you can do is hold on and grin
[ 01-01-2002: Message edited by: CedarR ]