A Real Fish Story · 3 March 2018

Photo courtesy of Margie Miyoshi

Now for a real fish story. One that did not get away.

I put a couple pictures on my last blog post that might have been a bit misleading. I put a picture of my grandpa and me with a bunch of fish. He caught the bigger two. Naturally. And I had a picture of my mom and one of my aunts with a bunch of fish. Needless to say, I have a little ‘splainin’ to do.

The first time I saw that picture of my mom and aunt with the fish, I thought, “Wow! They caught some nice fish.” About as nice as the fish my dad and uncle caught. I even thought it was nice that they posed about the same. I never did think to look at the fish. Apparently, the fish were the ones that Dad and Uncle Don caught, not the ones that Mom and Auntie Judi caught. (Yes, I still say Auntie and Uncle.)

Photo courtesy of Margie Miyoshi

I never realized that they were the same fish until my mom said I could use the picture on my blog. My aunt said that she would be honored to be mentioned in my blog. I am not so sure that is true now that I have uncovered the truth about their picture. The whole world could have thought she and Mom were great fly fisherwomen. Ah well. They will get over the notoriety. After all, not all the fun in fishing is in the catching. Most of it is in the storytelling.

My dad really liked to fish. Not just pose for pictures with fish that somebody else caught. He and at least a few of his siblings learned that love from their father, my grandpa. And my favorite fishing stories revolve around him.

Grandpa was a great fisherman. When he was not farming, he was fishing. Or so it seemed. I remember going fishing with him many times. Most of the time, we would head up from northern Colorado, where he lived, to Wyoming, where he fished. Most of the time, we kids would end up being too loud for him. He would say “Yakamashi!” which means we were being too loud and ought to quiet down because we were scaring the fish. (But that is another story.)

While there are many fishing trips that I remember, there is only one trip and one fish that I will never forget.

Contrary to popular opinion, fishing is not a competitive sport. You just catch fish. And then, you either release them or you eat them. Simple. Not a competition. Unless, of course, you make it one.

Well for some reason on this particular fishing trip, somebody made it a competition. For one day of our trip up to Wyoming, we were going to see who caught the biggest fish. Not the most or the least. Just the biggest. It hardly seemed fair. After all, I was not even a teenager yet. Which meant that my cousins were younger and would not be catching any fish bigger than Grandpa. That left, Grandma, my dad, and whichever other adults were fishing to try and catch a bigger fish than Grandpa. It was obviously a rigged game. Grandpa would surely win.

Even though I knew the outcome was inevitable, I went out to catch fish. I was old enough to go out on my own on the river and so I walked the bank like all the adults did. I found a spot I thought might have some fish and cast in my line. I reeled in and cast out, reeled in and cast out. All the time moving just a little bit downstream. Not much, but enough so that I was not always in the same spot.

All of a sudden I had a bite. It was not just a nibble. It was a huge strike. I set the hook and started reeling in. I even had to adjust the drag to be tighter to bring that fish in. We fought and fought until I finally got the big rainbow trout to the shore. I pulled it up on the grass and was getting ready to pull out the hook and put it on my stringer, when it spit the hook. I was shocked and unprepared, but I did not just watch as the fish flopped itself into the air trying to get back to the water. I threw down my pole and jumped after it.

It only took a couple flops, but the fish used its last bits of strength and gravity to make it back into the water. I did too. I jumped into the knee deep water. There was no way that fish was getting away. Thankfully, the fish was exhausted by our fight and the flipping and flopping it had to do to get back into the water. It was just sitting there in the water catching its breath. Letting the water flow through its gills. I had no mercy. I caught that fish in my hands and took it back out of the water and onto my stringer. I caught that fish fair and square, and it was going to be supper. For more than just me.

Photo courtesy of Margie Miyoshi

I do not have a picture of it, but if I did it would be priceless. The picture would be of Grandpa and me standing side by side like we are in the picture here. But instead of Grandpa having the biggest fish, I did. I won the competition! My fish was longer and rounder. Larger by every measure. And that is no fish story.

I have fond memories of fishing with our family. And even though many of the best fish stories are about the one that got away or the one somebody else caught, my favorite fish story is of the day that I outfished my Grandpa. I love the story of the one that almost got away.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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