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I'm a night time fisherman. If you grew up in Martin County Kentucky, or any where around these parts, you'd think I mean I go cat fishing. I've never really been one to enjoy the meat of a cat fish; rather I enjoy the sweet taste of a bass. I also love the show they put on when you pull them in. I've spent years being made fun of for night fishing for bass. Most think that bass are asleep at night; I've learned better. So people have always viewed me a bit crazy, so it makes no difference if you think the same when I'm done telling you what I have to say.
I bank fish, never had the money for a boat and for the most part I am put at a disadvantage because of this. I try to make up for it by using very heavy line so that my cast can go further out into the lake. This particular night I forewent crank baits for the old fashion method of just sitting back, relaxing and putting a worm out there. I've never really done any good this way, but I didn't plan on keeping anything I caught that night either—no it was just a damn fine night to be out fishing.
I laid back, rod in my right hand and my index finger on the line. The early fall air felt nice and the sky was so clear I think I saw more stars that night then I had any other time in my life. Hell I could even make out Mars. So of course such a relaxing night and such a lazy way to fish would give way to any normal man dozing off. It wasn't long after I did that I got my first bite of the night. I jumped from my light slumber and cranked the little guy in.
It was nothing more than a little bluegill. On lighter gear it would have put up a fun fight, but I was looking for a big bass. So I removed the hook, told it I was sorry and tossed it back. To further avoid the problem of small fish, I decided to up the hook size. I went for the largest hook I had and tied it on.
Once it was baited and back out into the water; I laid back once more. The moon was just starting to crest the mountain tops casting the area into a nice calming blue light. Once more I dozed off and once more I was awoken by an unwanted fish. Still a bluegill it was just a bit larger than the last. Still yet the hook was way to big for this thing and it had hooked itself through the eye.
I hated hurting fish. I know that sounds stupid to say I am a fisherman and I hate to hurt fish. What I mean is, I hate to hurt them in any way will hurt their survival if I let them go. This little guy could live with one eye, but the hook was stuck in his skull. I pulled and fought the best I could without hurting it. In the end the damage was too much and it died.
Rather than let it go to waste, I cut lines into its body and used it as bait. Granted that the fish was small it added a lot of weight to the line and when I cast it out, I went further then I had all night. I did my best to count out the line to see just how deep it was. In the end I lost count in the fifties when a crane flying by distracted me. Either way I didn't have much line left on the reel and that meant it was truly some deep water.
So I sat back and watched the crane fly by once more and make a stop on a log out on the lake. I watched as it looked in the water fishing, just like me. After a bit, it plucked it prize from the water and took off. I was in the middle of wondering if I was going to catch anything, when I got a bite.
When I say bite I mean the rod was almost jerked from my hands. I held on tight and let what ever it was run for a bit before setting the hook. I pulled hard for the set; the rod bending in half. Fist thing was that crossed my mind judging by the weight I had caught a catfish—not any regular cat; no this was one of legends. At least that's what I was thinking at first.
When I started reeling in the line, I could hear the gears slip against each other inside the reel. The sound of plastic cracking told me I had a monster on the other end. I quickly let my mind run through the list of fish that could be caught in this lake. I've seen people pull small muskie out and those were not supposed to be in this lake. Muskie could grow to fifty pounds or more. Then there were the gar, could grow just as big and even bigger. Either way I knew I was screwed because those things have teeth—sharp teeth.
I didn't care, I wanted to have that story to tell everyone. So I cranked, the reel protesting all the way. After about twenty minutes I thought that maybe I had hooked into a sunken log—or worse a corpse. I'd heard of people pulling in dead bodies before and to ease my mind I stop reeling and let what ever was on the line run with it. Surly enough it took the line and as far as I knew logs and dead bodies didn't run with the line, so I started reeling the thing in once more.
The moon was starting to set, making the lake much darker. It would still be about two more hours or so before the sun would even start to light up the sky. If I was going to get this thing in soon, I was going to have to do it in the darkest part of the night. When I heard the water in front of me slash, I squinted in the dark trying to make it out.
Suddenly it was stuck.
Not going to give in, I pulled the rod back, until it snapped. Quickly I started wrapping the line around my hands and pulled. The line cut my hands, blood running down my arms—for the first time ever I started to wonder if maybe I took fishing too far. It didn't matter I had something hear, some sort of record and I was going to brag about it.
I turned my back to the water and started walking up the hill the line in tow behind me. To this day I don't understand how the line didn’t snap all I know is that It didn't. I could hear what ever it was bank behind me. As I turned to take a look I lost my footing and slid down the hill.
In that split second I saw what I had pulled from the water—this was no fish. It did have teeth, but it also had legs. Large bug like legs that It was pushing its self with. Trying to get back into the water. It looked like a cross between a giant spider and a snapping turtle with teeth and I was heading right for it's mouth.
I screamed out trying to stop myself, my scream seaming like it was a dinner bell for it. It moved forward towards me, I fight with the line wrapped around my hand. Kicking at its long thin legs; I did my best to keep away from its tooth filled beaked mouth. The massive thing pulled at me, my hand, my fucking hand was still wrapped in the line and the line was hooked into its mouth.
I got my footing and stood up. I took in the thing I had pulled into land. All I could make out was legs and a crawfish-like tail. What the hell was this thing? I didn't have time to figure it out. I just dug around my pocket for my knife.
The thing was close to me, I could feel its breath on my hand—my hand it was about to pull into its mouth. I pulled my pocket knife out just as it clamped down on my hand. I screamed out and started stabbing at it with my free arm and pulling my trapped one. I tried for its eyes; but they were out of my reach and I wasn't going to stop pulling away.
After a bit I could feel that the thing was pulling me back to the water. I looked at my arm in its mouth. I had already stabbed myself a few times in my attempts to free myself. So as a last ditch effort I started chopping away at my hand. As I stabbed I would twist my arm. After a moment I could feel the bone crack and when I flew back on my back I didn't take a moment to look at my new stump, I got on my feet and I darted up the hill. Pulling my shirt off and wrapping the wound in it.
After going to the hospital, they contacted my family. I told everyone what I saw, what had happened. No one believed me. They just kept repeating it was a man made lake, there is no way anything larger than a big cat fish could live there. They all assumed I did this to myself and for a while I was in a mental hospital.
I got out last week and I wasn't going to talk about that trip ever again—but word is late night swimmers during the summer time have gone missing up at the lake. I just want to get the word out there that I know what it is and it's not a fish.