The One That Got Away On the Mississippi River

Billy McCaghren's Story Of The One That Got Away

Billy McCaghren

My best — or worst — one that got away story is from this season. It was the last day of the Mississippi River tournament in Iowa. I had a 3-pound lead going into Day 4 and the fishing was tougher than ever. I fished until Noon without a bite and had to leave my primary area and relocate the fish.I found a good looking spot and caught a 4-pounder off a laydown. A 4-pounder went a long way in a tournament as tough as that one. I circled around with about 30 minutes left in the tournament, found that same laydown, and I pitched a Sweet Beaver to it. Then I saw a 3 1/2-pounder boil on it and eat the bait.I set the hook, and almost instantly cut my line on the log. I was using 20-pound-test fluorocarbon, so there's no way that the log broke it. It had to be something on the log. It wasn't like I fought him to the boat. It was one of those hook him, fight him, and he's off — just that fast. That was an $80,000 fish. It just wasn't my time to win.I ended up losing that tournament by 11 ounces. I would've won that tournament with that 3 1/2-pound fish. I think about that fish every day. Well, maybe not every day, but most days for sure. It's just one of those deals that happen in fishing. You wonder "Why me? Why today?" It happens to every angler, and it's never a good time, but this one was really bad.I've been asked a thousand times, "Why weren't you using braid?" but everything I caught that week was using 20-pound-test fluorocarbon, and I got them out of a lot worse places, too. Something on that laydown cut my line. It just wasn't meant to happen.

advertisement

advertisement