Is That A Fish Around Your Neck? by Susan Brownell
I got this tie as a gift that I have to pass on to a fellow fisherman… But before doing so, I needed to have my picture taken while wearing it and holding my catch of the day…. here is that story…..
When I first started fishing, I only fished with small garden worms. Night crawlers were just too big for me to keep on the hook. When I started getting serious about fishing, I started researching the Internet. I could not believe all of the information out there. The Internet is an endless ocean of fishing tips, techniques and fishing fools like me.
The first year that I was online, I was just starting to fly-fish. I needed to learn all about mayflies, artificial flies, TROUT! I came to the conclusion that along with Internet access to more fishing tips than I could ever read; I also wanted to subscribe to a fishing magazine. This is when I stumbled across the North American Fisherman’s Club. The price couldn’t be beat. I forget now, but I think it was $13.00 a year and I received 6 magazines, had access to their website and bulletin board, and I received a lot of small freebies… hooks, bobbers, stickers… Sounded great to me, and it has been one of my better investments no doubt.
I remember telling on the bulletin board that I was new to fly-fishing and asked what basic items should I purchase. I told that I had a flyrod and some flies. Some suggestions where things a net, waders, fishing vest…. And then there were some ODD things that I had never heard of that people suggested like tippets, a creel, hemostats. I had to go research these online to see what they were. I knew what hemostats were, but didn’t understand why I needed a pair!
That was three years ago, and now I’m a Life Member of the NAFC and visit the bulletin boards daily. I’m not one for online chat rooms, but let me tell you, people in the bulletin boards/forums start to feel like family after a while. Especially when you ALL have one love in common, and that’s fishing. November 2003, one of the NAFC members received a tie from a friend of his as a joke… a re-gifter, to be passed along to people because, well…it looks like a fish dangling from around your neck! ON a sleety day in January, our friend Rodrigo presented the members of NAFC with the opportunity of volunteering to be the recipients of the re-gifter tie on their birthdays or other occasions. The stipulations were that you had to take it fishing and wear the tie for a picture of you holding your catch. Then you had to post that picture online and tell a brief story about your day. Also, there’s a binder being sent with the tie where you need to add a page of the picture of you in the tie and the story. And if you get skunked, you still have to get your picture taken wearing the tie and tell about your day!
As the tie started making it’s rounds, one person suggested that we send a small gift to the next recipient, for their birthday. I just received the tie on my anniversary this month, September 9th, from the club member Cane pole in Wisconsin. He sent David and I a rechargeable Coleman Halogen spotlight! And he sent along a birthday present for me as well, with a note saying “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL YOUR BIRTHDAY!” Well my birthday is in March, so I set it aside and was going to wait, but cane pole told me to go ahead and open it. He sent me a great little Shrade pocketknife, some size 5 hooks, and my first ever SUPER FLUKES! And he rigged one up for me too! I can’t wait to try them.
So anyways, now you know that I have the tie. And you ask, so Susan, have you taken it fishing? And I respond with “But of COURSE I HAVE!” Naturally, your next question is going to be, “So, did ya catch anything?” And my response is going to be “OH YES!” And as I sit here and look at the picture of my catch, I have to laugh at the lengths some people will go to for something as silly as this tie!
I chose to take some homemade dough bait and go carp fishing at a local pond one day around noon. I bass fished for a while with no luck, not even any strikes, so I decided it was time to slow down the pace. The sun was getting higher in the sky and things were heating up. I put a glob of bait on my hook and casted it out on a whim there might be carp here. After about 20 minutes I saw some carp in another area so I went there and fished. Shortly thereafter my bait caster’s line began to move, so I watched it. Now a carp will play with the bait. Sometimes they run with it a little and drop it. My experience has been that when one is hooked, they take off real fast and make your reel sing. Well, this must have been a carp testing the bait, so I waited. Again, more line came off at a slow pace, but stopped. I decided that the next time this happened, I was going to try to set the hook. Not a minute later, it was moving again and I picked up my rod and set the hook. For a split second, it was just like a thud, not like when you have just set the hook in a carp, but like I had snagged it. I knew what I had, I just knew it had to be a turtle and sure enough, within a minute, I had reeled in a huge snapping turtle. We just looked at each other. What do I do NOW! I was all alone, I forgot my Leatherman tool and I had no pliers. But let’s face it; I wouldn’t have used ANY of that anyways.
I keep a cloth and Leather gloves in my vest, but my vest was out of reach because it had gotten so warm that day. I opened my bail and set down my rod. I ran to my vest and got the gloves, the cloth and OH YEAH, don’t forget the tie.
When I returned to my rod, the turtle was heading back into the depths of the pond. So I reeled it in again, but this time I had a glove on… one glove, the other one was in my truck. Thankfully, when it came out of the pond this time, weeds were covering its head. I reached down to grab it’s tail and it jumped, hissed and snapped…. and so did I! One more time and HOLY COW… I’m holding a SNAPPING TURTLE! Oh what a great time it would have been to have my video camera. Here I am … NOW WHAT?
I brought it up onto shore and set my digital camera up for a self-timed picture. Let’s see… I have 10 seconds to hit the button, get to the turtle, pick UP the turtle without being eaten alive, and then make sure that I am in the view OF the camera. Piece of cake.
First I threw that cloth on the turtle’s head so it wouldn’t see me coming, then I put on the tie (man it’s ugly!). And now here we go… click the button, run to the turtle, grab its tail, pick it up and HOPE the cloth falls off, look at the camera. Waiting for the snap. Did someone say snap? Ok, look real quick at the turtle; make sure it is NOT near your hair… WOW… it sure has a HUGE PINK MOUTH… coming right at me! “snap” goes the camera. Now a few choice words from me because I realize I need to do this again! I am laughing during this mind you and my adrenaline is just raging! What a rush!
The second time I took my picture with the turtle, I was more calm and moved my hair to the OTHER side so I didn’t have to worry about the turtle grabbing it. After the picture, I carefully set a yardstick as close to him as I dared, and his shell measured to be about 20 inches long.
OK, now I have to release him. He is really angry with me right now and would just love to take a few fingers with him back into the pond. He swallowed the hook, so I had to cut the line. I cut it about 8 inches from his mouth and just let him sit there and glare at me while I picked up my gear. I walked to another area of the pond and came back ten minutes later, and he was gone.
And that was my day with the tie!