I’m trying not to start off on a morbid note, but one of the realities of life is that everything is destined to die. Humans spend millions to fight off death. Animals instinctively know how to avoid being killed. Even plants have defense mechanisms that kick into gear under adverse growing conditions. But in the end, it’s the end.
|Every fish caught comes with a story.|
Some things die hard. Ever had a weed in your garden that just kept resprouting? Some things seem to tempt their fate daily. Human daredevils can get rich or famous (or dead) from their exploits.
Some things just seem bent on destruction.
I encountered a steelhead yesterday that filled that bill to a T and gave a couple of fishermen some thrills along the way. One could argue it was the fish’s fate. Others might call it destiny.
After all, the reason one of Indiana’s fish hatcheries made the effort to capture it’s parents, care for them until the eggs were ripe and fertile, then nurtured the hatchling from fry to fingerling to big enough to stock in Lake Michigan was with the hope some fisherman would eventually hook up with it.
The last fish my group of anglers hooked Saturday morning came with a surprise. I extended the net and scooped the struggling fish out of the lake, ending the tussle. As I lifted the fish into the boat, I noticed a strand of monofilament line in the net along with the fish.
“Odd,” thinks me. I try to keep stray strands of mono picked up, and hoped one of my lures wasn’t attached to (or detached from) the extra fishing line. As I removed the lure that had caught the steelhead from the fish, some of the wayward line was tangled in the treble at the end of the spoon.
“Doubly odd,” thinks me. I noticed the line wasn’t my line at all. Too thin. Probably 4 or 6 pound test. My first postulation was that the hook had snagged onto a length of discarded line, however, I’d think more than a few inches of it would have disturbed the action of the lure pulling through the water and the fish wouldn’t have bitten it.
Then it dawned on me to look again inside the mouth of the fish. Sure enough! Embedded inside was a bright red perch-sized hook.
|The perch hook in this steelhead's mouth is a|
clue that it's a part of some other fish story.
So this steelhead, destined from birth to die and nurtured from it’s conception to be caught by a happy angler, became a “well-storied” fish. When it bit the perch fisherman’s minnow, it gave him or her a story to tell and a lasting memory. When it bit the spoon trolling behind my boat it gave a tale to the angler who fought and won the battle. In addition, it gave me a story to tell to you, as well. All fish should meet such a well-storied end.