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A Tall Tale Fishing in Iowa River Turns UFO Sighting

Updated on January 2, 2014

Fishing trip turns into UFO siting/ lost time

Dad wades out into the river to catch larger fish, while I fish from a sandber.
Dad wades out into the river to catch larger fish, while I fish from a sandber. | Source
A huge glowing globe slowly comes down the river. Then makes a sharp left turn, descending slowly into the cornfields on above cliffs.
A huge glowing globe slowly comes down the river. Then makes a sharp left turn, descending slowly into the cornfields on above cliffs. | Source
Instead of going home, Dad took us to the cornfields to search for the UFO. I remember going into the cornfields, but my memories are blank until we were at home cleaning cold fish.
Instead of going home, Dad took us to the cornfields to search for the UFO. I remember going into the cornfields, but my memories are blank until we were at home cleaning cold fish. | Source

Father and Son Fishing in Iowa River

The summer of 1967 would have put me as a young boy at the tender age of 8, being bored with not much to do. So when dad asked if I wanted to go to the river fishing, I was instantly on my feet collecting fishing gear; poles, bait bucket, tackle box, and whatever other accessories my dad directed me to get.

We headed east to a small creek where we spent an hour collecting enough frogs for a evening of catfishing along the Iowa River. On the way back through town, dad stopped at the local Dairycreme drive-in and we both got rootbeer floats, which was quite a rare treat back then.

We then headed west across the big bridge, past both the lower and upper Pine Lakes to a place known as Steamboat Rock, so named for the rock cliff that resembled the front of an old steamboat. It was probably an hour or so before dusk when we pulled into the lower area of the park which had room to park our old Galaxie 500 close to our fishing spot on the river.

Dad helped me get my pole set-up right with a light guage leader, a bobber, and medium hook through the lip of one of the smaller frogs. I then walked cautiously out on a sandbar and cast my line out to let the current carry my rig down river a ways. I watched as dad pulled on his chest high waders, so that he could wade out into the river, having set-up his own pole with heavier tackle and a big frog to go after the larger catfish.

After an hour or so of nothing more than a few snags, I was already getting bored with no fish biting and ready to give up my pole and go exploring. As dusk was just setting in, my father encouraged me to just keep on fishing, probably not wanting to keep track of me wandering off.

About that time a huge cloud of what we called mayflies came through, getting in my ears, eyes, mouth, and hair. These strange insects looked like a small green caterpillar with wings and seemed to travel in a massive cloud that covered the river from bank to bank, many ending up on top of the water being caught in the river's currents.

These insects were aparrently good fish food, as I was still trying to get mayflies out of my hair, when a fish hit my line hard. I reeled in a nice 2-3 pound catfish, and as quick as I got him off and on a stringer, I got my pole set-up again. No sooner did I get my line back in the water, when I got another hit. Dad looked over at me as if to say, so you're gonna catch them all tonight, huh?

As I reeled in my next 2-3 lb.catfish to add to the fish stringer, dad reeled his line in to check and see if he still had any bait left. His frog still firmly in position, he cast back out to a bend in the river. His bobber must have rode the current only a few yards, when it was jerked hard under the surface by what we both thought to be a monster fish. He worked a few minutes to drag this one in, which turned out to be a nice 8-10 lb. catfish. This continued to be the action, until I had four 2-3 lb. cats, and dad reeled in a third one of the larger catfish.

Now that the fish had settled back down after their frenzy from all those mayflies hitting the water, I was starting to get bored again and was ready to go. Dad recognized that in me and said, "Just let me cast once more and see if I can get one more, ok son?"

"Awright, dad," I replied, resigned to refrain from rock skipping or any other childish fun until he was through with this last attempt. I had reeled in my line, and threw my drowned frog back in the river for a freebie to the fish still in search of a meal.

I looked back up the river at the full, harvest moon rising slowly above the tree line. That's when I saw another luminous globe much larger than the full moon, moving steadily along the tree tops towards our position. "Dad, what's that?!"

Hearing the alarm in my voice, dad spun to look in amazement at this glowing globe, just as it turned at a 90 degree angle and seemed to settle down in the cornfields just past the road on top of the cliffs above us. Not receiving an answer to my question, I ask again nervously,"Dad, what was that?"

Ignoring my question altogether, my dad quickly reels in his line, and unchacteristic for my dad shouts sternly, "Just get our gear together, NOW son!" Understanding by this tone of voice that my dad meant get to it, no fooling around and no questions, I quickly gathered all our equipment and our stringer of fish, putting them in a bucket of water. By the time I had done these chores, my dad had stashed his own fishing pole, removed his waders, and was climbing into the car.

We drove back up the steep incline in the road and followed it along the cornfields that bordered it on the way out of the park leading back to the highway. Not another word had been spoken, as we both looked out over the farm lands in search of the unknown object we had seen moments before. Dad turned the old Ford back south towards town and our home, everything seemed fine. Until he turned right, onto a dirt road that deadended at the river in the midst of the cornfields where the globe had appeared to settle down.

"Dad, where are we going?" I asked nervously, half scared of what the answer might be.

"Just be quiet, son!" he responded, as we pulled into a turn-in for the field at the roads end, then added, "You better come with me!" as he got out and headed into the field.

Being afraid to stay by myself, but more afraid to go, I didn't know what to do except to obey my dad. So I hurried to the fence that he held the strand of barbed wire up for me to duck under. This is where things get blurry, as I only remember following him into that cornfield 10 or 15 yards. We got home 2-3 hours later, the fish being hard to skin and clean was the next things in my memory.

My dad was a bank vice-president, I suppose that was the reason he would never discuss this UFO incident infront of family or friends, at all. Back in those days, you were ridiculed as a complete nut, if you said you had witnessed any UFO incident. I only remember one time that my dad answered me when asked about that night, we were alone and all he would say was, "I don't know son, I just don't know!"

That's probably all I could say now too, I don't know exactly what that was, or why I don't seem to remember what transpired in the cornfield for several hours that I can't account for, "I just don't know!" 

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    • slcockerham profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Hey handymanbill, glad you enjoyed it. Just a short story from the brain archives.

    • handymanbill profile image


      6 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Interesting hub. Watched it all ad It is well done thanks


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