What the Mango is Going On Here?
Sometimes It's All About the One That Got Away
by Robb Hoff
October 22, 2012
I had only been at the Ohio River dam wall for about 10 minutes, slow jigging the blue Mango LS 84 when the soft tug I felt as I gradually pulled up went...........WHAM!
And the brawl was on.
If you've ever had a big hybrid striped bass or striped bass on the other end of the line, you know that it really is a brawl. The fish jerks as it rolls and the sudden torque on the line can snap the line if the drag is not set right and sometimes even if it is set right because the fish jerks so violently
I didn't have any such problem with the drag, which I had set just fine to release line when the fish was at its fiercest. Five minutes into muscling this beast from the depths of Ohio River murk, the drag was the furthest issue from my mind as the scale in my mind began to gauge the weight of the fish in the double digits of pounds.
During the battle that raged, I conjured the stuffed and mounted image of the 22-pound Ohio River striped bass that my grandad caught from the Ohio River some 15 years ago. I wasn't sure my fish was that big or even a striped bas at that -- it was more likely a hybrid striped bass -- but I was sure of one thing.
This was a big 'un.
And about the time I was sure the fish would issue a virtual vortex of a roil as it surely neared the surface closer now to shore, I felt that sickening release in pressure that can only be described as sickening.
"What happened", I wondered, only with a few more words involved in my wondering and most of those words of the choice variety.
I reeled the lonely Mango the rest of the way in. The line hadn't snapped and the hooks hadn't bent.
So what did happen?
I really don't know, but the release didn't occur during a characteristic jerk-and-roll of the striper variety. It was more like the hook just pulled free from the mouth of the fish.
Did I apply too much pressure for an instant or lapse with too much slack at the wrong time? I'm sure I didn't. The fish just got off, leaving me to wonder what could've been.
After I lost the monster, I lost my lure later that day to a snag I couldn't overcome.
And since then I've had a time trying to find another Mango LS 84.
The stripers and hybrid stripers of the Ohio River may start to cool off with the falling temperatures, but I still search for that blue Mango LS 84 in the hope I get one more crack at landing a monster like the one on my grandad's wall.
But until then, I'll just have to keep on wondering.