Bear animation

The One That Didn't Get Away
by Mick Chappell

Ocala, Florida

Fishing in a canoe with alligators

I remember a particular incident that happened to me about five years ago while I was fishing a local pond in Ocala, Florida. It was a hot summer day and I had decided to load my canoe and go do a little largemouth fishing at said pond. I asked my wife to join me and she said she wouldn't fish but instead would go sit by the water and read a book while I fished. With this in mind I loaded the canoe and off we went.

When we got to the pond, I launched the canoe and began paddling across to this one area where a tree had fallen sometime ago. This making excellent cover for bass in the hot part of the day, only problem was that it also made a good hangout for the resident gator that we saw in the pond from time to time. Upon arriving to my "hot spot" I prepared my line for fishing, putting on a 4-inch electric grape worm in which I planned to jig the area with.

Well the first pitch I didn't get it right where I wanted it, so I began to lift the rod tip to drop the lure in another spot hoping to get a better chance of getting a strike. As I lifted the line the unexpected happened and a large bass about 4 ½ pounds grabbed my worm! I yanked to set the hook and when I did I went completely backwards dumping the canoe and everything in it including myself. Well here I am under water with canoe and tackle floating everywhere. It happened so fast that all I remember doing was thinking there may be a gator in the water HERE, and groping for my fishing rod which I luckily grabbed while coming up for air. Anyway with rod in hand I managed to swim the canoe to shore, got out of the water and began to reel in my line which to my amazement still had the 4 1/2 pounder, fighting like a pro, still on the hook.

When I looked across the pond to show my wife the fish, she was rolling on the ground laughing at the sight she had just witnessed, I lifted the bass in the air and proceeded to show her the "one that didn't get away".

Fishing with alligators

Fishing with alligators