In my hometown of Beaverton, Michigan, there’s a reservoir called Ross Lake. This lake and the river below the dam are well-known for the monster carp that inhabit its waters. It is said that the largest carp of this species caught in the world — 114 inches long — was caught there sometime in the 1940s.
One day, my friend Dennis and I decided to try our luck fishing for smallmouth bass below the dam, in a wide part of the river the locals call the Flats.
I was using a small, ultralight rod and reel with 4-pound test line. In a matter of 10 minutes, I had a fish hooked. A second later, it was stripping out line like crazy, with my little rod bent into a hook shape. The fish lunged down river, then circled around and followed the edge of the bank on the other side, headed up river.
After changing directions several times, the fish stopped in a shallow weed bed in the middle of the river. I tried and tried to get it to move, but it wouldn’t. So Dennis got the idea of throwing sticks at it. After six or seven throws, the fish shot out of the weed bed, stripping out line like before.
I just held on and let him play. Finally, about 25 minutes after the ordeal began, Dennis helped me land my catch — a 48-pound, 51 1/2-inch-long carp.
And this monster was caught with an ultralight rod and reel with 4-pound test line! What a fish story!
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