Written by Brendan Denuyl (hardtymesfishing on Instagram)
It will be the moment you least expect it that you land the catch of a lifetime…….
My name is Brendan, also known as “The Swim Bait Assassin”, and this is one of the craziest fishing stories of my life.
It was an early morning and I was looking forward to a full day of shooting an episode for Lucky Tackle Box. I called up my 2 good friends Tommy and Trev to do some good old fashioned bass fishing. I had a spot in mind I was familiar with that usually produced plenty of fish. So we head out to the spot, and as soon as we finally reach after a long drive the rain begins to pour down us literally as soon as we casted.
Go figure, the day I’m trying to shoot for LTB. So we relocate to the main body of water in the area where I knew all of the fish were. Sure enough, it was a ghost town! The few times I had been to this spot prior to this day we always slayed. I would always catch at least a 5 pounder or heavier for the biggest of the day with a solid 40-50 fish landed total between me and who ever else I was fishing with. On this day for some reason we only had about 10 fish landed between 3 of us in 5 hours! Just one of those days and we’ve all been there, its just a part of fishing.
We decide to call it a day and start walking back toward the car. Along the way there was one last body of water that i knew had fish in it as well. So we start casting as we walk up and finally start getting a few more bites which made the day a little better, but still a weak day. So for whatever reason they take the left side of the lake and I take the right, which I had NEVER done before today. I catch a few more bass and yell out to them from the other side of the lake to come get in on the bite I was on. Mid sentence! As i’m yelling out to them while I continue retrieving my 3 inch swim bait at a steady pace, my rod tip gets yanked down and my drag screamed! I hadn’t seen the fish but i knew it felt too heavy to be a bass.
So my first guess was that maybe I happened to snag a carp on accident so I yell out to the boys “I got a carp on come over for a picture.” They don’t move a muscle, I guess the carp didn’t excite them. Seconds later I see a big silver fish jump out of the water and see a beautiful spotted pattern along the tail. Suddenly everything around me no longer existed and my heart felt like it paused. IT WAS A CLOWN KNIFE FISH!!! I scream as loud as I possibly could, “its a clown knife fish! Its a clown knife fish! run run run!” Now they were definitely running over full speed with the cameras rolling! I managed to keep it hooked the whole fight until it was landed. Then as soon as it touched the bank it spit the swim bait and tried flopping back down toward the water! It was my first one ever caught or hooked into and when it was finally landed I started screaming doing jumping jacks of joy!
For those who aren’t aware, a Clown Knife Fish is a rare exotic fresh water fish that is only located in very few areas here in Florida. As well, the few places they are found they are usually more known to eat live bait only. So me happening to catch my first Clown Knife Fish completely on accident with no knowledge of it even being in the area was enough excitement. To make it all better I caught it on artificial, it didn’t spit the hook, and it was a big one as well, just about full grown. Words cant describe how ecstatic I was and still am about this catch. We took a few pictures and it was released safely to grow even bigger. I hope we can meet again one day.
To sum it all up, fishing is a sport of patience, positive thinking, and the unknown. You never know what you’re going to run into when going fishing. Nothing is ever guaranteed, and sometimes the worst fishing days can end in one catch that you will never forget. For those who love fishing as much as I do, its a grind and it takes a lot of learning to dial in on different species of fish but its so worth it. The only way to learn, is to keep fishing! Like i always say, “you can’t catch a fish if you ain’t got a line in the water”. So just keep fishing and best of luck to all of you reading this. I hope you enjoyed the story and there are plenty more where that came from. TIGHT LINES!!!