ca. 4 minutes
For as long as I can remember, my family and I have gone vacationing in Northern Michigan during the Fourth of July. This first started many years ago when my great grandfather brought his small, five member family to Mullet Lake. Today we continue the family tradition, only now we have twenty-one family members. During the many years of fishing, my great grandfather would always say, “You know, I’ve been fishing on this lake for seventy years and I’ve never caught a sturgeon.”
As I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered that one of my favorite pastimes up north is going fishing. As a little kid, sitting on the boat for hours waiting for something to tug on the line was as exciting as watching paint dry. Despite this, I’ve started to appreciate fishing on a deeper level. I realized that the real reason our family loves fishing is because we do it together. That is exactly what my great grandfather saw when he began the tradition of going up north. He saw his family growing, smiling, laughing, and spending time together on this lake.
In 2014, my great grandfather passed peacefully.
Although my great grandfather was not with us the following year, we continued with our tradition knowing he would be with us. As we were out on the lake I suddenly felt a bite and immediately began to reel in. The line grew heavier and heavier with each turn of the reel. My family was convinced that the line was snagged on a log or rock. Four minutes later, the mysterious catch was near the surface. It fought with me as it swam back down and to the front of the boat. My uncle was ready with the net as he told me to keep steady. I kept reeling and reeling until the fish broke water. “It’s a God damn sturgeon!” my uncle yelled out. Everyone was in disbelief as the prehistoric, bottom feeding creature swam beside our boat. Unfortunately, the net we had was not big enough and the massive sturgeon escaped with a whip of its tail. The boat went silent in its absence.
Call it what you will, whether it be luck, coincidence, or a miracle, I choose to believe in what I did not even get see. A fish so rare, a fish so strong, a fish that can bring people together, and a fish that can make eight grown men go silent.
If that isn’t a Big Catch, then I don’t know what is.