Spider's Big Catch (From book Spider’s Big Catch) Gary E. Anderson www.abciowa.com
When I was in college, Spider McGee, Charlie Fox, and I loved to fish off log boom in river near my house on summer afternoons. We'd sit and talk about life, drink hot chocolate, and occasionally catch a fish or two. But one day, Spider yelled, "Hey, I got something, and it feels big!"
Catching any fish—of any size—was always a surprise, but hooking something big was reason for genuine excitement. As Spider began to reel, his pole bent almost in half.
"This thing is a monster," he said, drag on his reel screaming.
After twenty minutes or so, he'd gotten it close enough to boom to get a glimpse of his catch. It was a snapping turtle.
"Ah, man, that's too bad," said Charlie. "I thought maybe you had Old Granddad there, for a second. Cut line and let him go."
"Are you crazy?" said Spider. "That lure was given to my dad by his grandfather. It was hand-carved in Norway—and he doesn’t even know I borrowed it! I gotta get it back."
"Well, how're you gonna do that?" I asked—and was soon sorry I had.
"I'll just bring him up to edge of boom, and you guys reach out and grab it," Spider said calmly.
Now, I'm dumb, but I'm not stupid.
I said, "No, no, no—you bring him to edge of boom, and then I'll try to pry lure loose with a stick."
"OK, that’ll work," said Spider.
As Spider struggled to bring turtle close to edge of boom, Charlie handed me a long stick. I reached out, and turtle's jaws instantly clamped down on stick. I lifted him out of water, and we headed toward bank.
Once on shore, we set angry turtle on ground, but he refused to let go of stick, lure still dangling from corner of his mouth. I reached out with my tennis shoe to nudge him in back, and instantly learned several interesting things about snapping turtles. First, they're not as slow as you might think, second, they're very agile, and third, they're well-named.
In a heartbeat, turtle's neck shot out, reached completely behind him, and bit through end of my sneaker. Then, spitting out rubber and nylon, he turned and looked at us menacingly.