Kid’s 28-Pound Striped Bass On Lanier Trip
GON Kids: November 2017
By David Floyd
I booked a trip with my go-to professional striper guide Doug Youngblood on Lake Lanier. He agreed to take one of my clients, Brady Daniels, and his 12-year-old son, Ethan, out on Thursday, Sept. 21.
This wasn’t just another day on the water for me. I was looking forward to this very special day. Ethan was diagnosed with cancer in March of this year and has been through a tremendous amount of treatment over the last seven months. His prognosis is good, and he has a very bright future in front of him. However, it’s been tough on him, and the fact that we could get him out fishing was a real treat for me to watch.
We were enjoying a great day and had caught around 12 to 15 average-sized stripers. Toward the end of the trip, Ethan hooked a big one, and the battle ensued for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Ethan battled the fish all by himself with no physical assistance.
When we landed the fish, you could have heard the celebration for miles around the lake. We were in awe at the size of fish this young man had caught by himself. On Doug’s scales it weighed 28 pounds.
Doug does not normally advocate mounting a fish, but he said since this was a once-in-a-lifetime fish, he recommended that Brady and Ethan keep the big striper and have it mounted. I expected Ethan to beg his dad to keep and mount the fish, but he never spoke a word until they agreed to let it go. We released the fish, but it was so worn out that it floated belly up. Doug said that it would likely revive itself and swim off pretty quickly.
We all found ourselves cheering the fish on in hopes that it would swim off. It wasn’t long when the big fish turned over and dove to the bottom like it was shot out of a cannon.
It seemed that Ethan was more excited about the fish surviving than the actual feat of catching such a trophy. We celebrated again together, and then Ethan went to the front of the boat and proceeded to dance in celebration. Priceless!
It was the first time I had ever met Ethan and found him to be an extraordinary and well-mannered young man and truly felt blessed to be a part of the memories that were created during those few, short minutes of him catching and releasing the fish.
I fish quite often. I am 51 years old and feel quite confident that this will be the best fishing story that I will ever be a part of and share.
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