The Obsession

Fishing Ontario’s Lac Seul many moons ago, Pearson found himself in a truly treacherous dilemma. “It’s 1982,” he recalls. “I’m in the boat with Steve Fuller, who’s recently boated a bona fide 50 pounder from the big lake.

“A few casts into our trip, and this giant muskie comes along and just drills my Believer. Immediately, Fuller’s shouting that it’s bigger than his fish. Steve’s a big dude, and he wants this one in the boat bad. So like a lot of us did in those days, he reaches down and hoists the fish aboard by its gill cover. This thing probably goes better than 55 inches—just a whale of a muskie.

“Fuller wants a photo, and he just sort of pushes the fish at me; tries to wedge my hand into its gill cover as he gropes for the camera. But before I can get a good grip, he lets go, and sensing freedom, the fish flops, rips its enormous head and suddenly, I’m looking at two sets of trebles buried in my wrist. A second later, this huge and now very angry muskie kicks hard and summersaults overboard, and its weight nearly jerks me into the water behind it.

“The fish is thrashing like a pissed off bull, diving, thumping its massive tail. Steve has me by the belt. I’m screaming bloody murder. The fish is wrenching me around by the arm, and I feel the curtain going dark. I recall Steve whacking at it with a boat paddle or something.

“Eventually, somehow, he manages to pull us both back into the boat, where he pins the fish and cuts the hooks off the bait. Gripping the gunwale, zonked out and bleeding like a stuck pig, I look down just long enough to watch the fish swim lazily away.”

From there, Pearson loses focus; things get fuzzy. Failing to find a qualified doctor following a 50-mile boat ride to Sioux Lookout, Fuller wraps Pearson’s arm, puts it on ice and the two drive another 400 miles to Walker, Minnesota, where they manage to cross paths with Al Lindner. “Al takes one look at the bandages and all the blood, laughs, and asks if I’ve had a run in with Jeffrey Dahmer.

“Suffice to say, I rarely bring fish aboard anymore.”

North American Fisherman