While fishing today, I cast out, saw some action on the line, felt a little fight and then ... nothing. Experience has taught me that there is now a good chance that the worm on my hook has been stolen and I will need to reapply bait.
And so, I reel in the line. Now, at my little fishing spot, on the north end of my property, I invariably have to reel back through a patch of weeds. As I set my pole on the picnic table on my pier, I see something on the hook. It looks small and black. I assume at first glance that a portion of the worm survived the incident and I will be able to just reapply some more worm on top of this remnant.
A closer examination, however, initially confused me. That's no worm. What is that thing?
I have to take my glasses off to look at anything close up (even my bifocals are no good for very close up inspection). And, lo and behold, I see that I have hooked ... a small snail!
I'm honestly asking the question. Might this possibly be the world record smallest living organism ever caught by a fish hook?
Granted, every time you reel in, there are microbes on the hook smaller than this guy. But I can dip my finger in the water and bring up microbes.
This snail was actually caught by the tip of the barb of that hook.
Mirabile dictu, the little guy survived! As I removed him from the hook, I saw that the snail had contracted safely into his shell.
This picture doesn't really show well the scale of just how small this thing was. I use small hooks because, fact is, you can catch even the biggest fish with a small hook, but you can't catch small fish with a big hook. The leader the hook is on provides a bit of perspective on the relatively small size of the hook and, therefore, the tininess of that snail!
I practice catch and release. And so, back in the water he went!
Looking forward to catching you again some day, Mr. Snail. When you're bigger and can put up more of a fight...
Keith Massey was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. He has his doctorate
from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biblical Hebrew, with a
minor in Arabic. After 9/11, he served as an Arabic linguist at the NSA.
He is currently a Latin teacher at a public high school in New Jersey.
Keith is the author of Intermediate Arabic for Dummies.
His fiction novels follow the adventures of Andrew Valquist, roughly
patterned after himself--a man born and raised in Wisconsin who gets
pulled into the world of international intrigue.
Keith's novels are A Place of Brightness, Amor Vincit Omnia: An Andrew Valquist Adventure, Next Stop: Spanish, and In Saecula Saeculorum.