There is something very, very big in lake Arcadia


So Skylar and I were fishing thursday evening in the south eastern corner of the lake near the “catfish goldmine” area, just to the left of it on the map (scroll down a few posts).  the lake was nice and calm & very little to no wind so we upped anchor and free floated for a while with a few heavy rig cat poles dangling down about 10 ft.

About 9:30 we were thinking about packing it in when Skylar said ‘hey we’re moving.’ Indeed the boat had turned around and was now facing south, and slowly moving in that direction. “Check the lines” one of us quickly said. I checked my three, slack, Skylar’s big cat pole was tight and angled out into the water the direction of our movement.

OOOooo we got excited.
Sky grabbed his pole and gave a good hook set jerk and pulled hard. The pole appeared to be snagged on a rock, and wasn’t doing the tell tale jerk bobbing of FISH ON! movement. With the boat free floating we figured we could probably get it loose if we just pulled the boat over to where it was hooked. Sky gave a good slow tug to start moving the boat… and something tugged back… HARD. “Man this thing is alive!” Skylar immediately reported out loud. Sky continued to play pull and give for the next 15 minutes until the boat and creature were stacked on top of each other.  At this point the thing was, we assumed, on the bottom of the lake about 15 feet down RIGHT under the boat. Sky’s putting a pretty good upward pull on his pole, it’s bent in half at a 90 degree angle strait down into the water. When the thing relaxed Sky was able to lift it about a foot strait up before it dove back down again, and when it tried to dive I am absolutely dead serious this thing DOVE! The thing had still not shown any signs of fish bobbing, thrashing around or horizontal movement whatsoever. This is about the time we realized that what we were dealing with was no fish, that it something far more massive. When it dove the pole did something we’d never seen before. The tip of the pole vibrated back and forth about 4 inches rapidly… very strange. It did that every time the thing made a mad dash for the bottom of the lake. There was nothing we could do to stop it’s decent once it decided that it wanted to go back to the bottom. Skylar was putting every bit of fishing know how and arm strength into this thing, pulling as it let him, quickly reducing drag to keep from snapping the line when it pulled. This dance went on for another 10 minutes, there was a brief moment when it seemed like the thing decided it was going to swim upwards and Sky was able to quickly reel in about 5-6 feet of slack before it tried to dive again. By this time we’d pulled in roughly 20 feet of line and we were beginning to wonder how close it was getting.

Right about this time Skylar got a good glimpse of the thing…  With me about 5 feet away from where the line met the water – clutching the giant fish net with white knuckles – , and Skylar & his headlight pointing strait down into the water about 3 feet from the surface, Sky reported “I SEE IT!” A big white underbelly of something rolling over in the water just a mere 1-1.5 feet below the surface, not 2 feet off the side of my little boat. Right about that time this thing decided that it didn’t want to be on the hook anymore and dove HARD, right under the boat at a sharp angle – the first time it actually made any violent motion the entire length of the fight – pulling Skylar’s fishing rod nearly backwards on itself, into the water, under the boat, and tore the hook loose….. The feeling I got when that hook came FLYING into the air to expose the fact that sky only had about 4 feet of line from hook to pole was one of absolute horror. It was akin to the feeling one would get if one were to see their wife get hit by a speeding car, or the feeling you get when you realize the plane you’re in is going to crash.

For a brief moment Skylar and I stared at each other dealing with the shock and horror of loosing whatever creature it was.  Time stopped, thoughts froze and nothing else existed in the universe other than the fact that we had just lost the biggest creature that we had ever seen hooked in our lives.

So.. 30 pound test line, spit tightened polomar knot, 6” plastic coated steel leader, nice fat catfish hook & a 5-6” long dead shad resting 15 feet down on the bottom of that cove. 25 minute fight, no side to side movement, the feel of HUGE 150-200lbs of mass, very powerful creature, very strange vibration during movement, and a white underbelly.. there’s only three things I can think of that could fit that description:

100lbs+ lazy flathead catfish – but it really didn’t feel or act like a fish on a line…

Full grown adult male alligator snapping turtle the size of a semi truck tire – but they dont have white underbellies like what we saw…. or…..

an alligator, which as unlikely as it seems, fits every bit of the event’s happenings..

stay tuned for future updates. we will be assisting game wardens this evening spotlighting for this thing as we fish.. with really, really big ..catfish tackle.

Excerpts from Skylars log:

  1. Skylar says:

    Excepts from my (Skylar) fishing journal:
    2356hrs August 17, 2011

    2130hrs August 17, 2011
    …Just for the record, I was using a heavy pole with a heavy rig on it. The bait was fresh, dead shad. I had cast out about 20 feet to the south, which was the direction we were slowly drifting. During the time the line was out I had been taking up the slack and probably was still somewhere between 10 to 15 feet out from the boat and sitting on the lake bottom. Dave says that area is somewhere around 15 feet deep and I have no reason to doubt him…

    ….I felt the boat spinning around and then got the sensation of forward motion. Dave and I began checking poles. The instant I looked at my heavy catfish pole I knew something was up…

    …At first reeling in the line wasn’t that difficult and even though the boat was moving I could feel whatever I was hooked on moving toward the boat as well. The boat was almost on top of it and at this point I was still thinking it was a tree branch or something when it made a diving run back under the boat to the north. It was strong and I wasn’t ready for it. The pole pulled out of my right hand (the hand of the crank) and almost out of my left hand on the handle. The tip of my pole bent around to more than a 90-degrees angle and disappeared into the water. I believe it was at this point when I started yelling at Dave, “It something alive!” While I was yelling I shoved the end of the pole between my legs and sit on it while leaning back and pulling with both hands. At this point I was pretty sure my pole was going to break, but it didn’t. I managed to pull it out from under the boat and some of the pressure on the line let up.

    By this time Dave had hauled in a catfish of his own and moved forward so that he could now see what was going on… (See Dave’s report)

    …From this point on there were no more sideways runs. It was swimming straight down. I would get it coming up when it would start pulling almost straight down. There were several times I got worried my line or pole was going to break and backed off the drag to let it run. It would go straight down and just sit. Ever time I would get it get close to the boat I’d start feeling this throbbing in the pole that would get quicker and quicker. I quickly learned what was coming next and would get ready for the next dive…

    …Now my forearms were really starting to ache. I had no idea how long this tug-a-war had been going on, but I was getting worried that I wasn’t being aggressive enough. So this time when the pole started its tell-tell throbbing I decided not to loosen the drag. Instead I moved the end of the pole out from under me and hooked it under the edge of my belt. When the dive came I pulled back hard listening for any signs of my pole breaking. At this point my pole started vibrating violently. I yelled at Dave, “Can you see this!”…

    …I got about three turns on the crank when I saw something huge and off white about 2 to 3 feet down in the water and about a foot to the side of where my line disappeared into the water. It was definitely rolling counter clockwise. Then it dove again and I couldn’t keep it up. This time I managed to stop the dive about 5 feet down…

    (Continued Next Comment)

  2. Skylar says:

    (Continued From Previous Comment)

    Excepts from my (Skylar) fishing journal:
    2356hrs August 17, 2011

    2130hrs August 17, 2011

    …I quickly reeled it up again and when it went to dive I pulled a few feet to the side. The effect was it hardly went down at all. I waited for the next dive and did the same. I was inching it up…

    …This went on about 4 more times. Then it happened. I felt the throbbing, pulled to the side and leaned back when all of a sudden my hook and about 3 foot of line came shooting up in air between Dave and me. I toppled back into seat behind me…

    0945hrs August 18, 2011

    Called Chance Lively, a Lake Arcadia Game Warden, and told him my story. After listening to my description of events he told several things. One was that it sounded very much like an alligator. They are going to begin searching the lake for gator signs today. Although he wouldn’t say it was one for sure, Dave’s and my reports were similar to what others had reported with gators elsewhere. Another was he ruled out turtles. His conclusion was a very large flathead catfish or an alligator, but “catfish generally don’t swim straight down.”

    2323hrs August 18, 2011

    Dave tells me that there was about 4 feet of fishing line from the tip of my pole to the hook when it pulled through.

    Final update (dave here) – the game wardens searched for drag marks on the shore line around the area and spotlighted for a few nights. about a week after the event skylar and i were out fishing near the area again. we had observed a boat spot lighting for some time up in the cove but didnt think much of it.  later on we heard 2 or 3 small arms fire gunshots from that direction, sounded like a 22WMR. We can’t be for sure because the wardens are pretty closed lips about it, understandably if word got out to local media, but sky & i have pretty high suspicions that our “lake monster” has been dealt with.  Regardless, we still fish that cove with one massive 80 pound line pole & a deep sea gaff hook with the hopes that the creature will one day return.