I was a cute li'l fucker back then, huh?
I ran across this old picture of me with my very first BAT. The writing on the back says I caught it on 30 May 1973 which would put me at 14 years old at the time.
I still remember it. Me and Dad had skipped school and work to go fishing at the Rod & Gun Club ponds at Kaiserslautern West Germany. They had an pond set aside that they threw their wore-out breeders in. Not a lot of fish in there, but they were all big.
It started raining like a motherfucker and Dad was up on the bank above me hollering for me to get my ass in the car. I had an old butt ugly F4 Flatfish on and was trying to get in one last cast.
Bam, that monster was one and running for the sticks along the bank. I had 2 pound test line on and was playing my drag to keep him from breaking the line and trying like hell to keep him away from the sticks where he would wrap up and break away.
It took me 20 minutes and I was sorry to see it end - not because of the battle but because of Pops up above me screaming like a little girl "KEEP YOUR ROD TIP UP DAMMIT HE'S RUNNING LET HIM GO LET HIM GO GODAMMIT YOU'RE GONNA LOSE HIM IF YOU DON'T KEEP THAT FUCKING OH SHIT HE'S TURNED AND COMING IN DON'T GIVE HIM ANY SLACK....."
It was entertaining, to say the least.
So that just happens to be the smallest BAT I've ever caught. Why? Because that fish right there set my standard for a BAT - minimum 25 inches and 5 pounds.