Ron Bowman thought he’d snagged his fishing line on a cable.
But it didn’t take him long to realize he snagged a monster, instead.
“At first I thought I hooked a cable because I was fishing right by a buoy marker,” said the 60-year-old Payson resident of his Feb. 11 experience at Apache Lake. “As I lifted my line up to pull it back, I felt it go down and swim out in front of my boat.
“I was thinking that I had the new state record largemouth (bass). I knew it was a monster fish. It made a complete circle around my boat before it tired out and came up.”
Instead of a bass, it was a 9-pound, 28-inch walleye. In order words, “just a monster walleye,” he said.
The 33-inch walleye Show Low’s Gregg Munck caught at Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low on June 27, 2004 remains the state record. But it’s the biggest fish Bowman has ever caught and a story he’ll have the pleasure of telling for years to come.
He wasn’t even fishing for walleye.
“I was actually fishing for bass,” said the owner of a landscaping business. “And the same particular reef I was fishing, I had caught a 5-pound largemouth and a 3-pound smallmouth. I caught the second one at about 3:15 p.m. so it was about 4 o’clock when I caught the walleye.”
He used a crawdad color shad rap to lure the big fish.
After having the fish weighed and his picture taken with it, he put it back in the water because of its condition.
“You could see it was a pregnant female and I didn’t want to take it out of the lake,” he said.
With all his years fishing, he’s got some stories. But this one will be hard to beat.
“I’ve been fishing all my life and that’s the first giant walleye I ever caught,” he said. “The largest one I caught was out of Apache about 10 years ago. It weighed 4 1/2 pounds. I thought that was a big fish until I caught this one and I realized what a real big walleye looks like. This was like twice the size of that one.”