Ive heard some bizarre fish stories through the years, but none to compare Daniel Elias tale "I Caught I Dead Guy."
Elias is an aspiring bass pro from Phoenix, AZ. who posted his story on the Texas Fishing Forum web site in response to another thread titled "Most Unusual Catch." After reading it, I contacted Elias by private message asked to share it with TF&G readers. Hold on your hats, cause this one is a doozy.
"I wrote this article a while back and after reading the "Most Unusual Catch" thread I figured Id share it here.
Most of us at one time or another have caught something out of the ordinary while fishing. Im no exception. Among the things Ive hooked into are fishing rods, anchors, and an official U.S. Border Patrol hat, but one day at Apache Lake, AZ I caught something I will never forget.
I was pre-fishing the lake with Richard, a friend of mine, in early March. It was sunny and calm with the water hovering around 61 degrees. By early afternoon we had already figured out a solid pattern and felt good about our chances in the next days tournament. The water was unusually clear for Apache Lake and with a pattern already in place we decided to see if we could locate some bigger smallmouth on beds.
We fired up the boat and made a run up the lake over to the flats near Turtle Island. We dropped the trolling motor and began our search for spawning fish.
We had been looking for all of about two or three minutes when I looked down into about 8-9 feet of water and noticed something down in the pea gravel. It appeared to be a small black object but I wasnt able to make out exactly what it was.
I called Richard over and we both fixed our eyes on the unknown object and starting making guesses as to what it could be. Was it a battery, a sonar unit, a tacklebox, or just someones garbage? We werent sure but for whatever reason we decided we had to find out.
We both tied on heavy jigging spoons and began attempting to snag the unknown item. Unfortunately we were having a difficult time getting our hooks to grab onto it. They seemed to just slide right over and when they did catch they only held momentarily before the hook would pop free after the slightest pressure was put on the line.
After trying for about 10 minutes with no luck we were just about to give up when my hook solidly grabbed the object. I tried to lift it up but could only get it a foot or two off the bottom. It was way too heavy for my rod to handle.
Richard leaned over the side of the boat and slowly began to handline it to the surface. As it came closer and closer it became apparent that this unknown object was some sort of black plastic rectangular box. It was about half the size of a car battery but it had a lid on it. My hook had wedged in the crack beneath the lid and slid up to where there was a small latch. After a minute or so Richard was able to get his hands on it and he lifted it up and onto the deck of the boat.
I pulled my hook out and set my rod down while Richard opened the latch and lifted the lid. He reached into the container and pulled out two river rocks and set them on the deck. My hand followed and I pulled out a sealed plastic bag. We looked at the black/grey powder inside unsure of what it was.
We both made some guesses as to what the powder was and thought it was possibly some sort of drugs. I handed the bag to Richard so he could take a closer look. After handing it over I began to examine the box. It didnt look like anything special but when I flipped the lid back down I noticed a white sticker on it. I wiped the mud off of the label with my finger and to my complete surprise this is what it read...
This box contains the cremation remains of:
Bernard C. Gilley
November ??, 1999
What!? I was just holding the cremation remains of this guy, and Richard had them in his hands right now! Im sure you can imagine what was going through my head at this point.
I silently held out the label for Richard to see. Without words he put the bag back inside the box, I placed the two river rocks back inside as well and we latched it back up. We slipped the container back into the water and let it fall to the bottom.
As we left the area we started to think out loud. Arent you supposed to spread the ashes of the deceased into the water and not just sink the entire container they came in? I guess that question will never get answered but I will always wonder.
I have fished that lake many times since then and every time I put my boat on the water I ask out loud, "Bernie, please help me catch some fish today, buddy. You know I never intended to disturb you from your final resting place."
My non-boaters always look at me like I am crazy until I tell them the story. I think Bernard has helped me out through the years because Apache has become one of those lakes where I always seem to do well. As a matter of fact, Richard and I won that tournament the next day.
Just goes to show you never know what you might reel in when you make a cast into a public reservoir.