Fishing is an occasionally unrewarding toil. You have to enjoy the act of fishing itself. You can't just enjoy the ends, because the ends are so rare; you have to really savor the means. Which, in the case of fishing, basically boil down to nature, peace and quiet, and plenty of time to compose your thoughts. But it's easy to see why the sport gets addicting. The rewards come just frequently enough that they seem like they could happen anytime. It's a bit like gambling that way.
If fishing is gambling, then a Seattle-area man just hit the jackpot. (See what we did there?) Ray Frederick, a 76-year-old retiree from Silverdale, Wash., had fished the Puget Sound waters for years and never seen anything this big: 81-inches, 223 pounds, big enough to engulf an entire truck bed, large enough, as Matt Schubert, a reporter from the Peninsula Daily News wrote, "to play offensive line for the Washington Huskies." Ouch.
How do you catch a fish that big? Frederick said he felt its largesse when it was still 30 feet or so below the surface; the fish struggled, but after a half hour of tugging -- the arm work here is something you can't get at your local Bally's -- Frederick got the fish to come above water, where he speared it and hauled it onto the boat. Captain Ahab would be proud.
The reward for all that work? The fish won Frederick and his partner, 62-year-old Dirk McDonald, the "Poggie's Derby" top prize of $440. Add in all the free halibut -- Frederick will likely never have to fish for halibut again, nor would he want to -- and we'd call that a pretty successful day on the boat.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.