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Angler hooks catch of a lifetime -- a 25-pound coyote

August 24, 2010 | 11:04 am

A fishing yarn almost too strange to be believed came to light recently, and thank goodness the angler had a friend, and a camera-equipped cellphone, to back up the tale.

Holmen, Wis., resident Bruce Chandler was out getting some fishing in the day before a bass tournament and was casting his new Snag Proof Ish's Phat Frog fishing lure in a Mississippi River slough when a coyote leaped from the tall shoreline grass, nabbing the lure and getting hooked.

"In a blink of an eye, it was that quick. It looked as shocked as I was," Chandler, 62, told the LaCrosse Tribune. "All I thought was that coyote had my $9 frog that I had just bought and I wanted it back," said Chandler, who used his trolling motor to pull the adult coyote, estimated to weigh 25 to 30 pounds, into open water.

Chandler phoned his friend and fishing partner Darren Zumach, who was in his own boat nearby.

"Darren asked me what I was smoking when I told him what I caught," Chandler said.

"I never saw anything funnier. Here was Bruce, holding onto the pole and motoring slowly down the slough, with the coyote trailing behind," said Zumach, 43, of Onalaska, Wis. "I took a picture with my cellphone because I knew nobody would believe us if I didn't."

Zumach used a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the hook from the animal's upper lip. "The hook came right out. I was surprised the coyote didn't snarl or try to bite me," he said.

The pair managed to get their boats near shore, where the exhausted coyote, which had grabbed onto Zumach's trolling motor, returned to dry land.

Chandler told the paper that "the coyote shook itself, rested a minute or so and then just walked away."

All's well that ends well, it seems. Chandler now has a fishing story to last a lifetime plus the picture to prove it, and that new lure is back in his tackle box. And the coyote seemed to have gotten off virtually unscathed, although Chandler contends one thing is certain: "That coyote is on a total mouse diet now. I doubt it will ever go after another frog."

-- Kelly Burgess
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