A Snapper Story

Joseph Puskas has an extraordinary turtle tale.  See below!

Glade Run has been my favorite fishing lake for at least ten years.  I was usually fishing from the end of the rock pier, where early in the morning several fishermen would sit in chairs, hoping to catch the big one.  We were from different parts of the county and got to know each other by first names.  We spent the time on slow days by exchanging tall stories and delighted ourselves with the antics of water snakes probing the holes among the pier’s rocks.  Also, there were many turtles, big and small, which surfaced for air all around us.  Among them was an exceptionally large snapping turtle.  The pail size moss covered reptile sported a head as big as a baseball.  It would appear early in the morning at the end of the pier, slowly swim along the edge then disappear.  We had observed this routine several times.

One fateful day, when the fishing was good, one of my friends had several trout on a stringer dangling in the water.   Along came this behemoth creature from the murky deep, clamped its jaws on the biggest trout on the stringer, and tried to swim off with the catch.  My friend grabbed the stringer’s rope and pulled back.  A tug of war ensued.  That turtle was strong!  It was like being hooked to a submerged log.  The tussle ended with the critter biting a big chunk off and disappearing into the depth.  After this episode we kept an eye on the monster of the lake, and when it appeared we pulled our stringers out of the water.  We watched several times when it grabbed floating dead fish, and its morning appearance became more frequent.  Apparently, it knew where to get its morning meal.

On a slow morning the snapper appeared next to the pier and lay submerged inches from the rock wall in front of us.  Its head was barely an inch under water, and its muddy back was clearly visible.   It was facing us and seemed to beg for food.  One of my co-fishermen was eating a hamburger and, as a joke, threw the burger to the snapper.  Before the burger hit the water, with a big splash, a cavernous jaw shot out of the water and snatched it in mid-air.  Who said turtles were slow?  It was like out of Jurassic Park!  With a splash of water it disappeared into the deep.  We were stunned!  Who ever thought that it could determine that the burger was food?  It certainly did have excellent vision from under water.  Beyond question, this episode was one of a kind.

As the lake level was lowered during the draining of Glade Run, I returned several consecutive days to see if I could spot this monster turtle. I never saw it again.  Perhaps it died in the scorching sun as the water level dropped and was buried in the silt, or perhaps, hopefully, found another lake to entertain fishermen on slow days.

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