Two rods and one salmon make a great fish story

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Lewiston’s Arlyn Tietz

Perhaps you’ve seen this comedy gag depicted in any number of movies or television shows revolving around fishing.

It usually happens like this: An angler casts a line into the water and sets down his or her rod and waits for some action. A fish then takes the bait and pulls the rod into the water, while the angler reacts with shock.

Funny, but not very realistic, right?

Maybe it is. Just ask Arlyn Tietz of Lewiston. He’ll likely grin and not only tell you it can happen, but also give you the play-by-play account of when it happened to him. It was Saturday. Tietz and his fiancee were fishing from his boat near the Railroad Bridge on the Clearwater River at Lewiston.

He had three rods out — two in rod holders off the port and starboard sides and one straight out the back of the boat. The center rod was not in a holder, but Tietz used a tackle box to hold down the butt of the rod.

“I told my fiancee I’m going to really have to watch this one, if I get a fish on it’s going to disappear.”

Salmon fishing is a waiting game, so Tietz waited and watched. At one point he heard a rattle and looked out the back of the boat, where he saw a salmon rolling and thrashing on the surface of the water.

Then it happened.

“The next thing I know my pole is going through the water like a torpedo,” he said. “I was just dumbfounded.”

Well, what are you going to do? Tietz thought he’d have to stop by a sporting goods shop later in the day to replace his lost rod. But this story isn’t over yet.

About 20 minutes later a nearby boat became frantic with activity. Tietz watched as two anglers on the boat each fought a salmon. One was landed in a timely manner. But the other put up an epic fight.

“The gal was having a heck of time,” Tietz said of the angler. “Her pole was bent in half and they had to undo their anchor and drift back to land the fish.”

Then he heard somebody from the other boat say, “This one has a pole attached.”

“My fiancee said, ‘He just lost one,’ ” Tietz said.

Yes, really. The very same fish that snatched his pole away was caught by another angler. The other anglers were happy to return the rod but they kept the fish. Tietz said that was fine by him. And as near as he could tell, they had every right to.

“We were watching them just as plain as day. It came up like it was hooked in the mouth. It looked like a perfectly legal fish. It wasn’t snagged or anything.”

It could be the fish, with a plug in its mouth, decided to strike at another offering. But Tietz figures the fish might have crossed the other angler’s line and caused it to make her rod look like it had a fish on. As she reeled in her lure, it could have pulled in and along his line until her hook and the mouth of the fish connected.

It’s impossible to know for sure. But either way, it’s a fishing story that will be tough to top. In fact, the story is making the rounds. Tietz was on a business call the other day when the person he was talking to said he heard a fisherman lost his rod and another angler caught the fish it was attached to.

“I said, ‘Do you know who that was? It was me.’ ”

But Tietz doesn’t know who the other anglers were. If you are out there and reading this, he says “thanks.”