I hadn't been up to Strawberry for a while since Tommy kicked me out of there but he had a commitment last night so..as I turned the boat into the current in front of the island I felt a fish hit my lure. No hookup. Damn! Seconds later it hit again and again didn't find a hook. This time I was ready and dropped the rod tip a few feet back toward the fish and she slammed it and I jerked the rod forward and stuck her good. She came up while I was turning my headlamp on and I didn't see her break the surface, but did hear the splashing. The remainder of the fight she stayed down and made me work to get her toward the boat. The visibility wasn't too bad but I never saw her until she was up near the top just 10 feet away. While keeping the rod held high I reached down and grabbed the net. She powered just under the boat before I could do anything and gave me a nervous moment until I saw her come back out behind the motor. Not wanting to have that happen again I muscled the fish almost to the surface while dipping the net. The bag opened fully and she swam almost completely in before I jerked the net up and knew there was no escape. I thought it was a mid 40s until looking down and seeing the thickness. Wow..big fish! Luckily Mark A was also fishing the island so I called him to come over. it was pretty strange to have Mark and his buddy open the door and walk out onto the swim deck to pull my boat sideways against the back of his boat. They had everything ready for pictures as I lifted the fish out of the water and turned towards them. Before I even got to the bumpboard they both exclaimed "That's a BIG fish". She measured at 51" and is my new personal best. I've waited years to get a 50" from the river and now I guess I can move on to something else..lol. Yeah..Right..