Husband and wife Mervyn and Gail Mank of Appleton have a fish tale to tell, and it is a big one. And, more importantly, it is true.

The Manks, both age 75, enjoyed a day of ice fishing March 12 on Stevens Pond in Liberty and to say the couple realized success would be an understatement.

Well, one of the two had success, and, as Mervyn tells it, it was not him.

Mervyn has fished his entire life while his wife, Gail, occasionally goes with him. On this day, Gail was both the good luck charm and the most successful fisherman.

The couple, make that Gail, hauled in three large bass, which ranged from 5.5 to 7.5 pounds. In fact, Gail pulled through the ice a 5.5-pounder, a 21-inch, 6-pounder and a 24-inch 7.5-pounder. The largest bass barely fit through the 10-inch hole the two had cut in the ice.

Mervyn said the couple was fishing in about eight feet of water, but the pond goes as deep as 40 to 50 feet in spots.

Mervyn said he had never caught bass that big and his wife does not often fish with him, only going twice last winter.

Mervyn said there was about a foot of ice on the pond that day and it was the final day of ice fishing for the couple. As it turned out, the bass caught that day were the largest freshwater fish Gail had ever snagged.

Mervyn said he had never fished in that spot on Stevens Pond. He said the couple ate the fish they kept, although there was talk of stuffing and mounting the largest of the bass. The couple caught about 30 bass during the day, with the fish averaging about three pounds.

He said the couple kept the 7.5- and 5.5-pound fish but released the 6-pounder.

Mervyn said he usually fishes North Pond, but now he and his wife have found a new secret fishing spot that produces large bass and plenty of true fish tales.

Courier Publications Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at