It is very easy to carp on about the one that got away, and it can sometimes be pollock. Such tales can have one perched on the edge of the seat wriggling like an eel in anticipation. The lure can be strong, and it can provide an opportunity to plug something. The stickleback can become the sturgeon and one can dine on caviar, if the story is a good one. There can be a bit of a tench to some of the stories, others have longevity like the one about great Alex the missing fish of Greece. The tales propagate up and down the land shared at inns along the turnpike. And, err, whenever a group of people are gathered together they can snap them up. Some of them have a sting in the tale, with barbs on. Some can be a pacu without bass others can be a font, a Wels of truth. Some are ruddy good, other are like a roach in the ashtray.
The only thing for sure is that the absent fish does not ever get to speak for itself. It can’t because it isn’t here and probably never existed.