DES MOINES — An Iowa fisherman thought his fishing outing Monday would be pretty typical: Catch some fish, keep them or throw them back in the water.

But Bob Howard, 54, was so startled when a "huge" water snake latched on to his line that he almost dropped his fishing pole.

"I thought, 'Uh oh. This is bigger than I thought,' " Howard said Thursday.

Howard, of Boone, Iowa, was fishing on Rathbun Lake in Appanoose County, Iowa, in the southern part of the state. He said the snake had come up from the water a few times before its surprise attack.

It was breakfast time.

"It came up and I hit it on the top of the head with my pole to get it to go away," Howard said. "He went under the water then he came up close to me.

"He just kept annoying me."

What the snake was doing though, Howard said, was following his fishing bobber. The snake got close enough to where Howard's fishing stringer was located near a little rock pile he set up.

Then a fish went for Howard's bait and his bobber sank into the water. He reeled in his catch.

"The snake just came out of nowhere and snatched it," Howard said.

Howard said he thought the snake was at least 6 feet long, noting that it "was as long as me.

"Some of him was still in the water," Howard said.

Howard and the snake had a brief tug of war for the fish. The snake eventually won the battle, Howard said.

Fortunately, Howard had a camera handy and took pictures during the clash.

"He was just real aggressive," Howard said of the snake. "He knows that bobber is going to bring in food."

Follow Aaron Young on Twitter: @AaYoung15

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