A Minnesota fisherman set a new state record with his massive catch.
Jack Burke was on a three-day fishing trip on the Rainy River near the Canadian border in early May when he reeled in his catch-and-release record-breaking 73-inch lake sturgeon.
Burke and his friend had caught 20 fish on the trip, including six other large lake sturgeons measuring over 60 inches, before reeling in the big one, the Star Tribune reports.
“We had been having some great action and knew there were big fish in the Rainy River,” Burke told the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which confirmed the new record. “This particular fish took about 45 minutes to reel in. When we got it closer to the boat it blew some bubbles and came to the top; I knew it was a huge fish!”
The previous record was held by two 70-inch fish caught on the same day in April 2017.
Burke caught the fish around 11 a.m. using a muskie rod with an 80-pound-test braided line, a circle hook and crawlers, the Tribune reports.
The Minnesota DNR recognizes two kinds of state fish records: “One for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight; and the other for the length of a caught-and-released muskellunge, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.”
Lake sturgeons were nearly driven to extinction in the late 1800s and early 1900s — they were harvested for their eggs, which were considered a delicacy.
The species is currently listed as “special concern,” which means it “has unique or highly specific habitat requirements and deserves careful monitoring of its status,” according to the Minnesota DNR.