Have a day.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Brad Lila was doing a little hard water fishing on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota in January, when he caught and released a massive 46.25 inch long northern pike.
Turns out, Minnesota DNR confirmed the fish as an official tie for the catch-and-release state record.
Lila weighed in on the wild catch:
“I set the hook as the line was quickly peeling out. Immediately, I knew it was a very large fish because it peeled out drag and there was no stopping it.
After about 10 minutes of fighting the fish, I knew that it might take more than me to land it.”
Lila had to call for help from two nearby fishermen, who quickly approached him. He tried to get the fish to turn its head to come up the hole, but the size of the fish and slush and from the ice made it a difficult task.
He ended up just sticking his hand in the fish’s mouth, which if you know anything about pike, they have some pretty big teeth for a freshwater fish. He wound up bleeding pretty good from the bite, but I’m sure the pain was mostly non-existent with the amount of adrenaline running through his body.
“Every time she would get near, a few inches of slush would come up and we couldn’t see down the hole. An additional challenge was that my braided line would groove the bottom of the ice and when my knot connecting the fluorocarbon leader would meet the ice bottom, it would get stuck.
I’d have to put my rod down into the hole to free up my line and then my line guides would freeze.”
After a 30 minute fight, Lila was able to get the fish through the ice, take some quick measurements, and release it back into the water.
It was more than likely a female fish that was carrying eggs before spawning.
“It was so satisfying seeing her swim away. I am so very appreciative of the state of Minnesota for supporting a catch and release (record fish) program.
It’s great to know that she’s out there passing along those incredible genes and that someone else may have a chance of landing her someday.”
Little did Lila know that a little ice fishing trip to a completely different state would lead to him getting a piece of a state record.