MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two brothers living on Lake Minnetonka have a big fish story to tell.
James and Johnny Range Jr. are part of a fishing league on the lake, and they reeled in a huge muskie Tuesday night.
The brothers often fish off their dock. They typically reel in sunfish, but the anglers also go after a bigger catch during competition.
“We were trolling,” James said.
And that is when James hooked a huge muskie — and it began putting up a fight.
“It kind of was pulling me in,” James said. “When you feel a big fish, it goes all the way to the bottom.”
The 4-year-old saw how big the fish was when it jumped. Muscles tired, he handed the reel over to his brother. After all, Johnny has five more years of fishing experience.
“I got really excited, but then it was going under the boat and then it took a little while,” Johnny Jr. said.
Johnny Range Sr. helped his sons net the muskie.
“It worked out perfect. James catching the fish at first — fighting it for a while until he got tired, or I think he got scared when he saw the fish jump — but then he immediately handed it off to his big brother, and he did a great job fighting it in,” Johnny Sr. said.
The muskie was a whopping 46 inches long. The average size is 30 inches.
“It was three inches taller than my brother,” Johnny Jr. said.
Johnny Sr. put it in perspective for his sons.
“For a lot of people, that’s a fish of a lifetime right there in Minnesota’s biggest metro lake,” Johnny Sr. said.
The brothers caught and released the fish, but they will not soon forget the fight the muskie put up, or the size of it.
“I’m probably going to be talking about it for awhile,” Johnny Jr. said.
He now has his sights set on catching a muskie over 50 inches, which is considered trophy size.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports the state muskie record is 56 inches, caught on Lake Winnibigoshish in 1957.