MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man caught the fish of his lifetime, and one that could set a new world record.
Robert Hawkins caught a 57-inch monster muskellunge on Lake Mille Lacs Monday. The best part is that he caught it fly fishing.
“You never go out expecting to see a fish when you’re Muskie fishing. It’s a hope,” said Robert Hawkins, owner of Bob Mitchell’s Fly shop in Lake Elmo.
To be clear, you don’t fish for muskies, you hunt them. That’s what Hawkins said of his obsession.
“I’ve kind of gotten addicted to Muskies, and I’ve been fishing for them for three years,” Hawkins said.
In those three years, he’s only caught eight.
“They are the alpha predator. They eat when they want. They are just a unique fish,” Hawkins said.
But none compare to what he reeled in Monday.
“I was pulling my fly in, like the last 500 casts I’d done. I felt weight, set the hook. Then she turned 90 degrees to me. At that point, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a giant fish,'” he said.
That it was, and it may set a world record for the largest Muskie caught while fly fishing. The fish was 57 inches long and 26-and-a-half inches around, weighing more than 50 pounds. That’s more than a foot longer than the Muskie mounted on his shop’s wall.
“It went quick. She put up a little bit of a fight, did some head shakes out of the water. All of our jaws dropped,” Hawkins said.
Once they netted her, the anglers — among them Ben Olsen — were in awe.
“At that point we just went silent in the boat,” said Hawkins.
The fishermen let the massive fish go after capturing its size in a photo. And while Robert can’t mount his catch in his shop, he can always show off the fly that caught the mammoth Muskie.
“This is the actual fly that caught the fish. If you smell it, it still smells like Muskie,” Hawkins said.
We won’t know if it’s officially a fly-fishing record for a few more weeks.