The Full Story of West Virginia’s State Record Muskie

As reported by Field & Stream on Monday, Luke King, 27, caught a brand new state-record muskie within the highlands of West Virginia over the weekend. Smashing the outdated file by over 11 kilos, the 55-inch beast was a once-in-a-lifetime haul. However what occurs after you’ve landed a record-breaking fish? Properly, let’s say that King’s weekend didn’t fairly go as deliberate. 

It began with the catch, in fact. King received up early on Saturday. It was his first day without work from the West Virginia Division of Highways in two weeks as a result of current snowstorms. He thought he’d fish his favourite stretch of the Little Kanawha River for a bit after which go grocery purchasing. Fishing from the river financial institution, he made two lengthy passes, one upstream and one down. Nothing. Then he forged the width of the river to a sandbar on the opposite aspect, the place the water was shallow however rapidly drops to a depth of 14 ft. He began to retrieve his 6-inch Hell Hound glidebait when impulsively, it wouldn’t budge. He was utilizing an 8-foot 6-inch further heavy St. Croix Musky Mojo rod and Daiwa Lexa 300 reel. “I knew I’d both hooked right into a log or a very huge muskie,” he tells Discipline & Stream. “Then she shook her head.” The fish surged towards King, then veered within the path of a close-by blowdown simply earlier than it reached the financial institution. King scrambled to maneuver the fish away from the construction, turned it again towards him, and guided it into his internet. It was a comparatively quick combat for such an enormous muskie. However King’s encounter with the beast was simply getting began.

angler with record muskie
On the financial institution, hoisting the record-breaking fish. Luke King

King caught his first muskellunge within the Little Kanawha, a tributary of the Ohio, underneath a swinging bridge in entrance of his childhood house within the Appalachian Mountains, when he was 9. It was a 36½-incher. His household took some Polaroids, his grandmother fileted the fish, they usually had a feast for dinner. However within the subsequent 18 years since, King has launched each muskie he’s ever caught. All 1,100 of them, together with 28 over 50 inches. So, he says, “At first, I used to be simply fearful about getting her again into the river alive.” 

angler with big muskie
King has caught 28 muskies over 50 inches, this one in 2020. Luke King

However he additionally realized he could possibly be in file territory. He known as one other angler over to take some photographs. Then he known as his girlfriend and requested her to deliver his bump board from house. After a preliminary measurement, he known as one other good friend, who drove over with a park ranger from the Burnsville Lake Wildlife Administration space, who in flip known as Aaron Yeager, a biologist for the West Virginia Division of Pure Assets. Yeager was certified to certify, however couldn’t get there for some time.

photo of muskie being weighed
With the assistance of a fisheries biologist who had a transport tank, King was in a position to get the fish formally weighed. Luke King

Forgoing his journey to the grocery retailer, King waited within the river with the netted fish. When Yeager lastly arrived, he took the file measurements, however then revealed that the certification on his scale had expired. Luckily, he had a fish transport tank with subtle oxygen in his truck. The entourage drove 25 minutes down Route 79 to the city of Gassaway, the place the file weight of 51 kilos was verified.

One other hour later, King launched his trophy again into the Little Kanawha. Apparently revived by the oxygen within the fish tank, King explains, “She took off like a rocket.”

However King’s day was nonetheless not over. At 4 o’clock within the afternoon, he signed the papers, making the file official. Then, the cellphone calls began, and on Sunday, he “received 70 bajillion good friend requests on Fb.” Even on Monday, when Discipline & Stream reached him, although working heavy tools for the freeway division, he was dealing with a gradual stream of calls. His boss was understanding, he mentioned, however he was wanting ahead to the weekend when he may get away from all of it again on the Little Kanawha. Whilst the thrill settled, although, King knew it was a catch he’d always remember. “I’m nonetheless sort of in disbelief,” he says. “I’ve all the time dreamed about this, however by no means believed it might occur.” 

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