A 15-year-old angler from Illinois had a record-breaking experience while in Minnesota earlier this summer.
Not only did Brecken Kobylecky catch the biggest fish of his lifetime, he also landed the largest northern pike that has ever been caught and released in Minnesota.
And the fish was so huge the teen from Geneva almost couldn’t reel it in.
“We hooked onto a huge pike that was barely hooked, and could hardly land it due to the sheer size and weight of the fish,” Kobylecky said, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The fish, caught June 19 on Basswood Lake, was 46 1/4 inches long, the state wildlife department said. Almost three months later, on Sept. 8, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced it had certified Kobylecky’s catch as the new record catch-and-release northern pike.
It beat out the previous northern pike, measuring 45 1/4 inches, reeled in on the Rainy River in 2018.
If Kobylecky’s Ely-based fishing tour ended just 10 minutes sooner, the record may not have been beat. He reeled it in while on his final 10 minutes of his final day fishing with his guide, officials said.
Following the catch, officials said they took a few photos before releasing the pike back into the wild.
“The whole experience went by in a flash, but it was an experience of a lifetime I’ll never forget,” Kobylecky told the department.
Another record fish
About a month after Kobylecky landed his northern pike, another visiting fisherman reeled in a huge fish. And while this one didn’t break any Minnesota records, it did tie.
While fishing Lake Vermilion on July 23, a Wisconsin man matched the state’s record for biggest catch-and-release muskellunge, the department said. The fish measured 57 1/4 inch inches, tying a 2019 muskie caught in the same lake.
“That Friday night we were up against the weather,” Todd Kirby told wildlife officials. “There was a huge storm front moving through creating extremely unstable conditions. The humidity was high, and storm clouds were building. It was one of those nights that the fish seemed to be super active, our boat had multiple chases, one resulting in a 48 inch fish in the net — at that time my personal best.”
Amid the storm, Kirby and his team continued fishing. Then, at about 10:30 p.m., Kirby heard a large “thud” hit his fishing line.
The baited line was about 15 yards from his boat when Kirby began reeling it in.
“I compared it to reeling in a large moving ‘log’ and after a few dark splashes, she was in the net. Everything just happened so fast!” Kirby said, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“My bait just so happened to be the one that she ate, but that whole night couldn’t have been possible without the help of John Gavic and Will Gavic,” Kirby said. “Muskie fishing is a team effort, and when you have a good team on your side, landing a fish of that caliber creates a memory of a lifetime.”