Idaho angler lands record pike – ‘a true monster of a fish’

An Idaho angler who spends most of his free time fishing for northern pike has established a new state record with the catch of what the state described as “a true monster of a fish.”

“Pike is what I go after all the time. I spend almost everyday fishing for pike,” said Thomas Francis, who set the record March 21 at Hayden Lake.

His catch weighed 40.76 pounds. It measured 49 inches with a 26.5-inch girth. In a news release, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game described the pike as “a true monster of a fish.”

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The catch breaks the previous record of 40.13 pounds, set at Lower Twin Lake in 2010.

Thomas Francis with his record pike. Photo via Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Francis said that on March 21 he embarked with his usual mindset: to catch a big pike. The record fish struck after a cast to the edge of some ice that remained on the lake.

“When my lure hit the water, I let it sink all the way to the bottom,” Francis recalled. “As soon as my lure hit the bottom, I felt her hit. I fish with 80-pound-test line, and she almost immediately started peeling drag, a lot of it.”

The pike continued to strip line while swimming powerfully across the lake bottom. “I knew that wasn’t normal, and I could tell it was something special,” Francis said.

Suddenly, the pike charged upward and launched from the water, revealing its massive size. Francis knew it might be a record after netting the fish, so he sped toward the dock in order to locate a certified scale.

For comparison, the world record for northern pike is 55 pounds, 1 ounce. That fish was caught at Germany’s Lake of Grefeern in 1986.

Story originally appeared on For The Win