A Canadian man fishing in Toronto Harbor assumed he had hooked a big pike when he felt the weight at the end of the line, but when it came to the surface and he saw what it was his knees buckled.
“Once I saw it was a muskie, my knees immediately became like Jello,” Will Sampson told CTV News Toronto. “They just, like, buckled.”
Sampson and a friend were trolling in the harbor and had caught a couple of pike right away. Then, a fish hit his lure that felt heavy. That and the way it was fighting led Sampson to believe it was a big pike, “obviously.”
When he saw the color of the fish, he immediately recognized it as a muskie, which is related to northern pike but is typically a light silver, green or brown color, according to CTV.
They landed the fish and estimated its weight at just under 20 pounds with a length of 43¼ inches. For comparison’s sake, the world record is 67 pounds, 8 ounces caught on July 1949 in Wisconsin’s Lake Court Oreilles.
“We knew it was a unicorn, like obviously there’s muskie in Lake Ontario, (but) in Toronto Harbor it’s super unheard of,” Sampson told CTV.
Sampson, a fishing guide, has fished his whole life and has caught muskie before, but this was a first for this area.
He told CTV there are lots of muskie at the mouth of the Niagara River and at the other end of Lake Ontario near Kingston.
Muskies once thrived in the waters surrounding the Toronto Islands about 200 years ago, according to the City of Toronto.
“After the arrival of Europeans, a host of changes resulted in the destruction or deterioration of fish habitat,” the city’s ‘Fishes of Toronto’ guide reads.
“A total of 15 exotic fish species were either intentionally introduced for food and recreation, or invaded through navigational canals or ballasts of ocean-going ships. Today, populations of most native fishes have declined dramatically and 10 species have disappeared entirely.”
Incidentally, once he took photos, Sampson released the fish.
Story Credit: usatoday.com